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First and Ten Top 10 Highlights - April 2020


Every month we will highlight the top 10 stories from fans, youth football coaches, and teachers just like you who are serving in the community! Remember to use hashtag "#give10" when you volunteer for an opportunity to be featured next month!

Name: Yvonne Pointer

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

How do you give back:

Yvonne Pointer has been inspired to give back through the story of her daughter, who was murdered over 30 years ago. By sharing her love and service, Yvonne has pressed on and motivated others to also get through extremely difficult hardships. Yvonne is currently President of the Gloria Pointer Teen Movement Foundation in Ghana, and Founder of Positive Plus, which helps women around the world with counseling and guidance. Most recently, Yvonne shared her love and gratitude with local police officers and frontline healthcare workers. Yvonne and many other volunteers prepared meals and delivered them to the Fourth District Cleveland Police Department. During this delivery, Yvonne shared, "I want to say 'thank you' to our frontline workers here in the city of Cleveland," which include police who are keeping our community safe. This food delivery included colorful table decorations, balloons, and volunteers singing and praying with police officers. Yvonne recently also did a similar food delivery and fellowshipped with healthcare workers at MetroHealth. Undoubtedly, Yvonne is doing her part to support the community through this challenging time. 

Name: Rob Slattery

Hometown: Brooklyn, OH

How do you give back:

The Brooklyn community is fortunate to have the leadership and support of Rob Slattery, his wife, and the We Are Brooklyn Proud organization. Together, they have gone above and beyond to answer the call of service during COVID-19. Rob helped organize six local families, who are business owners, to donate money and support the less fortunate. Word quickly spread and other community groups and individuals have also begun donating funds. Fundraising has been so successful over the past five weeks that over$3,500 has been raised to purchase over two tons of food. This food has been donated to local families in need. Rob hopes to inspire anyone to give anything because all support, large or small, helps. The motto of We Are Brooklyn Proud is: If we give a little, we all get a lot. This has been evident through the service of Rob and many other community groups. Rob has also been strategic in his reach by posting and marketing We Are Brooklyn Proud through various social media outlets. He is constantly advertising when their next food giveaway will be and also supporting other local groups who are serving as well. When asked about serving his community, Rob shares, "We have a unique community where you help your neighbor and you do it because it's the right thing. We are always trying to improve and asking ourselves, 'How can we get more attention to this?' We added another tagline of 'giving is contagious' because it is true." Rob's story is truly inspiring to individuals to 'give a little', so that we can all collectively 'get a lot'.

Name: Browns Alum Josh Cribbs 

Hometown: North Royalton, OH

How do you give back:

Due to his extensive efforts towards serving others, Browns Alum Josh Cribbs has become a community favorite. Through his Team Cribbs Foundation, founded in 2016, Josh and his team focus on bettering the lives of others by providing human needs and daily essentials to children and families. During this COVID-19 pandemic, the Team Cribbs Foundation has zeroed in on providing meals to those in need. Every Wednesday, the foundation delivers 100 meals to children and families at the Miles Park Salvation Army. Also, Josh recently provided Ohio Guidestone, a foster care and family services organization, a fun and upbeat video to boost children's morale. Along with this virtual message, the foundation also provided a pizza party to 100 teens living at the residential facility. Additionally, last month, the foundation partnered with All City Candy to provide Ohio Guidestone with 50 large Easter baskets to families. Josh shares that he enjoys such acts of service because serving should help lift the spirits of others and provide hope.

Name: Browns Staff Chris Cola

Hometown: Strongsville, OH

How do you give back:

Even during COVID-19, there are still simple ways that we can all get involved in our communities to give back. Browns staff member Chris Cola and his wife are perfect examples of this giving and impactful practice. Together, they have donated to St. Charles Borromeo, a church in Parma, and other Catholic charities in the Cleveland area. Also, Chris has given back by donating funds to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. When asked why it is important to give, Chris shared that, "During this time there aren't a lot of people who are as fortunate as I am or they may not be working or able to feed their kids." Chris expressed that he is grateful to be employed and wanted to share his gratitude with others in his community. Prior to COVID-19, Chris, his wife, parents, and cousins had been serving at local soup kitchens on a monthly basis. Chris enjoyed this experience as he knew he was helping support the lives of others who needed access to meals. Chris shares, "There's a lot of people out there who need help in one way or another and if we can take our money or time to give back, it not only helps them out, it helps us out as a community."

Name: Kathy Cola

Hometown: Strongsville, OH

How do you give back:

Kathy Cola currently works in the Strongsville City Schools Transportation Department and is doing her part to provide relief during COVID-19. Kathy previously received a notification requesting her and other administrators' support of the Technology Department and she eagerly stepped in to help. Together, they helped gather and prepare Chromebooks for students who were transitioning to virtual learning. They strategically volunteered in different shifts, while wearing masks and being COVID-19 compliant, to both prepare and help deliver these Chromebooks. Kathy's favorite part of serving was when parents showed up for Chromebook pick-ups. Kathy expressed that it was, "Heartwarming seeing the parents be grateful for the support they were getting for their kids. This would not have worked without teamwork and without the tireless efforts of volunteers." She also plans to continue her service work throughout this time by helping serve boxed lunches on Wednesdays to local families in need. "The good thing that has come out of this is humanity. People are understanding that life is so precious," says Kathy. May we continue uniting as a humanity to both serve and inspire others. 

Name: Cheyenne Oechsle & Matt Derksen

Hometown: Van Wert, OH & Dalton, OH

How do you give back:

Cheyenne Oechsle & Matt Derksen are peers who have known each other for over 4 years, through the University of Akron's College of Education. While they are graduating soon, they have undoubtedly left their mark on the university and community. As they were sent home due to COVID-19, they realized their teaching and student interactions would be terminated, and children would not be provided the educational support they need. This was initially troublesome, "As educators, every day we want to help students," says Cheyenne. Cheyenne also witnessed the negative impacts that virtual learning could have, as she saw one of her family members academically struggle. With this presented challenge, Cheyenne and Matt decided to partner together to assist all students. They joined and got clearance from the University of Akron's College of Education to setup a free virtual tutoring program. This tutoring program has taken off and currently serves children in grades K-12 on Mondays-Fridays, from 9:00am-3:00pm. There are now 24 tutoring volunteers who are either Education majors, current teachers, or retired teachers. The areas of tutoring include: English, science, math, and social studies. This tutoring program has been successful through the extensive efforts and problem-solving by Cheyenne and Matt. If there is a need, Matt shares, "We will find a way to help with whatever students need help with." Such educational support will extend long past their upcoming graduation. Cheyenne and Matt are currently working to add a special education and early childhood support program, which will continue even after they are gone.

Name: Shaun Durken 

Hometown: Brunswick, OH

How do you give back:

Tenth grader Shaun Durken is tackling COVID-19 from his bedroom! Through extensive research, he has found a method to producing plastic protective face shields. Shaun has partnered with Form 5 Prosthetics to produce a plastic component necessary to complete face shields. Shaun has been making masks through his 3-D printer for over a month. Producing this particular face shield component takes time; each face shield takes about 3-4 hours to print. Altogether, Shaun has produced over 20 face shield components, which are then shipped to Form 5 Prosthetics for distribution. Form 5 Prosthetics then sends the completed plastic face shields to first responders across the state. Shaun plans to continue doing his part and producing such a vital component of these face shields to help first responders.

Name: Browns Backers Worldwide President Jake Wilkoff

Hometown: Chagrin Falls, OH

How do you give back:

Browns Backers Worldwide President of the Chi-town Dawg Pound, Jake Wilkoff, has not only been a major Browns fan, but a fan of volunteering in the community. Through his leadership position, Jake has helped motivate his club to serve in various ways. Each month, their club selects a different charity to give to during the football season, and last year they raised over $9,000. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, his club has raised over $6,000 to support restaurant workers, who served where they would normally watch Browns games, and have been laid off. Additionally, a special fundraising effort is made during the holidays to provide the Union League Boys & Girls Club with Christmas presents. For the past 4 years, Jake has made a special appearance at this holiday giving event by playing Santa. He also volunteers his time at Paws Chicago, which is a no kill shelter that protects dogs. Jake shares that all of these service efforts have been successful due to the support of his wife and 9 Browns Backers Worldwide officers.

Name: Amber Vernon

Hometown: Parma, OH

How do you give back:

Amber began making masks during COVID-19 by hand, as she did not have a sewing machine. She initially began making them for her family members, but after discovering the high demand for this protective gear, she decided to fully commit to the production of these. She purchased a sewing machine over a month ago and has been busy making masks ever since! Amber has made masks for her sister, who is a police officer. As the demand continued to increase, Amber began making masks for her sister's police department and their family members. A mask trend also began to surface with the production of her "blue masks", which are masks made out of police uniform material. She is currently making 3-4 hour runs to fabric stores to continue producing these masks in other fun, upbeat colors and patterns. Amber believes it is, "Important to give back because a lot of people don't have the materials or may not be crafty and everybody has to be safe." Overall, Amber knows that spreading such acts of kindness will eventually return back to her.

Name: Maddy Baughman

Hometown: Dublin, OH

How do you give back:

High school senior, Maddy Baughman has teamed up with her mom to give back in a delicious way! Together they have baked and produced goods, such as: banana bread, cupcakes, muffins, and jams. Maddy has also made personalized notes to accompany every good for recipients to enjoy. So far, Maddy and her mom have made two large deliveries the last two months, each taking about 3 hours to complete. They have made over 80 deliveries and through this have helped brighten peoples' spirits. Maddy hopes to "Let people know times are hard, but there are supportive people who care and we will see each other soon after this is over." While considering recipients, together they have been strategic in targeting those who may be alone during this difficult time. Maddy and her mom are grateful they can help through these sweet interactions with others!

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