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Community Highlights

First and Ten Top 10 - March 2019


Each month, we will bring to you the top 10 highlights that we receive each month about how fans, youth football coaches and teachers just like you are out in the community volunteering!

Name: Russell Horn
Hometown: Ohio
How do you give back:
Russell is always looking to help out around his community and in ways that will not bring too much attention to himself, but instead just support those he knows and loves. Each year he has committed to going to his daughter's elementary school to read to their class. Once again, he doesn't want to be in front of people or even speak publicly, but when his daughter asked for him to come in a couple of years ago to share he couldn't say no. Since then, it's something he'll do every year if it makes the kids happy and helps them learn. Ultimately whatever time he can take away from work to make others feel good and lend a helping hand, he will. This year he read a children's book about the Browns. He was so grateful to share something so dear to his heart. The kids enjoyed the story, and the teachers were grateful to add the book to their bookshelf. It was such a cute outing and opportunity and he looks forward to going again next year already.

Name: Cindy Hisrich
Hometown: Dover, OH
How do you give back:
Cindy mostly fundraises for the Alzheimer's Association. She began when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008. In 2009, she and her sister formed a team of family members and friends to participate in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's in Dover, OH. From there her participation expanded from just fundraising and walking in the Walk to volunteering on the Tuscarawas County Walk to End Alzheimer's planning committee. She also became a facilitator with the Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Group in Dover, OH. She has been volunteering for the Alzheimer's Association for almost 11 years. She saw the way this disease changed her mom and watched the disease take a healthy, witty, and vibrant woman from the family she adored and loved with her entire soul. It's personal for Cindy because she learned as much about the disease as she could as a way to help her dad care for her mom. There is no cure or treatment for the disease listed as the 6th leading cause of death. A cure is needed and she will do whatever she can to help fund the research and programs that help those with the disease and caring for them. 

Name: Holly Jackson
Hometown: Cleveland area
How she gives back:
She's the founder of a group called Walls of Love. She created the organization in November of 2018, but her passion for others in her community have outlasted the culmination of this organization. She's been volunteering in her local community for more than 20 years. She began Walls of Love as a way to distribute warm weather gear and toiletry or hygiene items to the homeless and those in need because people often work really hard but are only one paycheck away from being homeless and there is such awful stigma related to that word. There are people that fall through the cracks and don't qualify for other help and she wanted to be able to help those people. At one point in time in her life she was homeless so she knows exactly what it's like to go through some of the things that these people do and she is honored and blessed to be able to help them. Through her organization she's helped 7,418 since its inception. She doesn't just #give10, she goes above and beyond. In 2011 she received a presidential award from President Obama for more than 7,000 hours of service and volunteering in the community. She has exceeded that at this point. 

Name: Melvin Hodge
Hometown: Warrensville, OH
What he does to give back:
Melvin loves cooking. He's pretty good at it too. He cooked for friends, family and even coworkers for a while. This side hobby is something he'd do every day all day and even for free. It's something he can't live without. Food is what he does. He loves to cook for others to see them smile and to feed them—a basic need. One day he was introduced to the Lutheran Men's Ministry on 2100 Lakeside Ave. This homeless shelter and halfway house helps men reintegrate back into normal life after they commit to a new lifestyle that is ultimately sustainable. One that doesn't harm others and contributes positively to society in some way. Once he had been made aware of this and all the organization does to help these men he had to get involved. He knew that the facility housed and fed the men 7 days a week so he chose to help in the best way he knew how and that's by cooking. Bringing his chef skills to the table, he makes delicious meals for the men two Saturdays out of the month. In March he cooked fried and baked chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, cornbread and peach cobbler from scratch. With a select number of volunteers helping him out in the kitchen he pulled off a feat of feeding nearly 200 men not one plate but seconds too. 

Name: Holly Prestileo
Hometown: Blacklick, OH
How she gives back:
Holly volunteers with Kindred Hospice, as a patient companion and bedside vigil volunteer. She has one to two patients at a time. She visits them once a week from the time they are put into Hospice care until they pass. As a vigil volunteer, she also sits bedside with patients when they are actively dying, so that no one dies alone. She loves forming relationships with her patients. She enjoys listening to the many stories they have. And she considers it an honor to be a part of their final days. That's not all though. She also volunteers with a friend at a therapeutic riding center supporting those with special needs, Alzheimer's patients, at-risk youth and active military and veterans. She volunteers there for 8 hours a week over the past three years. She absolutely loves it! Getting to work alongside horses, caring and dedicated volunteers, and amazing riders. It is difficult to describe the relationship between the rider and the horse that's created, but once you witness it, you will be in awe of these truly gentle giants and the trusting, brave and determined individuals that they serve.

Name: Peggy Bezzarro
Hometown: Austintown, OH
How do you give back:
Peggy is a volunteer coach, pouring her time into a youth softball team. Her daughter started playing softball at the age of eight. She has been involved with Austintown Girls Softball League for 10 years. Her obsession with baseball stems from her dad. Growing up he managed a team and she was always there as his bat girl. She loves seeing kids learn and watch as they become passionate about the game. Peggy comes from a large family and being a part of this has just extended her family. She also can't live without the kids. She is known in their league as "Mama Peg" because she will take care of every girl she comes in contact with. She loves helping in any way she can. Her father was a big volunteer with sports and her mother with organizations that were non profit. She believes that when you grow up in a family that does a lot of volunteering it gets passed down in your kids. She likes keeping kids busy. Teaching them the game and keeping them off the streets. Being involved in any sport helps develop a team mentality. It encourages and it allows them to make new friends. Peggy is also a youth leader at her church, outreach coordinator and secretary. She is also involved on the softball board as the Secretary.

Name: Bryan Penvose
How they give back: 
Bryan is on the Purpose Palooza planning committee at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. It's a huge effort to make sure that the youth in their area are aware of all their community has to offer as well as the opportunities they have to get involved to help others. He loves First and Ten because it embodies all of the characteristics that he hopes to instill in the young church attendees and all he comes into contact with. He is helping put on a huge event called Purpose Palooza which will be a festival for the kids to come to that will help push them toward purpose. Helping them identify what they're passionate about or what they can do to help others or feel fulfilled. The positive impact the next generation can have on the world is incredible and untapped. Helping steer the middle schoolers and high schoolers in the right direction is just the beginning of making the communities and schools in their area better. 

Name: Darlene Bell
Hometown: Blacklick, OH
What they do to give back:
She volunteers at Dreams on Horseback, a therapeutic riding center. She is a horse handler and sidewalker for special needs children and adults in therapeutic riding lessons at Dreams and at the Special Olympics Equestrian Competition in Cincinnati. About 13 years ago her granddaughter Morgan who is on the autism spectrum, started lessons and therapy at Dreams on Horseback. The barn has been a part of her family for a number of years. Morgan is now 20 years old and is still involved at the barn as a ranch hand on Sundays and working in the vocational program every summer. The personal benefits of volunteering are enormous. The benefits to the riders, their families, and the organization are even greater. The families of their riders look at her as a person that cares enough to give their child or loved one support and encouragement. They see her team as someone who gives up their own time to help their child achieve success, gain confidence and experience a sense of belonging outside of their homes. Darlene becomes an extension of their family. She has been able to form connections with the riders, instructors, barn staff and the amazing horses who partner with them to improve the lives of those served. She also volunteers in Military Connections at Dreams on Horseback programs for service members, veterans and their families. This program is in memory of her grandson who passed away five months after a one-year tour of duty in Iraq. With these programs, they help service members and veterans reconnect with their families and reintegrate after service. Darlene truly feels that she gets so much more out of volunteering at Dreams on Horseback than she can ever give.

Name: Mindy Bakos
Hometown: Mentor, OH
What she does to give back: 
Mindy has a 15-year-old son named Vince and a 14-year-old son named Joey. Vince is non verbal Autistic and has Epilepsy. Vince spent endless hours on the sidelines of his brother Joey's sporting events when he was 6 or 7 years old. When she looked for adaptive sports programs for Vince to get involved in, there weren't any. He always wanted to be on the field with his brother, but he couldn't. So she decided to start some programs for Vince and his friends and called it Social Sports. They incorporated and became a 501(c)3 in 2011. They started with soccer and now are doing year round adapted sports programs including football and basketball. They also host Sensory Friendly movies and have a big special needs Halloween party in October. They are based in Mentor, Ohio. Mindy believes success in sports promotes success in life and their motto is No More Sitting on the Sidelines!

Name: Karen Morrison
Hometown: Chesapeake, VA
What she does to give back:
Karen is part of a group of CUNY School of Law students who have connected with FedFam4Life advocates to work in the social justice space. They find inmates who have been wrongly incarcerated to help ensure their freedom. They review the cases and then find local lawyers who are ready to fight for these clients. Currently they are working to raise the funds to help support a young man in the Cleveland area so he can access the legal advocacy necessary to bring him back to his family and his community. Karen and her group work with the support of local groups that can help change people's lives, giving them a second chance at life. They encourage their clients to become involved in outreach programs that can help him be successful in life. Without the help of community partners, those they support may not have to spend another nine years in prison or complete a life sentence with the possibility of parole. For their current case they have been fortunate enough to get a chance at a trial. They believe their work is important and they won't stop until everyone who needs them gets justice.

Interested in signing up your volunteer group for First and Ten? Group forms available! **Click here** to learn more about how to #give10

Follow @BrownsGiveBack on Twitter and Instagram and tell us what you are doing to help others using #give10 to unite us all as Browns fans. Give 10 hours, help your community.

The Browns are dedicated to #give10 through the team's First and Ten initiative. Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to volunteer in and help their communities throughout the world by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Since its inception, Browns fans have committed to volunteering more than 2 million hours to impact their communities by pledging to #give10. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual's city across the globe, as well as the franchise's local community. All Browns fans are encouraged to join the volunteering effort by signing the First and Ten pledge on the team's website and by sharing their stories with #give10