Gary Barnidge is committed to the community – locally and globally. During the past five offseasons, Barnidge has brought the game of football, along with plenty of memories and smiles, overseas to children throughout the world. Barnidge and two of his former Louisville teammates created the nonprofit "American Football Without Barriers" (AFWB), with the goal of spreading American football to other countries while teaching kids the life skills the sport brings to the table. During his fifth annual camp and charity visit this past offseason, Barnidge along with other NFL players, including co-founder Breno Giacomini of the New York Jets, headed to Helsinki, Finland. The trip continued the goal of spreading the knowledge of football and the opportunity to play and learn the game. After successful camps in China (2013), Brazil (2014), Turkey (2015), and Egypt (2016), Barnidge rallied former teammates and other players from around the NFL to head to Finland for the first-ever AFWB International camp in Europe. Barnidge and players spent their time teaching on-field technical football skill and leadership to youth, women and men part of SAJL – a Finnish government approved non-profit organization that promotes American Football. Currently SAJL has over 3,000 athletes involved with the organization. AFWB also held Coaches Clinics with in-class instruction and on-field implementation.
"Through American Football Without Barriers (AFWB), we are also trying to help build the sport from the ground level up, not just by watching but by helping kids play and enjoy the sport that we enjoy playing so much." Barnidge said. A true champion of the Browns First and Ten movement, Gary Barnidge was named the 2015 Cleveland Browns Walter Payton Man of the Year for his dedication to giving back to the community, a prestigious honor given to NFL players each year. Barnidge continues his community involvement locally with OhioGuidestone and other initiatives supported by the Browns.
As part of Browns Give Back, the Browns are continuing their commitment to #give10 through the team's signature First and Ten volunteering campaign during the offseason after engaging the community throughout the season each Tuesday on the players' day off. Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign was established to inspire fans to volunteer in and help their communities throughout the world by volunteering for 10 hours each year. 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. Fans are encouraged to share how they give back in their communities by tagging their stories #give10 on social media.
Through player efforts like that of Barnidge and AFWB the message of goodwill and giving back is being shared across the globe. Fans are united with the Browns though the use of #give10 on social media and the Browns First and Ten signature orange wristband. Join the movement, give 10 hours and help your community today! Learn more and take the First and Ten pledge here.
About American Football Without Barriers:
American Football Without Barriers is a non-profit organization dedicated to globalizing American Football and reaching underprivileged communities with a humanitarian message. In addition to international camps, AFWB hosts several camps in the US aimed at teaching underprivileged kids to play American Football. To learn more about American Football Without Barriers, visit www.afwbcamp.com.