Players from Warren G. Harding High School's football team whooped with laughter and screamed with excitement as they were surprised with $25,000 worth of new helmets Tuesday as part of the Browns' HELMETS program.
Moments later, they were silent with their eyes and ears locked on Browns Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who provided candid, impactful answers to their wide-ranging questions.
Both proved to be incredibly meaningful to those who packed the school's library for Tuesday's surprise event.
"It was good to see the way they responded to the helmets, the new logo," Landry said. "To have the opportunity to talk to them at the end was probably my favorite part. Just giving it to them as raw as I can about where the game has taken me and what it's done for my life. Hopefully it changed a life or two in there."
The Harding High players gathered Tuesday after school for what they thought was just a standard group study get-together. They quickly gathered something wasn't normal, as coach Steve Arnold introduced Browns manager of youth football Darrell Taylor, who subsequently introduced his special guest, Landry.
Landry wasted little time getting to the reason why he was there, summoning Arnold from the back to show off the team's new, shining white helmets.
"It's great for our community, obviously for our young men who have worked very hard," Arnold said. "When my athletic director mentioned to me we were chosen for this, I was elated like we won the lottery. To give us a different look and alternative helmet is very special to our kids and our program."
Through the Browns' Helmets program, Jarvis Landry surprised students at Warren G. Harding High School with $25,000 worth of new helmets courtesy of Xenith, Ohio Lottery and University Hospitals.
Landry and a couple of the team's players gathered up front to draw a number for the next HELMETS winner, Brooklyn High. Landry then took a handful of questions, which elicited a number of heartfelt, "raw" answers from the three-time Pro Bowler.
"Young people ask real questions and one thing Jarvis did today was answered the questions real," Arnold said. "He told the truth about his upbringing, what he went through as a high school and college player and his expectations for himself as a player on the Cleveland Browns."
HELMETS is a collaboration between the Browns, University Hospitals, Xenith and Ohio Lottery in a shared effort to enhance health and safety of young athletes through proper equipment, education and training. The program encourages and incentivizes local high school football programs throughout Northeast Ohio to strengthen their commitment to player health and safety by enrolling coaches in USA Football's Heads Up Football program. The program continues this fall, and anyone can nominate their school of choice at clevelandbrowns.com/BrownsGiveBack.
During the past four years, the Browns have helped equip multiple local teams with more than $200,000in donations (more than 500 helmets) as part of the team's commitment to youth football, advancement of the game and player health safety in the state, much of which is made possible through the HELMETS program.
Through Browns Give Back, the Cleveland Browns are committed to assisting the development, safety and growth of youth and high school football throughout Northeast Ohio with year-round programming for players, coaches, officials and parents. Through camps, clinics and other initiatives, the Browns' goal is to promote healthy, social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of youth by enhancing opportunities for youth football participation and education.
The Cleveland Browns give back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team's signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.