Ricardo Louis hosted a First and Ten Tuesday visit with KeyBank to kick off the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland's Career Readiness Program.
CLEVELAND — Ricardo Louis found his passion and talent for football through the Boys & Girls Club growing up in Miami. So it was fitting the Browns second-year wide receiver visited Cleveland's chapter Tuesday in an effort to illustrate how the organization helped change his life.
"I used to play football on the street a lot. I never played organized football and I used to come to the Boys & Girls Club and just like a lot of you guys, this guy pulled me to the side one day and said, 'Have you ever thought about playing football,'" Louis told the crowd.
"A lot of you guys don't understand, being a part of the Boys & Girls Club, it can set you up for a lot of different things, the things they have you guys doing here now are very important."
Louis helped shine a light on the club's launch of their Career Readiness Program, an initiative focused on preparing youths for future jobs thanks to a partnership between the club and KeyBank, the official wealth management, private bank of the Browns.
"You just think about these two organizations coming together. You have KeyBank — who just doesn't do business in the community but actually views philanthropy as a vital component of allowing our communities to thrive — and then you have the Cleveland Browns, whose mission statement is to basically take youth and develop them and provide them the education for independence and success," said Shaquira Johnson, vice president and initiative development manager of the business banking segment for KeyBank.
Johnson, who's also on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, added, "when you bring these two organizations together to back a program that's nationally supported by the Boys & Girls Club of America, locally right here in Cleveland, we can't have nothing but success."
The event focused on workforce preparation, including skills such as interviewing, teamwork, creativity, work-life balance and more. Likewise, Louis spoke to the group, stressing hard work among other dynamics necessary to have success.
"(The Boys & Girls Club) taught me a lot, and hard work is probably one of the No. 1 things," he said. "I didn't know what it meant until I was taught it and I applied it to my determination and hunger for success.
"Whatever you wanna do in life, you can do it."
As part of Browns Give Back, the entire team is 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.
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.