Through ‘Stay in the Game!’ partnership’ East Cleveland City Schools to receive $350,000 from the Browns to address digital divide (10.30.20)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 30, 2020

 

Browns highlight ‘Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day’

Network throughout Sunday’s home game

 

BEREA, Ohio – Through the “Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day” Network, the Browns – including members of the team’s social justice leadership committee – announced the distribution of $350,000 to East Cleveland City Schools to address educational needs related to the digital divide as part of the NFL’s Inspire Change grant program. The Browns shared the announcement with representatives and students from East Cleveland City Schools during this morning’s team meeting.

 

To celebrate, the Browns are highlighting the “Stay in the Game!” Network’s commitment to promoting equal educational opportunities for all students and school districts, as well as combatting chronic absenteeism, throughout Sunday’s home game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

 

“We firmly believe that education is the key to success for Northeast Ohio and all of our shared communities,” said Dee and Jimmy Haslam. “Our family and the Browns remain dedicated to providing educational resources and opportunities to schools and students, and we greatly appreciate our players’ and coaches’ significant contributions to this collective effort that will benefit East Cleveland City Schools. Every child deserves equal access to a high-quality education, and we all must continue to unite together and address any and all existing barriers, including those related to the digital divide.”

 

“A lot of times, we do not understand the basic needs and necessities that people on a day-to-day basis do not have access to. A lot of times, we feel like everybody has access to a computer, a laptop and internet access, but that is not always the case, seeing the numbers and seeing how staggering the divide was in certain homes that had no internet connectivity at all and no access,” said DT Larry Ogunjobi. “Being able to really attack the digital divide and get internet connectivity to the homes and to people is going to help us really bridge that gap because a lot of these kids go home and do not have the access that they need and they are falling behind. It is not due to them not wanting to work but just due to the fact that they do not have access. Being able to help these kids is extremely important and pushing the envelope for what we want to do as far as bridging that gap.”

Ogunjobi, who is a member of the Browns social justice leadership committee, recently discussed the importance of education, addressing the digital divide and the team’s donation, on behalf of his fellow teammates and Browns coaches. A transcript with Ogunjobi’s comments is attached.

 

On Tuesday, Ogunjobi and other Browns players engaged in a virtual listen and learn discussion with East Cleveland City Schools students and educators to directly hear about their successes, their challenges and other important educational and leadership topics.

 

“The East Cleveland City School District is thankful for the generosity of the Cleveland Browns Foundation,” said Dr. Henry Pettiegrew, Chief Executive Officer & Superintendent of East Cleveland City School District.  “Student devices, internet connectivity and teacher technology supports will be provided to help close the digital divide for East Cleveland students. Our students and teachers thank everyone involved for listening and being responsive to our community needs.”

 

East Cleveland City Schools, one of the 16 “Stay in the Game” partner school districts that encompass more than 110,000 students across Ohio, will receive $350,000 from player, coach and team contributions to provide families, students and educators with the tools, training and equipment necessary to enhance their educational efforts, which are even more paramount now due to remote learning needs as a result of COVID-19 protocols.

 

“With the additional chrome books, we can ensure accessibility of all students during this difficult time and provide everyone with reliable access to the curriculum,” said Amanda Stanoszek, a teacher at Shaw High School. “The hotspots and internet access are an investment in our students and our community that will make a tremendous difference. Thanks to the Cleveland Browns for all they have done!  We are EC!”

 

“I feel overwhelmed that the Browns are leveling the playing field of education,” said Marc Antony Johnson, a student at Kirk Middle School. “My friends and schoolmates sometimes feel that because of where we are from and how limited our resources are, that we don’t’ matter. The Browns caring enough to help us goes a long way to make us feel like a whole student!”

 

The Cleveland Browns are dedicated to improving the quality of education for students in Ohio by making investments that ensure kids are engaged and present every day so they can succeed, highlighted by the “Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day” Network. The “Stay in the Game!” Network is a statewide initiative designed to promote the importance of school attendance and put an end to chronic absenteeism. The team engages local school districts and promotes quality education by using attendance data and feedback from families to build a school-going culture, uncover and reduce common barriers to attendance and support engagement opportunities for students to thrive.

 

In the 2020-21 school year, the “Stay in the Game!” Network will partner with 16 school districts, benefitting more than 110,000 students in Ohio. An adaptation of the “Get 2 School, Stay In The Game!” Network, the name change reflects the current environment where schools may not necessarily be able to host in-school learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter the circumstances, the “Stay in the Game!” Network will continue to encourage and support students to maintain a strong educational-going mindset to keep learning, every day, aligned with its overall goal to help end chronic absenteeism and provide all students equal opportunities to be successful.

 

To start the gameday activations, select Browns players will wear “Stay in the Game!” t-shirts during pregame warmups to show their support and further bring light to the significantly negative impact of chronic absenteeism for educators, families and students. Prior to kickoff, members of Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s All-City Arts Program will conduct a special National Anthem through a virtual video montage.

 

The team will also prominently display “Stay in the Game!” Network insignia throughout the stadium, including wall banners and dedicated tarps that will be viewable on the television broadcast.

 

Fans are encouraged to support the “Stay in the Game!” initiative and its efforts to address the digital divide by donating gently used desktop computers, laptops, monitors and other computer accessories to be refurbished and redistributed by PCs for People to low-income families. For more details on PCs for People – a non-profit organization that provides affordable computers, computer repair, and internet service to low-income families and nonprofits across the country – and their processes, visit https://www.pcsforpeople.org/about-us/.

 

Fans who contribute to the Browns’ Digital Device Drive at FirstEnergy Stadium will receive a coupon for a 10 percent discount at the Browns Pro Shop to recognize their donation. On gamedays throughout November, drop-off locations will be located near the bag-check tents on the northeast and southwest corners of the stadium. During all other days of the month, individuals will be able to submit their items outside of the Browns Pro Shop.

 

Select Cuyahoga County Public Library locations are also participating in the Browns’ Digital Device Drive in November. More details on those drop-off site options and times will be available in the near future.

 

All school faculty, students and family members are encouraged to take the “Stay in the Game!” attendance pledge at Get2School.org, which also hosts exclusive Cleveland Browns learning content and various educational resources throughout the year.

 

Dee and Jimmy Haslam and a core team of Browns executives have met with members of the team’s social justice leadership committee, comprised of players and coaches, to discuss and coordinate community engagement opportunities with organizations and in areas supporting social justice where players wish to make an impact. Through those discussions, Browns players identified wanting to support education, including to help close the digital divide; police reform and accountability by engaging law enforcement and elected officials; economic advancement and community support, particularly for underserved, primarily black neighborhoods; and non-partisan voter registration, education and turnout.

 

In March 2018, NFL owners approved team-based matching funds, whereby NFL clubs would match contributions, up to $250,000 annually, from current and former players to support community improvement, social justice and law enforcement relationships. This funding comes in addition to many NFL teams’ ongoing financial support of local social justice initiatives. Through the program, the Browns have previously provided grants to Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries; City of Cleveland Recreation Centers; EDWIN’S Leadership & Restaurant Institute; and Toward Employment.

 

Dee Haslam is also a member of the NFL’s social justice committee, established in December 2017 with the focus of supporting programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a priority on supporting improvements in education and economic development, community and police relations and the criminal justice system. It works directly with league staff to help identify future initiatives that have both broad support and a potential for high impact, and make financial recommendations accordingly.

 

About the Cleveland Browns and Browns Give Back:

The 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.

 

Education – The Cleveland Browns are dedicated to improving the quality of education for students in Ohio by making investments that keep kids in school every day so they can succeed, highlighted by the “Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day” Network. The “Stay in the Game!” Network is a statewide initiative designed to promote the importance of school attendance and put an end to chronic absenteeism. The team engages local school districts and promotes quality education by using attendance data and feedback from families to build a school-going culture, uncover and reduce common barriers to attendance and support engagement opportunities for students to thrive. In the 2020-21 school year, the “Stay in the Game!” Network will partner with 16 school districts, benefitting more than 110,000 students in Ohio. An adaptation of the “Get 2 School, Stay In The Game!” Network, the name change reflects the current environment where schools may not necessarily be able to host in-school learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter the circumstances, the “Stay in the Game!” Network will continue to encourage and support students to maintain a strong educational-going mindset to keep learning, every day, aligned with its overall goal to help end chronic absenteeism and provide all students equal opportunities to be successful. To learn more visit, Get2School.org.

 

Youth Football – 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.

 

First and Ten – Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team’s community program, established to inspire fans to #give10 and help their communities 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. To date, more than 2.75 million hours of volunteering have been pledged through First and Ten. 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.

 

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