Published October 4, 2022 10:42 p.m
Eagles star players visit West Philadelphia Panthers youth football players and cheerleaders
Philadelphia Eagles A. On the same subject : EverybodyPlays Recap | 2021.J. Brown and Miles Sanders visited a group of West Philadelphia youth football players and cheerleaders to inspire their young minds amid the city’s growing gun violence.
PHILADELPHIA – With many children victims of gun violence in the city, the Philadelphia Eagles are stepping up and serving as role models for the city’s youth.
Youth football players and cheerleaders from the West Philadelphia Panthers packed the gymnasium at Shepard Rec Center on Tuesday night for a surprise from some of the Eagles and SWOOP star players.
In August, multiple shots were fired outside the Shepard Rec Center, leaving five people injured. A.J. Brown and Miles Sanders came out to show support for the young athletes as they work to make the youth feel more comfortable amid the increasing gun violence across the city.
“Tragedy happened here, broke my heart,” Brown said.
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The Eagles’ visit is part of the 2022 Eagles Care Community. The team was joined by Open Door Abuse Awareness and Prevention Inc. (ODAAP) to lead discussions on character development and violence prevention.
The Eagles anti-violence message to the children is very clear: you have to work hard, make sacrifices and listen to your parents.
Sanders comforted the children by relating his own experiences to theirs. He said he knows what it’s like to be in their shoes.
“I came from the same background as you,” Sanders said. “I’m used to doing things like this. I know what it takes to beat the odds.
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Brown even opened up about his own loved ones he lost to gun violence.
“I lost friends. I lost family, making the wrong decisions, some ending up dead, some going to jail. But I knew I didn’t want that for myself,” he said.
The players’ words of wisdom resonated with the young crowd and many of them felt inspired to make a change within their own communities.
“I don’t want to be in the hood. I don’t want to be in the street. I want to focus on football and things like that,” said 13-year-old Amun Smith.
The children were also joined by their parents, who say they were also moved by the players’ words.
“The kids really needed to hear this,” Nashe Freeman said. “No matter what’s going on around them, what’s going on, they can do it just like they did.”
Former football coach and founder of ODAAP, Valencia Peterson leads the discussion with the players. She says all she wanted was for the children to leave with the mindset that there is always something better than violence.
The kids ended the night with some photos and then, of course, the iconic Eagles chant.