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Young outfits kids for winter

Posted Dec 18, 2012

CLEVELAND -- Browns defensive back Usama Young spent Monday afternoon giving back to the children in the Cleveland community.

CLEVELAND -- When it comes to preparing for an opponent, Cleveland Browns defensive back Usama Young gives his best effort to make sure he will be ready for any and all situations that may come up during a game. Young brings that same commitment to improving the lives of those around him in the Cleveland community.

On Monday afternoon, Young and several of his teammates went to the St. Martin de Porres Family Center and helped distribute coats, hats and gloves, with assistance from Shoes and Clothes for Kids, to 50 children, ranging from Kindergarteners to third graders. Young came up with the idea for “Defensive Backs Give Back” after a conversation with Renee Harvey, the team’s vice president of community outreach.

“I asked Renee, ‘Where can we donate clothes and get an area that it’s needed?’ Young said. “I’m in Tremont. I live right by downtown and I see children walking to the school bus wearing t-shirts in the wintertime, wearing sweatshirts with no hats and no gloves.

“I talked to a few guys and said, ‘Hey, I’m doing this coat drive.’ I partnered with Shoes and Clothes for Kids and we got it together. It’s been fun.”

In his second year with the Browns, Young has increased his involvement with the Cleveland community through his charity, Young’s Youth, and his teammates have followed his example in helping.

On Monday, Young and his wife, Gia, were joined by eight of his teammates: defensive backs Trevin Wade, Ray Ventrone, Johnson Bademosi, T.J. Ward, Tashaun Gipson, and Buster Skrine, as well as fullback Owen Marecic and quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. The players joined the children for lunch, with the food provided by SUBWAY® Restaurants.

Bademosi, Ward and Ventrone helped the kids pick out hats and gloves, while Young, Wade, Marecic, Lewis, Gipson and Skrine assisted the children in selecting the coats.

“It’s going to be cold in the winter, especially in Cleveland, so everybody needs a jacket, gloves and a hat,” Bademosi said. “I remember an event very similar to this when I was growing up, where I went to a church and they had coats, jackets and Christmas presents and I remember the effect that it had on me. I just want to do the same and pass it on to kids.”

Bademosi said it was an “awesome” experience to be in a position to help children in need.

“If somebody blesses you, then, you pass that blessing onto somebody else,” Bademosi said. “I hope these kids are in a position to do the same when they’re older, when they’re my age.”

Sharon Boyes, director of development and communication for Shoes and Clothes for Kids, said Monday’s event came at the busiest time of the year for the organization.

“As we approach the holiday season, we’re always inundated with calls about people needing winter coats,” Boyes said. “This is also a tremendous experience for them to interact with the players and do something fun, which is something they don’t often get to do. For a lot of these kids, this may be the only new thing they get this year. It’s really priceless to take a look around the room and look at some of these kids and know that they’re going to go home with something brand new.”

Young’s Youth Foundation is about mobilizing young people to work to their potential through hands-on and interactive programming that aim to strengthen youth from single-parent families and underserved communities and youth with learning disabilities through tutoring, leadership development, mentoring and advocacy.

Click here to learn more about Shoes and Clothes for Kids.