By Jessica JagloisPublished: July 29, 2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville high school football player collapsed at practice. He told his coach at Stratford High School that he hadn’t eaten that day.
You may be surprised that many Metro student athletes who rely on free meals during the school year go to practice hungry.
“It breaks your heart,” said Stratford High School football coach Maurice Fitzgerald. “We have to make sure they eat and hydrate because a lot of times they don’t eat.”
Jobs for Tennessee Graduateswas trying to help. JTG helps at-risk youth become college and career ready.
So far, they have convinced local businesses, the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators to donate sports drinks, protein bars and footballs.
“They don’t even have footballs for goodness sake,” said Jobs for Tennessee Graduates President John Dwyer. “It’s important that these high school programs have the basic needs and that the students understand there is goodness all around them.”
JTG organized a charity drive at Stratford High School from 12 p.m. to 2.p.m. on a Saturday in August. Donors were encouraged to supply the football programs with basic items such as:
· Sports Drinks ($60 buys 20 oz. 96 count)
· Nutrition Bars ($100 buys 100 bars)
· Locks ($100 buys 20—160 needed)
· Post-Game Meals ($200 buys 1—20 needed)
· Footballs ($100 buys 4—40 needed)
· Riddell Helmets ($200 per Helmet—40 needed)
· Large Travel Bag ($500 buys 10—150 needed)
· Gator Tractor ($3,000 used—2 needed to cart injured players and equipment)
· Zero Radius Mower ($2,500 new—2 needed to cut practice/game fields)
· Industrial Shop Vacuum ($800 new—2 needed for locker rooms)
· Money donations were also encouraged for weekly needs such as cleats, gloves, athletic tape, etc.
JAG-Tennessee’s Operation American Goodness was about promoting goodness in these communities, teaching philanthropy and setting an example of what can be accomplished through collaboration. The simple fact is, these programs are competing against other programs that have these basic items. Through a “Wider the Base, Higher the Pyramid” approach, these basic items will provide a foundation for success on the field and in life!
JTG held the 1st Annual Operation American Goodness after only eight days of planning and execution. This supply drive for the Stratford and Maplewood High School football programs collected more than $25,000 dollars in in-kind and cash donations.
These rivals will renew their gridiron tradition in the season opener but they came together in the spirit of goodness to accept critical needs while learning an important life lesson:
GIVE! RECEIVE! PAY FORWARD IN LIFE!
The TV story and radio interviews led to strangers dropping off supplies and cash donations through www.jobsfortngrads.org A local businessman made a $2,500 pledge contingent on another $2,500 raised. The challenge was met and then some. The Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators both donated in-kind items. Titans cheerleaders were in attendance.
JTG President and CEO John Dwyer, The Pasta Shoppe President John Aron and Vireo Systems President Mark Faulkner expressed their appreciation and thanks to everyone for their generosity and advocacy on behalf of Stratford and Maplewood High School football programs.
2016 Program Results:
Graduation Rate: 99%
Youth Served: 1,022 Served
Number of Schools:18 in 14 Counties
Scholarships: $4.5 million earned in college scholarships
For more information, contact:
John Dwyer, President & Chief Executive Officer