On March 21, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation (WRCF) proudly dedicated two newly renovated community center football fields in the Blackwell and Hotchkiss neighborhoods of Richmond, Va.
In conjunction with Richmond's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities (DPRCF), the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the NFL's Youth Football Fund, the WRCF held two community celebrations to mark the facilities' opening.
City officials and representatives from the WRCF were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies at each location. Both events were free and open to the public, full of children's activities, and featured the famous Howiette of the Washington Redskins Hogettes.
University of Richmond graduate and Redskins alumnus Mike Bragg served as a featured guest for the festivities along with fellow Redskins alumnus Mark Moseley.
The football fields at both the Blackwell and Hotchkiss community centers were renovated with new bleachers, lighted scoreboards, goalposts and player benches through a $50,000 grant from the NFL Grassroots Program, a partnership between the WRCF, the NFL Youth Football Fund and LISC.
"These renovated football fields will help us attract more city youth to our football program," said J.R. Pope, city department director.
Richmond's DPRCF offers football for children ages 5 to 14 throughout the city. Last season, approximately 1,500 youth participated in football and with the renovated fields at Blackwell and Hotchkiss coming into use this season, the department estimates participation to increase by 10 percent.
WRCF is committed to recognizing youth who demonstrate leadership, sportsmanship and scholarship and therefore provided a Kick Off Kid package to a student-athlete at Blackwell and one at Hotchkiss.
These Kick Off Kids will receive game tickets and the opportunity of a lifetime as they run on to the field before 92,000 Redskins fans to retrieve the kicking tee.
As part of WRCF's on-going commitment to Blackwell and Hotchkiss 100 area youth football players will attend one open practice during the 2009 Redskins' Training Camp.
The WRCF is also excited to have strengthened its relationship with its NFL Grassroots Program partners.
The NFL Youth Football Fund has utilized football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development and ensure the health of grassroots football in future generations since 1998.
Since 1980, LISC has combined corporate, government, and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize underserved neighborhoods.