The Redskins and Leesa Sleep partnered to donate 157 mattresses to the residents of Youth For Tomorrow on Monday in Bristow, Va.
A smile erupted on cornerback Bashaud Breeland's face as soon as he started interacting with the small group of students in front of The Redskins Courage House, located on the Youth For Tomorrow campus in Bristow, Va.
And for the rest of Monday afternoon his smile continued as a representative, along with right tackle Morgan Moses, of the Redskins, which partnered with Leesa Sleep to donate 157 mattresses for each of the beds in 10 homes on the campus.
"It's a great experience to give back," said Breeland, who helped move mattresses from trucks into the house, then out of their casings and onto the bed frames. Later, thanks to a donation from Moses and longsnapper Nick Sundberg, Breeland helped install a PS4 into one of the game rooms, where several of the 16 boys living there would be able to take turns playing.
"To be honest, I wish I had something like this growing up," Breeland said of the facility. "Everything wasn't glitter and roses for me and I see that giving back to these kids and trying to change their lives giving them a different start is wonderful, and I appreciate everyone who put their hand in to do this."
Indeed, Breeland found a connection with the residents of Youth For Tomorrow, whose mission boasts a commitment to heightening the awareness of child abuse in the country while working to help improve the lives of children who suffer from such maltreatment. In 1989, the foundation expanded its scope, recognition and charitable efforts to a highly visible national level through the establishment of a network of Courage Houses in NFL cities.
The Redskins' involvement began in 2010, when the organization chose Youth For Tomorrow as the location of the Ed Block Courage House for the Washington, D.C., area.
A plaque displaying the names of the team's award winners each year hangs in the house's entryway, which made the trip particularly meaningful for Moses, who won the team-voted award last year, as well as Mark Rypien, who made a guest appearance on Monday, too.
Just a day after re-injuring his ankle during the team's game against the Vikings, Moses remained all smiles even as he walked around in a boot.
"I've gotten to hang out with some of the kids when I got the Ed Block Courage Award, got to stand in front of the team when we were figuring out our recipient Niles Paul," Moses said. "So, being able to go through that and meet with those kids and have a little relationship with them, it's special to be able to be here. The couple of mattresses made a difference to those kids, man, and put a smile on their face, so I can suck it up for a couple hours with my pain and come out here and have a little fun."
A gathering of more than 50 people – including teachers, staff members, students and members of Leesa and the Redskins – listened to a few speakers to learn more about Youth For Tomorrow's mission before Breeland and Moses began unloading the truck and signing autographs for those huddled around them.
For Susan LaPierre, President of the Youth For Tomorrow Board of Trustees, the donation and partnership will have a long-term effect for its residents.
"As these beautiful young men and women begin the journey of rebuilding their lives here at Youth For Tomorrow," she said, "they will truly find rest from their burdens and rest for their souls, on a great mattress on a warm bed, in a safe and secure environment surrounded by caring house parents and supportive administrators, teachers, counselors and mentors."
As a part of Leesa's social impact program, they have insituted a "one-ten program," donating one mattress to a shelter for every ten they sell. Leesa has donated over 9,000 mattresses since their inception in 2014, and even though they are based in Virginia Beach, they have donated to different organizations all over the country.
Before leaving, Moses helped install an Xbox One in a living room down the hall from Breeland, taking time to hook it up to the TV, with those residents around Moses relishing their moment with him.
"Just another thing that the kids can look forward to when they're done with school, done with their homework, extra-curricular activities, play some Playstation4, some Xbox One, and that's what it's about," Moses said, "making the kids have something to look forward to, putting a smile on their face."