The Los Angeles Chargers’ rookie class were joined by members of the Inglewood Police Department to host an NFL Play 60 camp for students at Highland Elementary School on Tuesday, September 19, in Inglewood. The Play 60 initiative encourages children to engage in 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
“It’s just a piece of hope for the city, bringing everyone together, inspiration, letting our kids know that they can dream big, do and achieve big things,” said Dr. Annette Beasley, Highland Elementary School principal.
This event marks the first official Junior Chargers Training Camp since the team made the move to Los Angeles. Eleven Chargers’ rookies volunteered their time to run football drills with students.
“This is definitely one of my focuses, encouraging the youth, trying to get them the best help they can; the best life that they can [lead],” said Chargers offensive lineman, Dan Feeney. “I want to be a part of that and help them however I can. If a Play 60 event is what I can do, I’m happy to help.”
One-hundred and twenty students (eight per classroom) were selected based on performing well on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) and demonstrating positive behavior in the classroom.
“I follow the core values of Highland in my classroom: being safe, respectful, responsible, prepared and being kind,” said Stephanie Ramirez, a fifth grader at Highland, who achieved perfect test scores on the CAASPP two years in a row. She, along with several classmates, were animated while completing the various football drills led by Chargers rookies. “My favorite drill is the passing one.”
The passing drill was led by wide receiver Andre Patton who shared that he was happy to be giving back to the community even on his day off.
“Just seeing all the energy from the kids, running from drill-to-drill, it’s good to see the kids having fun and smiling,” said Patton.
While the players expressed their joy with helping out in the community that will soon be the home to their new stadium coming in 2020, many students conveyed pure excitement. Sixth grade quarterback, Jason Atlaw, said it was a dream come true to interact with and meet NFL players.
“I wish I could be one of these football players one day,” said Atlaw.
“It’s good to let the community know that we have their support and they have our support, so it feels good to get out here and do things around the community,” added Patton.
The Chargers are already making an imprint on the Inglewood community and it is being welcomed by respected members of neighborhood, like Inglewood Chief of Police, Mark Fronterotta.
“First of all, it’s a partnership,” said Chief Fronterotta. “They are good stewards in terms of their responsibilities in the communities. This isn’t the first time that they’ve been to Inglewood. They have been here before and they will be here again; just a continued effort in their outreach to the community.”
His sentiments were echoed by Councilman of District 2 in Inglewood, Alex Padilla, who made an appearance to show his support of the youth and the partnership.
With the Chargers awaiting the opening of their new Inglewood stadium, they say it is imperative to continue to build and impact the community in the meantime with events such as these.