Even during the offseason, the reigning champions are ready to champion the youth in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Rams partnered with City Year Los Angeles (CYLA) and UNIFY Financial Credit Union to conduct a beautification project at Woodworth-Monroe K-8 Academy.
Rams cornerback David Long Jr. and his girlfriend Bryce Bakewell along with Rams legend Chris Draft was among the volunteers who painted pictures and encouraging words on the walls of the campus.
Along with painting symbols relating to STEM, arts, and athletics, volunteers painted quotes of prominent figures including Dr. Martin Luther King, former president Barack Obama, and vice president Kamala Harris.
Woodworth-Monroe principal Stuart Caldwell noted how the school has a 68-year legacy and how some of the teachers and staff attended the school during their formative years.
“The kids have seen the building as it was for a lot of generations and now to see so many people bringing such positive energy to put some beautiful markers up on the walls to say “hey, welcome, this is who you are,”” Caldwell said. “This is the kind of stuff that touches our hearts.”
Caldwell believes that the students will feel inspired from knowing that a Super Bowl champion helped spruce up their school and this partnership will help parents feel the connection between the school and the Rams.
UNIFY Financial Credit Union executive vice president, chief marketing officer Lisa Otomo worked on a mural of Rosa Parks.
“With the kids coming back to school after spending all that time at home with COVID, I think it’s nice that they’re gonna have all these beautiful walls with all these nice sayings,” Otomo said. “It really is refreshing; I think it’s going to rejuvenate them.”
CYLA has an ongoing partnership with the Rams that provides services to schools and address social injustices that the students face. The organization provides AmeriCorps members to the schools they serve, who mentor and tutor the kids while assisting the faculty. The AmeriCorps members distributed paint to the volunteers throughout the event.
CYLA executive director Sandra Cano mentioned how having Long Jr and Draft at the campus beautification was “incredible.”
“I was actually watching David Long Jr. from afar and just the humility that he demonstrates as he’s going along … from where I’m at I could see him actually painting an image,” Cano said. “Just him being a Super Bowl Champion sitting in this location painting with everyone else.”
During the Rams’ wildcard game against the Arizona Cardinals, Long Jr committed a pick-six edging up the score 21-0 in the second quarter.
“[Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray] was rushing, trying to throw the ball and I was kinda anticipating where the ball was gonna land,” Long Jr said. “By the time I realized I secured the catch, I was already in the endzone, so it was a wave of emotions.”
Draft learned that some of the volunteers that worked on the Barack Obama mural were students at Woodworth-Monroe when he was in office. The volunteer that worked on the Kamala Harris painting was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority inc.
“It’s one of her sorority members and as a Black woman, she’s able to paint that, be a part of a sorority but then also reflect on how powerful is that for some young women who are walking in here for them to see this quote,” Draft said. “This is an event that’s tied with getting kids back to the schools and really uplifting them and encouraging them.”