The Jream Youth Development Program wants to help children with more than just their football skills. On the weekends, children and young teenagers put their pads on to compete in football games and during weekdays children can gain tutoring and enrichment support.
Jream Program participants can take a karate class and receive tutoring for their homework. Professional football players also stop by to speak with the kids. The youth football component of the program is called the So Cali Jr. Raiders, which consists of cheerleading squads and football teams.
Antonio “Showtime” Patterson, president of the Jream program, took over the football program when it was called the “Crenshaw Cougars.” He wanted to bring back the after school program aspect of the organization and decided to name it after his daughter, Jream, in 2014. Jream is an acronym meaning Junior Raiders Enrichment and Academic Mentorship.
“We do football, but we’re more academic,” said Sosena “Miss Cee Cee” Bloodsaw, the treasurer and secretary of the Jream program. “We care about football, it’s what we do, but academics come first, it’s about homework,”
The SoCali Jr. Raiders’ new season starts on July 24 and is open to children between the ages of 6 and 14 who want to participate in football and cheerleading. Bloodsaw mentioned how the program does not turn down anyone who wants to participate.
“It doesn’t matter about how a kid looks and how much they weigh and what their abilities or disabilities are,” Bloodsaw said. “We provide service to everyone, we’re a family.”
After school enrichment takes place Tuesdays through Thursdays and participation is free for children between the ages of six and 14. The program lasts from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, two hours are for academics and enrichment while the last two hours are for football conditioning camp.
To compete in games for the So Cali Jr. Raiders, the price to register ranges from $75 to $150. Patterson looks for ways to sponsor children of families who don’t have the means to pay.
On Thursdays, Grandmaster Walter Goode teaches karate. Children also have tutors to help them with their homework and can play on software like Lexia and ST Math. Recently, former Raiders player Eric Barton visited the Jream program to tell kids about his time in the NFL and life after retirement.
“Exposure is everything to me,” Patterson said. “We expose kids to things, as many things as possible in a controlled environment because at the end of the day, we don’t know what they’re gonna become.”
Out of the Jream program is high school sophomore defensive end Jayvon Thibodeaux, a top recruit in the 2019 senior class who has offers from Alabama, University of Southern California, and University of Washington among other division I NCAA programs. Patterson’s son, Justin, was also a product of the Jream program. He currently plays football at Serra High School with a 4.4 GPA.
Patterson uses the program to teach compassion and empathy.
“That’s why the relationship between our players are so great because they empathize with each other, they sympathize with each other,” Patterson said. “There’s no name calling, there’s no putting down.”