For seven straight years, the Ravens have hosted an annual day of play for the youth of Baltimore's Hispanic community. It is a continued outreach initiative which promotes and supports the area's Hispanic population, and provides them with opportunities to learn and play the game of football, while emphasizing exercise and the importance of community.
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) is celebrated annually by the NFL and all 32 teams with a series of special events and games dedicated to highlighting the month-long initiatives. This year's theme is, "Feel the Orgullo," – meaning, "Feel the Pride" – and will capture the rich history and tradition of Latinos in all NFL cities.
With the growing number of Hispanic families in the greater Baltimore area, the Ravens look to Hispanic Heritage Month as an opportunity for the youth to get outside, learn the fundamentals of football and even meet Ravens players.
"I love meeting the Ravens players and getting the chance to run around with them," explained 14-year-old Nolan Bhagwandin, who has been coming to the Ravens Hispanic Heritage Football Clinic for the past five years. "Being here gives me an opportunity to safely play around, have fun and not worry about anything."
The youth that participated in this year's clinic were pre-registered through Education-Based Latino Outreach (EBLO) and Centro de la Comunidad (Centro), two organizations focused on supporting the Hispanic population in Baltimore and its surrounding areas.
"For the past five years, I have been coming here for this clinic and I can't explain to you how much the kids love it and look forward to it," said Sandra Hernandez-McCullough of EBLO. "They call it 'Ravens time' because they don't look at it as Hispanic Heritage, they look at it as a time to meet Ravens players and learn football. For many of these children, this is their first experience with American football, so this great for our community."
The Ravens Hispanic Heritage Football Clinic is held annually at the Senator Bonvegna Field in Baltimore City, and throughout the years, has hosted many familiar faces. From the event organizers, to Ravens players, to youth participants – the event continues to grow each year.
"I look forward to this event every year," explained Ravens safety Anthony Levine Sr., who participated in the event for his third straight year. "The smiles on these faces are unforgettable and keep me coming back each year. I am honored to have been a part of Hispanic Heritage Month and it is a pleasure to spend time with the kids and teach them a few football drills."
Along with Levine Sr., Ravens safeties Terrence Brooks and Nick Perry, defensive lineman Carl Davis, and running back Terrence Magee also came out to help host the clinic.
In addition to the clinic, the Ravens will honor Yolanda Maria Martinez, Founder and CEO of Respira Medical, as the recipient of the 2015 NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award at this Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The NFL and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) have partnered for the fifth-annual NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award during the 2015 celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The award recognizes the contributions of Hispanic leaders in each NFL market.
For more information on Hispanic Heritage Month, fans can visit www.NFL.com/HispanicHeritage.
For seven straight years, the Ravens have hosted an annual day of play for the youth of Baltimore's Hispanic community.