Last week, the Ravens hosted their annual Hometown Huddle event – Ravens TEAM Challenge – and continued to have strong volunteer support from Ravens staff and team partners. The number of those interested in helping continues to grow each year, and event organizers can't turn them away.
In addition to Ravens players, close to 90 volunteers from the Lady Ravens, United Way, M&T Bank, MedStar Health, Giant, Smyth Jewelers and others, joined forces to help the Ravens host their event this past Monday (10/12) at M&T Bank Stadium.
"The Ravens TEAM Challenge is a highly anticipated, and a team favorite event," explained Katie Bollinger, marketing coordinator for the Ravens. "Staff members have the opportunity to volunteer and spend the day channeling their inner child. It's always nice to step away from our desks and be out in the community. I'm not sure who has more fun; the Ravens staff, players or the kids."
In conjunction with the United Way, Hometown Huddle is an NFL initiative celebrated by all 32 teams across the country. The Ravens TEAM Challenge integrates educational programming and the NFL's PLAY 60 national campaign by focusing on three core values: fitness, sportsmanship and academics.
Under the guidance of Ravens' charitable partner, Playworks Maryland, students from Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School (Baltimore, Md.) tested their physical endurance and ability to work as a team in order to complete various activities such as kickball, dodgeball, ultimate football and a series of relays. At the end of the day, one group was declared the 2015 Ravens TEAM Challenge champions, based upon total points accumulated.
"It was awesome to get outside, have fun with these kids who look up to you as a professional athlete and teach them about teamwork and good sportsmanship," explained Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele. "It's important to show these kids that things don't always go your way, and you have to remember that it's about enjoying what you do even through the struggles. It is not just about winning and losing."
Along with Osemele, Ravens wide receivers Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown, safeties Anthony Levine Sr. and Kendrick Lewis and defensive end Lawrence Guy also came out to help host the annual Hometown Huddle event.
"We were thoroughly impressed with how well it was run, how many volunteers came out and our students had a BLAST!," explained Bethany Davis, teacher at Francis Scott Key. "The kids are still talking about the games and the players they met. For many, this was their first times in the stadium, and to be out playing on the field was really special!"