As an organization, the Ravens have remained committed to staying engaged in the surrounding community, volunteering and holding several events in the nature of helping one another. Throughout the offseason and heading into the summer, the Ravens have and will continue that tradition.
The first weekend of May was a significant one, as over 150 members of the Ravens organization ran in the Packard Center's Fiesta 5K and Fun Run for the fight against Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Ravens director of player development O.J. Brigance was diagnosed with the disease in 2007, and has become an ambassador for the Packard Center, inspiring his team around him.
"I was amazed by the tremendous showing of support," Brigance said afterwards. "I am moved the most by the kindness and caring of everyone within the organization and the city of Baltimore." The event raised over $170,000.
The entire Ravens organization will also be participating in the KaBoom! Playground Build. Cornerback Domonique Foxworth visited Good Samaritan Hospital along with organizers to brainstorm with children about their perfect playground. He helped with their drawings and encouraged them to be as creative as possible. On June 8, the Ravens will use those ideas to build a new playground for the hospital.
"Our players truly enjoy going out into Baltimore and the surrounding communities to interact with the fans who support the Ravens so passionately," said Ravens manager of community relations Andi Goodwin. "From inspiring young students in their schoolwork to lifting the spirits of someone who is ailing or ill, our guys take great pleasure in giving back to the community that has embraced our organization."
Long snapper Matt Katula's foundation, which exists to provide growth and development for community sports programs, recently had a charity golf outing at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md. Some of Katula's teammates, including Joe Flacco, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and Quinn Sypniewski came along for 18 holes of golf with the fans.
One of the 2008 Ravens Plan in Motion grant recipients, the Baltimore County Public Library, recently held an event called 'The Chef Shapes Up,' where workshops were held encouraging kids to make smart choices, including eating right and exercising daily. Tight end Edgar Jones was on hand throughout the workshops to make the event a success.
Back in March, Marcus Maxwell, Jared Gaither, Troy Smith, Jameel McClain and Brendon Ayanbadejo participated in the NFL Youth Fitness Event in Washington, D.C. Teaming with other NFL players as well as US. Senators and Representatives, these Ravens led a group of nearly 100 area schoolchildren in a series of fitness activities on the West Lawn of the Capitol. Smith was especially active in organizing events for the children. It was a part of NFL Play 60, which encourages children to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
Ayanbadejo has remained active in the community throughout the offseason, donating 150 pairs of tennis shoes to outfit the entire first grade at Royal Palm Elementary in Lauderhill, Florida. Ayanbadejo was on hand himself yesterday (May 15) to distribute the shoes.
This weekend, Derrick Martin is holding a Sportsfest in Denver, Co. There was a 1.5 mile Fun Run and Walk yesterday (May 15) with himself and other NFL players, including former Raven David Pittman. A free football and cheer camp is being held today, as well as a silent auction tomorrow.
Derrick Mason will join a handful of prominent football personalities on May 16th at Faith and Football. Mason will speak with fans about how he incorporates his faith into his career as a football player. Also attending will be former Baltimore Colt and hall-of-famer Lenny Moore, former Colt and current Ravens broadcaster Stan White, former Raven Edwin Mulitalo, Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid.
From May 29 to 31, the Ravens will have their annual Council of Ravens Roost Convention in Ocean City, Md. Ravens roosts from throughout the Baltimore area will spend the weekend with players like Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda and Marcus Smith. There will be events like karaoke, volleyball, horseshoes and even a scavenger hunt for the most die-hard fans of the Ravens.
And finally, Ray Lewis will be holding his 5th annual Ray's Summer Days from June 4th to June 6th. It will include a youth football clinic, a celebrity paintball tournament and BBQ and a celebrity bowling tournament. Proceeds will go toward the Ray Lewis Foundation, whose mission is to provide personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth.
Though the season may not begin until September, it's good to know the Ravens are still reaching out to the Baltimore community. And it's comforting to know they're doing what they can to make it a better place.