The Browns' signature volunteer movement, First and Ten, rolled forward in 2019 with one of its best and most impactful years yet.
Throughout the month of January, the NFL is spotlighting how it and its 32 teams have helped Inspire Change. The purpose is to facilitate conversations and actions that move us toward a more equal and just tomorrow. In the month of January, the Inspire Change initiative will showcase how the NFL family is coming together to ensure that access to opportunity is a reality for all and to create progress in police-community relations, criminal justice reform, and education and economic advancement.
Here's how the Browns did it in 2019.
Joel Bitonio Hosts Annual Shop with a Pro event
As part of the Browns "10 Days of Giving" and originally started by former Browns great Joe Thomas, Bitonio and several teammates took the children around the store with $200 each to spend on themselves, family and friends.
The spree was made possible through the generosity of Bitonio, his wife Courtney and the DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation.
After selecting a new pair of shoes, the kids and players roamed the store trying on new clothes, playing with various sporting balls, riding bikes and enjoying the hour. Pizza, refreshments, photos and autographed pennants were handed out throughout the course of the evening.
Browns players, staff, family members spend day transforming Earle B. Turner Recreation Center
Through Browns Give Back and with the assistance of Browns staff and families, Drew Forbes, Kendall Lamm and Justin McCray spent time painting rooms orange with the Browns' helmet stripe down the middle.
Multi-purpose rooms in the building were also set up with new desks for homework and study purposes, comfy chairs for relaxation and new sports and gaming equipment was installed as well.
Browns spend day off volunteering at Greater Cleveland Food Bank
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Joe Schobert decided to give more along with several of his teammates, Browns alumni and staff in the form of their time and effort by packaging meals to be distributed to local food shelters, pantries and sites throughout Northeast Ohio.
The afternoon consisted of players and staff assisting in various spots throughout the GCFB facility from assembling boxes to packaging those boxes with various food items to closing them up and loading them into trucks and cars for transportation.
For Schobert, who is a familiar face when it comes to giving his time to the greater Cleveland community, it's all a matter of pride to give back during this week of thanks.
Browns celebrate Halloween with patients at University Hospitals' Rainbow Babies
Browns tight end David Njoku, guards Justin McCray, Joel Bitonio and Drew Forbes, and linebackers Sione Takitaki, Mack Wilson and Joe Schobert made a special visit Tuesday to the hospital to celebrate Halloween with patients.
The Browns also spent time designing special superhero capes and masks with the patients on multiple floors and made special room visits, too, to include as many patients as possible in the festivities. Through Browns Give Back, the team is dedicated to spend time volunteering in the community.
Players visited the University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospitals on October 29, 2019 for a Halloween at the Hospital event.
Browns' First and Ten volunteer movement launches Huddle for 100 efforts to give back to community
In celebration of the NFL's 100th season, the Cleveland Browns encouraged fans to give back to their communities through the team's signature First and Ten movement and Huddle For 100 initiative.
The rookie class visited with youth at Lonnie Burten Recreation Center, which was renovated as part of the Browns City of Cleveland Rec Center Refurbishment Projects through social justice efforts and the First and Ten volunteer movement
Browns players work toward criminal justice reform with visit to courthouse, jail
Kendall Lamm was one of five Browns players to take part in a Listen and Learn tour of the justice center as part of the team's continuing efforts toward addressing social justice issues. Listen and Learn is a concept created by the Player's Coalition to help educate NFL players and front office staffs on criminal justice reform as part of the Coalition's social justice efforts.
The Player's Coalition is an independent advocacy organization that works with professional athletes, coaches and owners across leagues to improve social justice and racial equality in the United States. The objective of the trip was to provide an inside look at the Ohio criminal justice system, observing bail hearings and discussing bail reform and sentencing disparities with Gabe Diaz, former public defender and current senior legal counsel for The Justice Collaborative.
Browns continue commitment to social justice efforts with visit, donation to EDWINS
As part of their commitment to social justice efforts, the Cleveland Browns visited EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute in Cleveland.
Founded in 2007, EDWINS gives formerly incarcerated adults a foundation in the culinary/hospitality industry while providing a support network necessary to their long-term success. Its mission is to teach a skilled and in-demand trade in the culinary arts, empower willing minds through passion for hospitality management and prepare students for a successful transition home.
Browns tight ends Orson Charles and Seth DeValve, defensive lineman Carl Davis, linebacker Christian Kirksey and offensive lineman Kendall Lamm made the trip to the institute's butcher shop on Buckeye Road before journeying over to the institute itself in Shaker Square.