Frisco, Texas—The Dallas Cowboys teamed up with United Way Tuesday to bring the 15th annual Hometown Huddle—a league-wide day of community service for NFL players, coaches and leaders across the country—to Frisco ISD's Anderson Elementary School.
Cowboys players Barry Church, Danny McCray, Kyle Wilber, George Selvie, B.W. Webb and Caesar Rayford joined mayor of Frisco Maher Maso, superintendent of Frisco ISD Dr. Jeremy Lyon and representatives from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and the United Way of Tarrant County in praising Anderson Elementary for its great strides as one of United Way's "Healthy Zone Schools" before taking to the field for a PLAY 60 Junior Training Camp.
"I want everyone here to understand how special Anderson Elementary is," Lyon told the students. "We have a school district of 46,000 students and it's you guys who are the leaders and leading the way in our efforts to get healthy and fit."
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas chief operating officer Susan Hoff acknowledged the seriousness of childhood obesity as an epidemic, with over one-third of Texas students being overweight or obese, but said she sees the stepping up of schools like Anderson Elementary as a "bright spot."
"Over 90 percent of Americans really believe that schools have a responsibility along with families and kids themselves to fight childhood obesity," Hoff said.
Maso, too, emphasized the importance of community and teamwork in improving childhood health, and said he looked forward to many more collaborative efforts between the Cowboys, the City of Frisco—future home of the Cowboys' training facility and corporate headquarters—and Frisco ISD.
"It's a true partnership. It's a community." Maso said. "We do it together, and we focus on the important things, and what is more important than our future and the young minds and young bodies that are going to be leading our future?"
As part of the event, Anderson Elementary was presented with a $2,500 grant on behalf of Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities to go towards purchasing a transverse climbing wall to improve upper body and core strength in its students. Since joining the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program in 2011, Anderson has made a series of improvements in its health and wellness programming, but hopes the climbing wall will help students in their biggest challenge area: upper body strength.
Representatives from Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington also joined the Hometown Huddle festivities and received an additional $2,500 grant from Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities. The grant will expand the organization's Triple Play program—Boys & Girls Clubs of America's first comprehensive health and wellness program developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
NFL teams and United Way offices across the country have partnered together for Hometown Huddle hands-on community service projects since 1999. The effort connects the NFL's $200 million PLAY 60 campaign and United Way's goal of increasing healthy behaviors in 1.9 million young people by 2018.
"The Dallas Cowboys and the United Way are in a unique position to make a measureable difference in your lives and the lives of kids across our region," said Hoff. "And today, we want to celebrate that."