Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation teamed up with Playworks, Washington, D.C., to host its inaugural “Flag Football Extravaganza” at Tyler Elementary School in southeast D.C. on June 1. Nearly 80 students from Playworks partner schools participated in learn to play flag football drills led by Playworks coaches. Washington Valor linesmen Anthony Parker and Adam Shead participated in the drills and coached the students during head-to-head scrimmages.
“Across the city, recess has been reduced to about 20 minutes on average, in some schools less,” said Jennifer Oxley, Playworks’ executive director. “We are working on an advocacy standpoint with our partners like Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation to increase the number of minutes. It helps schools incorporate play throughout the day, so it’s not just recess. They now have class game times and other things that increase their physical activity and their social-emotional learning.”
Students learned flag football skills at three stations, including receiving, running and a combination of the two. After rotating through the stations, students joined staff from local nonprofit and social enterprise DC Central Kitchen in hands-on activities about healthy eating where they made fruit kabobs and veggie race cars. For the second half of the event, students were split into teams to play scrimmages while utilizing the skills they were taught. Additionally, each student received a Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation branded T-shirt and a Valor mini football. Throughout the event, students enjoyed a DJ playing their favorite songs as they danced and sang along during breaks.
The extravaganza was the first flag football event for Playworks D.C. and was planned in partnership with MSE Foundation after the addition of the Valor and Baltimore Brigade to Monumental Sports & Entertainment. It was also the first community appearance for the Valor, and players were able to talk to the participants about their experience playing football professionally, as well as the importance of teamwork and having fun.
“You learn a lot of life lessons, not only about football,” said Parker. “Football is more than just football if you really think about it, if you actually played. So it’s important to give these kids an eye opener to what it can really can be.”
Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation supports the charitable efforts of the professional teams under its umbrella: the Washington Capitals, Mystics, Valor and Wizards and the Baltimore Brigade. MSE Foundation is committed to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and focuses on the following five pillars to maximize its impact and engagement with the community: youth basketball, football and hockey, education and scholarship, pediatric health and fitness, military and veterans' affairs and hunger and homelessness.
Playworks, Washington, D.C., is a national nonprofit organization that transforms schools by providing play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play. Playworks currently partners with 18 public and public charter schools in Washington, D.C., serving 7,100 students each day.
DC Central Kitchen is a nonprofit developer of innovative social ventures that break the cycle of hunger and poverty. Founded in 1989 in protest of traditional charity models, the organization uses career training, job creation and sustainable business practices to strengthen local food systems and reduce disparities in health and economic opportunity. The Kitchen's life-changing social ventures include providing culinary job training to at-risk adults, turning wasted food into balanced meals for shelters and nonprofits and serving healthy, scratch-cooked meals in low-income schools.