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The NY Giants Team up with Bed-Stuy Middle Schoolers for a 'Day of Play'

3 NFL players came to M.S. 35 to play games, dance and practice football skills with the students to promote getting daily exercise.
NFL Play60 Group 2
A group of students at the NFL Play 60 event at M.S. 35. Photo: Natasha Knows for the BK Reader.

What happens when you pair the New York Giants and more than 100 energetic students at Stephen Decatur Middle School in Bed-Stuy?

You get a fun-filled day of games, activities and physical play.

The event was part of NFL Play 60, the league's national youth health and wellness campaign that encourages kids to be physically active for at least 60 minutes daily. 

Three Giants players -- Oshane Ximines, Elerson Smith and Justin “Jelly” Ellis -- joined the students in helping them channel all of their excitement at different activity stations, including dancing to a live DJ set, capturing their best photos in the 360 photo booth and getting autographs from the trio.  

“It’s good for the community to see us, and it’s good for us too, because we get to feel all the love from the kids,” Smith, the Giants running back, said.

The 6’ 6” tall linebacker and his teammates turned into kids themselves, throwing passes, shooting hoops and racing across the court.

“We just try to spread the message of kids being physically active in their free time and making sure that they’re having fun with it because that’s what we do for a living," Smith said.

The event was a partnership between LISC NYC and Bridge Street Development Corporation, the Family Dynamics Beacon Center at M.S. 35 and Citizens Bank, the official bank of the New York Giants, which recently contributed $75,000 in support of two community and economic development initiatives in Central Brooklyn.

“We’re excited to be here in NY as part of the community and partnering with the Giants to get children involved with Play 60,” Nuno Dos Santos said. Dos Santos is the Citizens Bank retail banking director. “It’s great work.”

“We’re hoping our kids' involvement in NFL Play 60 builds their awareness around being more active and becoming healthier as part of their daily activity,” SCO Director Antonio Melendez, who has been with the program for 32 years, said.

"The goal of today is the importance of physical activity, we’re all about the community and we want to make sure that our young people get connected to all that’s available in New York City,” Oma Holloway said. Holloway is the chief operating officer of BSDC.

“We really appreciate the NY Giants and Citizens Bank for making this happen, but most importantly, for SCO and the Bridge street team for working with our young people today and making this event a reality.”

Visit NFL Play 60 to learn more about the program.

Natasha Knows

About the Author: Natasha Knows

Natasha “Knows” is the CEO and founder of Natasha Knows, LLC a small business consulting company.
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