The Chiefs Community Caring Team, including the Chiefs Rookie Club, Chiefs Cheerleaders and KC Wolf visited the Children’s Center Campus on Tuesday to interact with students from the YMCA, the Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC), and the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI). (Photo Gallery)
The students were delighted when they saw the Chiefs enter their classroom. Many of the children were decked out in their Red and Gold being sure to show off their Chiefs pride for their role models. Some of the young girls were wearing Chiefs Cheerleading outfits and were excited to be able to visit with an actual Chiefs Cheerleader.
“Visiting the children’s classrooms was such a perfect way to start off this holiday season,” Chiefs Cheerleader Hayley commented. “It was obvious by their ear to ear smiles that they were thrilled and it was great being able to bring a little piece of joy into their lives. It warmed my heart to watch their eyes light up when we entered their classrooms.”
The cheerleaders handed out Chiefs plush teddy bears to each child and tickets to attend the Dec. 23 game against Indianapolis. Meanwhile, the Chiefs rookies were divided into groups to visit the classrooms of the three agencies housed at the Children’s Center Campus.
“My group was with the visually impaired children and we were able to decorate cookies with them and interact with them,” Chiefs OL
The CCVI is designed to prepare children with visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities, to reach their highest potential in the sighted world.
“One of our parents described their child as a rainbow in their clouds,” said Sally Cook, Assistant Director Development for CCVI. “It’s difficult finding out your child is visually impaired, but getting them the help they need can lead them to do incredible things.”
Cook told a story of one child named Tyler who was described as “a 24 hour child” meaning he was not able to do anything alone, always needed guidance and attention because he was completely blind.
“When he was 13 years old, he told his mother he wanted to be a computer programmer for the blind,” Cook explained. “With the help of the center, he is now a freshman at the Rochester Institute of Technology as the first blind student. You never know what your child can achieve; early intervention can change kids’ lives.”
Another early intervention program at the Children’s Center is TLC, which provides therapeutic and educational services for children with disabilities in an environment which fosters their independence and celebrates their successes.
“We serve young children age one to six with disabilities and developmental delays,” Alan Murray, Executive Director at TLC said. “Here they are able to attend a preschool but also receive their speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity for the Rookie Club to be out here,” Tanney noted. “It’s the Christmas season, a season of giving back to the community and we were able to come out here and interact with the kids, see what they go through on a day to day basis and learn about them, talk with them and also play some NFL Play 60 games with them.”
As the students participated in Play 60 activities with the players, you could see the joy on their young faces.
“The kids were so excited; they’ve been talking about it for weeks,” Amy Foster, Program Director of the YMCA, commented.
Along with the CCVI and TLC, the YMCA is another agency located at the Children’s Center. Serving children six weeks to Pre-K, the YMCA provides on-site daycare for children without disabilities, facilitating social interaction and assimilation with impaired children. Activities incorporate YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
“It’s an amazing thing for the Chiefs to be able to come out and actually meet the people here in Kansas City, especially the children because the children really do idolize the players,” Foster explained. “They see the players on TV but to have them come to their classrooms and be a part of their everyday routine is an amazing opportunity.”
The Chiefs were just as delighted to be there as the Children’s Center was to have them.
“Being around those kids, seeing how happy they were and excited to spend time with us, it made me light up inside,” Allen said. “I had a great time and to hear the kids saying, ‘This is the best day ever!’ just made me extremely happy to be here for them.”
The Kansas City Chiefs have made a commitment to playing an active role in our community. The Hunt family has made corporate citizenship and charitable giving a priority for the Chiefs. The visit to the Children’s Center Campus was another way for the Chiefs to give back and reach out to the children of the Kansas City community.