In honor of February being Black History Month, the Chiefs Community Caring Team partnered with City Year to host students from Central Middle School at Arrowhead Stadium Wednesday morning.
NedRa Bonds, who has a piece in the Arrowhead Art Collection, started the day by showing the students her piece at the stadium.
"I do a visual literacy kind of art,” she said. “I'm a quilter, but you can look at my pieces and you can determine what it is that you see in them. One of the things that's part of my work is that I like to involve people in the process. My piece is ‘Connecting Threads,’ and I have the central figure holding a spool of thread, with the thread hanging off the piece.”
After the viewing, Bonds walked the students over to another part of the stadium for a Black History Month education seminar.
“They asked me [to come] because I have a teaching background,” Bonds, who has worked with the Chiefs on a similar event last year, said. “I noticed last year that they were kind of disconnected from what was going on, so I wanted to make sure that they understood that there are things that you need to do for life, and it's not just about playing basketball or football.
“It's not just about singing or the things that they think they want to do at the age that they are—these are middle schoolers. It's about preparation.”
To help get that message across, Bonds welcomed former Chiefs defensive end Pellom McDaniels to speak to the students via Skype.
“I met Pellom when he was giving away art supplies for kids in Kansas City, Kansas, at a spring shopping center. Since then, we have developed a relationship.”
Since finishing up his football career, McDaniels earned both a Master of Arts degree and PhD in American Studies at Emory University.
Today, he is currently the faculty curator of African American Collections, as well as an assistant professor of African American Studies at Emory.
“I wanted them to be able to talk to somebody who's gone through that journey, and help them to decide that there are many, many things. You never know where you're going to end up. You just never know, so preparation is the key to getting your life the way that you want it to be. That's what this is about."
When the question-and-answer session with McDaniels was over, Bonds led the students in a creative activity—allowing them to choose whether to sketch or color.
City Year and the Kansas City Chiefs have partnered to help students in the Kansas City area.
In August 2015, City Year Kansas City launched its pilot program with 16 AmeriCorps members serving as full-time tutors and mentors in two Kansas City public schools. City Year AmeriCorps members serve full-time in the schools providing students with tutoring, in-class support and after-school programming. City Year works to bridge the gap in high-poverty communities between the support that students actually need and what their schools are designed and resourced to provide. In doing so, the organization helps to increase graduation rates acr