The Brick City Lions Peewee and Jr. Midget level football teams will travel to Orlando, Florida to complete at the Pop Warner National Championship. Both teams earned invitations after qualifying victories on November 27th at the New Jersey Eastern Regional Pop Warner Championship.
In less than a week, more than 54 members of the Newark community donated to the Brick City Lions and it’s affiliated the Newark Youth Athletic Foundation raising over $30,000. Anchoring the financial support was Newark’s Parent Coalition For Excellent Education (PC2E), which provided a significant donation to ensure all travel expenses, including food, hotel and air fair, were covered for each student.
To address additional expenses, fundraising efforts continue. Those who want to donate can visit GoFundMe to support the effort.
The Brick City Lions Peewee and Jr. Midget level football teams will travel to Orlando, Florida to complete at the Pop Warner National Championship.
“We are thrilled both our teams will now have the opportunity to compete on a national stage,” Coach Nasir Gaines said. “Every young man on this team has dedicated themselves not only to football, but to values such as teamwork, togetherness and working for a greater good. Thanks to PC2E and the Newark community, we are showing these future leaders that hard work and dedication is valued and appreciated in our city. I am so proud of our two teams, the great work of our staff, and so thankful for PC2E’s support.”
PC2E Executive Director Muhammed Akil said PC2E was proud to help the children travel and represent their community.
“PC2E congratulates the efforts of Brick City Lions. Whether on the sports field or the classroom, the most we can ask of our children is that they do their best," Akil said. "Thanks to the collective efforts of our community, we are now in a position to ask these two teams to do exactly that. I know we speak for the whole city and the many who also contributed their support in sharing our pride for these young men."
The Newark Youth Athletic Foundation/Brick City Lions was founded in 2012 with the belief that communities can be transformed and elevated through the love of sports. The founders believed Newark youth held enormous potential that could be realized if they were empowered with an outlet for self-expression.
Based on this premise, Brick City Lions was conceived with the mission of providing a catalyst for all children to recognize their potential, gain confidence, acquire a love for athletics all while understanding the importance of education as they mature into becoming great student athletes.
Brick City Lions focuses on children’s health and wellness, providing physical fitness and education services for youth ages 5-14 through football and cheerleading. Statistics show that this is also the age group in which urban youth are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to their national counterparts.
The program provides children with a a foundation for healthy eating and exercise regimens. The overall goal is to emphasize the importance of education and provide an opportunity for young athletes to compete nationally and eventually compete on a college level.
The program has been proven to be successful, as many of the athletes from the organization are heavily recruited from top high schools in New Jersey and continue on to play football and/or cheer on the college level.