PATERSON, NJ- For many of the 100 Paterson Boys and Girls Club kids that participated in the UNICEF KID Power event on Tuesday the very special guests seemed larger than life. In the case of seven foot, 383 pound, Big Show, the description is aptly placed.
And while several of the children were dressed in WWE T-shirts, held grip of figurines depicting their favorite performers, or spoke enthusiastically about favorite moves in the ring, the four World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstars were in Paterson to talk about more than their feats in the squared circle.
Dividing into groups the athletes, including Big Show, as well as Mark Henry, Dana Warrior, and Ember Moon, took turns speaking to the children about the challenges they’ve faced in their lives and careers, and how they’ve overcome them to find success and happiness.
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For Dana Warrior it was losing her husband unexpectedly, but clinging to the love of her children to continue to push forward. While small in stature compared to her wrestling colleague, Dana showed that when it comes to children her heart is indeed her biggest muscle. The former teacher moved effortlessly around the classroom where children were creating their own “superhero” stories, a chance to share their own experiences, good and bad, giving individual attention to each one.
“Every experience we come across prepares us for something else,” Dana said to TAPinto Paterson when asked what her message to children was.
Offering that education is her “number one priority,” and something she has focused on intently with her own two daughters, Dana went on to say that she hopes to “parlay and expand” her time with the WWE to continue to help others like the children she clearly enjoyed interacting with in Paterson.
To be sure the day’s events, sponsored by UNICEF, the United Nations aligned organization whose global team “fight for the rights of every child seeking safe shelter, nutrition, protection from disaster and conflicts, and equality,” carried a message and mission that goes well beyond wrestling.
Though the distribution of bluetooth enabled wristbands each child will now have the chance to participate in the UNICEF Kid Power project, allowing them to turn their daily physical activity into the ability to save lives and make a difference to impoverished families around the world in a “real and measurable way.”
According to UNICEF’s Jeannette Duffy, director of the program, their aim is to “democratize the ability to give back,” and show children that no matter what their own backgrounds are they can also help others in need.
The program, which has already registered over 200,000 children in 49 states, allows the children to “unlock” giving by turning their steps into the distribution of nutritious meal packets, also known as Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) which an important tool in the battle against severe malnutrition in the world’s most impoverished nations.
Wendy McGuire, Deputy Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic, was excited that the program would be launching locally. “Our kids are getting the chance to meet these big personalities, to hear of their visions for brighter futures.”
When asked about the charitable component McGuire shared her enthusiasm that as the first club in the nation to launch the program the children are pioneers in an opportunity to “positively impact the world around them.”
With one last chance to share his passion for giving back while also encouraging the children to seek their own paths in life, instead of being influenced by others, Mark Henry used his well known catch phrase “That’s what I do.” Delivering those words, with a hint of encouragement that the students gathered in front of him, some with mouths still gaped, could use his words as their own to provide assistance in home, school, and their community.