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Redskins Host Back To School Backpack Giveaway

Dumfries Elementary School principal Marlene Coleman was overcome with emotion on Tuesday, when several Washington Redskins players were at the school for the Play 60/Read 20 Back To School Backpack Giveaway hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation.

"Something like this never happens at a small school like Dumfries," she admitted. "These are people that these students look up to. Having them come down and read to the students and talk about physical fitness with the kids, it's just so important."

In total, eight different players spent the morning with the students. From the offense were running back Alfred Morris, fullback Darrel Young, tight end Niles Paul and guard Shawn Lauvao. Special teamers Nick Sundberg, Kai Forbath and Tress Way were also in attendance, as was linebacker Keenan Robinson.

There were three different stations in which students grades 3 through 5 went through with the players.

The first was in the library where students received free backpacks and school supplies purchased by the WRCF. The second was a reading station, while the third was in the gym with Nike trainer Deanna Jefferson, where students participated in joint exercises, dancing and Zumba.

Before helping giveaway backpacks with Lauvao, Sundberg explained the importance of focusing on studies and valuing what the teacher are explaining.

"It all starts here at this level," Sundberg told the students. "This is where you gain the tools to be successful. Take it all in. Trust all these people that were put in place around you, because they all know what they're talking about.

"I know you hear that 'This is going to help you later in life' a lot, but they're serious. Everything they say is very important and it all holds true."  

Paul, who grew up in Nebraska, said he never had the opportunity to participate in activities with a professional athlete, but that he enjoys spending time with kids while they're in school growing.

"I see how grateful these kids are and how happy they are just to have us here," he said. "It's always easy just to take a break from reality and come out here with the kids and it kind of takes you back to when you were in school, and hopefully it is an unforgettable memory they will have."

Way, however, did get to meet some professional athletes while in school, and is still impacted by the experience to this day.

"I remember being in elementary school and every Friday they would send guys to play with us at recess or to come read or to hang out and sign autographs," he said. "I have napkins signed by them and still have them to this day up in my closet back home.

"It's really cool to be able to do this it in a spot like this for a professional program, and to hang out with the kids."

Lauvao said he enjoyed being able to make an impact on impressionable young students.

"Days like to today always put what we do into perspective," he said. "Unless you go into the community, you really don't know how much of an impact you have on boys and girls like this. ... I'm always happy to serve."

When his group entered the gym for the physical activities portion of the event, Morris got right in the middle of the room and showed the students his dance moves.

After breaking into a sweat as he tried to keep up with everyone around him, Morris said he hopes that the few minutes of dancing with have a lasting effect.

"It's very important to pour back into kids' lives and change their lives," he said. "Just to have the opportunity to do that and to see the glow on their faces…I know they'll remember it for a lifetime."   




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