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Succop and Gafford: Just Kickin' It!

Posted Oct 3, 2012

Chiefs Community Caring Team and Specialists visit the Children’s Place

A classroom full of preschool aged children sat in a circle in anticipation of some very special guests. Their faces lit up and their attention was fixed as their instructor spoke about Chiefs players, Specialists Ryan Succop and Thomas Gafford and the activities that were planned for the day. The children’s delight wasn’t from the emblem on the jerseys, and they were unfazed by the NFL shield. Instead, these children were ecstatic that these two men were there to spend time with them and only them. They had a whole afternoon for arts and crafts, running around, and playing games with these two regular guys that stood in the front of their classroom.

As they do every Tuesday, the Chiefs Community Caring Team was out and about. This first Tuesday of October found the Chiefs players and staff members visiting the Children’s Place in Kansas City; a non-profit agency that supports young survivors of abuse, neglect and other trauma.

“We serve children in our community under the age of eight who have come out of homes where they have been abused either physically or sexually, or neglected either by a biological parent or other adult care giver,” Roxane Hill, Vice President of Development, explained.

“A lot of the times, the kids that we have here haven’t had opportunity to interact one-in-one with an adult or have a lot of outside fun activities so it’s been nice to have that change of pace for them today,” Hill said.

Succop and Gafford spent time in the children’s classrooms drawing pictures, cutting shapes, and playing with Play-Doh. They also led Play60 activities on the playground.

“We did some Play60 drills because it’s so important for these kids to be healthy and stay active so we’re just out here playing with them,” Gafford said.

As the kids jumped rope, learned football drills, and played “Succop Says”, the KC version of “Simon Says”, they were thrilled to have oversized playmates.

“To see these kids, they’re still so joyful even in the place they are. I think it means a ton to these kids for us to come and be able to bless them a little bit,” Gafford said.

Chuck Castellano, Chiefs Community Relations Manager, has been a part of these events before but this visit included the curriculum presented by the NFL called, Play60.

“We’ve partnered with the Children’s Place for other outreach visits but this is the first time that in addition to interacting with the kids in the classroom, we get to come out and reinforce the ideas of Play60 in terms of eating right, staying fit and being active. We were able to bring some activity stations out here for them and made sure they had a blast.”

Succop and Gafford helped make this day special, not just by bringing activities but encouragement, hope and joy to these children’s lives, something the Chiefs have prided themselves on doing and will certainly do in the future.

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