It takes teamwork to raise a child.
The Eagle Creek Salvation Army plays a key role in its community.
“Right across the street, there are a bunch of apartments and then we have some single family houses on the other side of the street. All of those people are the blue collar working families from our community,” said Major Bob Webster, Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army for Indiana. “So when they know that their kids have a place to go after school to be safe, it’s a real benefit to the neighborhood, as well as to the Salvation Army and to our whole community.”
It’s not just a place kids go to be safe – it’s also a place they go to be active.
“This is a year-round facility,” said Webster. “They’re here after school, we have camps, we have leagues, we have events, they play futsal here, basketball, volleyball, there’s an after school program, there’s activity going here all the time.”
On Monday, the Colts teamed up with their partners, the United Way of Central Indiana and Indiana Wesleyan University, to unveil a new Colts-themed fitness room at the facility as part of their Hometown Huddle.
It’s the 10th year the Colts have teamed up to renovate a fitness room in the Indianapolis community and part of the funding came from the NFL Foundation. The facility will help advance the NFL’s Play 60 initiative, which encourages kids to get at least 60 minutes of activity every day.
“Right now, we have around 150 kids currently registered in our programs. And this is just going to enhance what we are doing already by not just teaching kids fundamentals, but also teaching them what fitness means, what wholeness means, and that’s what this space is going to be all about,” said Tony Bowers, Captain of the Eagle Creek Corp.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the kids got to try out all the new stuff in their new space – and Colts players and cheerleaders were there to help them do it.
“To see these kids be able to come out and have a safe place they can come to and enjoy where they have mentors – people to come and love on them after school, to have a resource in their own backyard is awesome,” said safety Matthias Farley.
Fresh off their victory over the Buffalo Bills the day before, the players were still feeling the effects of game day. But that wasn’t enough to keep them away – or to keep them from getting hands-on with the kids.
“That’s part of the job, to use our platform to reach out to the community, to the people, to show them that we still care,” said cornerback Pierre Desir. “Even the day after a game, we’re still going to be out supporting the community – whatever efforts we can do.”
On Monday, the Indianapolis Colts, United Way of Central Indiana and Indiana Wesleyan University unveiled a new Colts-themed fitness room at the Eagle Creek Salvation Army, which will provide local youth a fun and safe place to be active year-round.
“It’s part of your DNA,” said cornerback Kenny Moore. “It’s just about who you are. Community service is about volunteer work. We’re building this platform with the best of us and we’re using it to brighten others’ day. We’re not just here to play football. We want to brighten the souls of this community too.”
And that’s what they did.
“I was playing air hockey at one point and we were lifting weights, now we’re doing basketball, playing with pom-poms – all the things,” said Colts cheerleader, Vanessa. “I love to come to these and see the lives that we are changing and impacting. It means so much more than just seeing a photo of it. Seeing the kids that get to come here and get to use this facility means a lot.”
“It’s crazy in an hour how many connections you make with the little kids. And they hug you one last time goodbye and you’re so sad,” said Hannah. “We call this our superhero cape all the time and the moment we take this off, maybe we don’t mean anything to them. But when we have this uniform on, it means everything.”
On Monday, a community came together for its kids.
“We’re here to support you,” said Brandon Cobb, Corporate Engagement Manager of the United Way of Central Indiana. “You’re the future, so whatever you want to be, go and be it. And know that we’re going to be here supporting you along the way.”
And what they left behind will remind them of that for years to come.