New York Jets players unveiled an outdoor PLAY 60 multi-purpose game court and played flag football with 30 children from Smalley School as part of the NFL's 18th annual Hometown Huddle on Tuesday, an NFL-wide day of service with United Ways across the nation.
In partnership with United Way of Northern New Jersey, the New York Jets, NRG and NFL Foundation have contributed $75,000 to install similar courts at four schools for elementary and middle school students within the K-12 Bound Brook School District. In addition, Hollister Construction Services donated manpower to help install the courts. The specialized surfaces are safer alternatives to asphalt and are designed to be used for multiple sports.
Bound Brook was chosen this year because United Way is working with the school district on a variety of measures to improve the culture and climate at all its schools. As part of that work, all students will learn positive coping skills for dealing with stress and anxiety. This project supports that effort by providing students with opportunities to develop an appreciation for the lifelong benefits of exercise.
"Not only are these courts great for giving students a positive outlet for physical activity during the school day, but we expect children will ask their parents to bring them back after school and on weekends, said United Way of Northern New Jersey CEO John Franklin. "We believe these courts can play a big role in strengthening the sense of community within the district."
Jets Rookies Spend Day in Bound Brook, NJ Donating $75,000 for a Fitness Zone as Part of the Annual NFL Hometown Huddle Event
Over a dozen Jets players came out to help the students from Smalley get the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise by playing flag football together. The Jets players who participated included Robby Anderson, Juston Burris, Lachlan Edwards, Christian Hackenberg, Jordan Jenkins, Bryson Keeton, Jalin Marshall, Doug Middleton, Victor Ochi, Charone Peake, Troymaine Pope, Brandon Shell and Brandon Wilds.
"Partnering with United Way, NRG and Bound Brook to create the PLAY 60 multi-purpose game courts is very important to us because it provides opportunities for children to get at least 60 minutes of activity every day," said Jets Community Relations Director Jesse Linder. "The annual Hometown Huddle is an event we look forward to every year. Our players are here today to contribute their time and effort for the good of the community and to set examples for children to be physically active."
"Ensuring children grow up with healthy habits is critically important to the well-being of our communities, which is why the Play 60 program is so vital," said NRG Retail East general manager, Mike Starck. "The New York Jets' commitment to the communities NRG serves is one of the reasons why NRG is so proud to partner with them every year."
"I want to thank the Jets, NRG, United Way and Hollister for making these incredible recreation facilities available not only to our students and staff, but the entire community," said Bound Brook Superintendent Daniel Gallagher. "Our residents have been very supportive of the schools and it's wonderful that we can get these added enhancements which can extend the benefits to the wider community."
The NFL and the Jets are committed to promoting youth health and fitness through the NFL's PLAY 60 program. Throughout the year, players and representatives from the New York Jets make appearances at schools and community events to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to reverse the trend of childhood obesity.
Since 1999, the NFL has partnered with United Way for a league-wide day of service designed to bring awareness to the issue of youth health and fitness. During Hometown Huddle, NFL players, coaches and leadership participate in a variety of youth fitness projects in different NFL cities across the country on the same day — building fitness zones, hosting youth football clinics, rebuilding neighborhood playgrounds and upgrading fitness facilities.