Clemson’s football team spent the day hosting area children, giving away more than 200 pairs of shoes
Darien Rencher was a little set back on Monday when a little girl thanked him for the pair of shoes he gave her.
“She told me she never had a pair of Nikes before,” the Clemson running back said. “You don’t think about stuff like that. It was awesome to see how giving just a little bit can go a long way.”
Rencher and the rest of his Clemson teammates spent the morning and the early afternoon hosting more than 200 hundred children from area elementary schools the at Allen Reeves Football Complex in Clemson.
The event, “PAW Journey: Kicks, Cleats and Kids,” was a part of Dabo’s All In Team Foundation, PAW Journey and the Call Me Mister programs. Besides getting a tour of Clemson’s brand new $55 million football facility, local children got the opportunity to meet, socialize and play games such as tag football, basketball and putt-putt with the Clemson football team.
At the end of the day, every child received a brand new pair of shoes, which was funded by Dabo’s All In Team Foundation.
“One of the things I want our players to take from this program, when they leave here, I want them to experience giving in some form or fashion,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “Just giving to others and not wanting anything in return … just the joy that comes with giving to somebody else.
“For them to have the opportunity today to bless these kids and to put a smile on their face means a lot. These kids don’t care if they are Christian Wilkins or Drew Costa. No offense to Costa, but he is the last man in, right? You know? They are just thankful they get to be a part of this, but for us, this is kind of what we do.”
The event was a part of Clemson’s Community Service project which is designed to motivate and inspire players to better understand the link between strong personal character, commitment to academic success and positive life outcomes.
“This is a part of our program … to serve the community and to serve others, and learning the value that comes with that and just the pure joy that comes with impacting somebody’s life in a positive way,” Swinney said. “It is not always through your finances. It can be through your time and just your talents.
“That is what this day is about and that is one of the things we talk about all the time. We want them to take the stuff that they get here and take it with them. Take it to their new locker room, take it into their new communities, take into their churches, take into their offices and go out and dominate in the world.”
And that is what former players like Deshaun Watson, Dwayne Allen and Bradley Pinion have now done with their platforms in the NFL. Allen was nominated for the Walter Peyton Man of The Year Award in 2016 because of what he has given back to the communities, while Pinion is a 2017 nominee.
Watson gave up his first game check as a Houston Texan to help three families who worked for the Texans’ organization and lost everything when Hurricane Harvey blew threw and flooded the Houston area earlier this year.
“I think that is the epitome of what we do,” Rencher said. “You don’t get all of this stuff and don’t give back at all. I think with Coach Swinney, and his message to our program is that to get a lot, you have to give a lot. I think that is what we do here.”
Even if it is something as simple as giving a little girl a new pair of shoes.
“It is just a lot of good quality time in a day where these kids will remember forever,” Swinney said. “Our big kids will remember this day as well.”
— Photo Credit: Lauren Petracca/The Greenville News via USA TODAY NETWORK