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Cavs help Boys & Girls Clubs open center at FDR (video)

The Cleveland Cavaliers came up big Wednesday, bringing in players J.R. Smith and Kendrick Perkins, mascot Sir C.C. and most of the front office for the opening of a “Learn and Play Center” at the Boys & Girls Club site in Franklin D. Roosevelt School. 

Smith and Perkins, however, appeared to be getting schooled by the FDR kids in a few spirited games of the board game “Pop-o-matic Trouble.” A seemingly an endless wave of students came at them for games, photos and autographs during the opening of the new space, which was refurbished by the Cavs and other partners.
“Oh, man, is that even in the rules?” Perkins complained aloud when he lost a round, though he didn't appear to get much sympathy from the smiling students that the 6-foot-10 center towered over across the table.  
On the other side of the room, Smith was playfully trash-talking to a young boy: “I’m gonna lose? Are you saying, I’m going to lose? No way, man!”
The players hung out with the kids for about an hour, mugging for photos and laughing. Smith even posted a group selfie on his Twitter account. 

The FDR renovation was the 14th "Learn and Play" that the Cavaliers have sponsored in two years, Cavs CEO Len Komoroski said. He called it “groundbreaking” because of its permanence in the school.
There are 10 other  Boys & Girls Club sites in Northeast Ohio, but the CMSD center is the only one where specific rooms in the school are permanently dedicated to the club and its activities, officials said.
The Cavaliers paid to renovate and furnish two rooms at FDR with computers, iPads, televisions, games and study materials. More than 100 students and family members toured the club site on Wednesday. Smith and Perkins were joined by mascot Sir C.C. and team officials at a ribbon cutting Wednesday afternoon. (See the video at bottom)
“This is a privilege and honor for us to make things like this happen,” Komoroski said. “We understand how important it is to have a dedicated space in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

He also thanked other partners Wayside Furniture, Sherwin Williams and Fathead, a company owned by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert that makes sports decals. The team also posted a photo gallery of the event on its website.

Cavs General Manager David Griffin said the team was striving to be a family and shared the values of CMSD and the Boys and Girls Clubs.

“The Cavs invest in family, wellness and education,” he said. “On the court, we want to have the cohesiveness of a family, and we know how important this site will be for giving families here a space of their own.”

Tiffany Bradley, who is an educational service instructor for the club at FDR and also has a third-grader in the program, said the new space will make a great program even greater.

“This is already such a positive thing for the children of our community, of our school,” she said. “We have a good thing going here now, and with all of this, it will be even better.”
The Boys & Girls Club at FDR offers tutoring, homework help, enrichment and recreation form 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Club Director Will Irby estimated at the start of the school year that 60 percent of the school’s 417 students were members and that daily participation averaged 130 to 145. The Cleveland Foodbank supplies a late afternoon meal, so students can get three meals a day at school.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland has 11 sites in the Cleveland area, serving more than 7,400 kids each year and more than 700 each day, according to its website. Youth ages 6-18 can join the clubs for $10 a year.

“What’s happened since we’ve been here at Franklin D. Roosevelt is that we see 125 to 140 kids – and they are here every day,” said Ron Soeder, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. “We know that if we get frequent attendance, we have a huge impact on our children’s lives.

“This model helps us to do that, and this school could not be a better place for doing it.”
The FDR club was dedicated in 2013 by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.   Then, earlier this school year, the United Way of Greater Cleveland kicked off its annual campaign at FDR. The Boys & Girls Club serves as the “lead agency” at the school, helping to organize community “wraparound” services for students and families in an initiative underwritten by the District, United Way and donors.
Allen Smith, director of operations for the Cleveland clubs, said the partnership with CMSD has continued to grow with the addition of a full-service club this year at Walton School. The clubs also run reading programs at Charles Eliot and Bolton School and act as the wraparound site coordinator at Alfred E. Benesch School.
"But FDR is really a great situation now because not only do we have a great space for after-school and off-hours activities, but it is there for the school to use during the day," he said. "Classroom teachers could even use it to reward their students for good work."
He said the dedication of space in a school "comes as a result of us being in the schools a number of years now and proving our worth."

The Cleveland Cavaliers helped dedicate a newly refurbished Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland center at CMSD's Franklin D. Roosevelt School. Read the full story and see a photo slideshow on the CMSD News Bureau site:

Posted by Cleveland Metropolitan School District on Thursday, April 2, 2015