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Bolts Busy Teaching Kids a Healthy Lifestyle
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Nearly 100 children sat in an open field at Montgomery-Waller Community Park in awe Wednesday afternoon.
During the season they watch King Dunlap shut down elite NFL defenders, Donald Butler deliver bone-rattling hits and Nick Novak kick in hostile conditions in pressures situations. Yet here they were face to face with their heroes, who took part in a special NFL Play 60 event.
The Bolts presented Montgomery-Waller Community students with a $7,500 NFL PLAY 60 grant on behalf of the Chargers, NFL and NFL Network. After answering questions on a wide array of topics, Dunlap, Butler and Novak participated in a PLAY 60 camp, interacting one-one-one with the children to promote a healthy life style.
“This is fantastic,” said District Manager of Parks and Recreation Manuel Gonzales. “These kids don’t have the resources to go to a game at the stadium, but they love the Chargers. They watch them on TV and really admire them. The most important thing for us is that we really want to encourage them to eat smart and play hard. For them to see these guys who really understand the importance of exercise, nutrition and the importance of education is a huge impact for the kids. I see them running around and giving the kids high fives, and they will see these same Chargers on TV in a couple of months. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m really happy for them.”
One of those kids in attendance included six-year old Aaron, who couldn’t stop smiling while interacting with his heroes.
“I am a fan and this is very cool,” he said. “I come to play whenever I can, and this is very fun. We do a lot of stretching and games. I like the jump rope as my favorite. I want to say thank you to the Chargers.”
Events like Wednesday’s clearly mean a lot to the San Diego Community. However, it also means the world to the Chargers.
“This is just so much fun,” said the 6-9, 330-pound Dunlap. “The kids get caught up in my size, but we have a lot of fun. Having kids of my own, I take advantage of the opportunity anytime I can to have fun and give back like this.”
Those same sentiments were echoed by his other teammates, who also stressed the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle.
“Giving back means everything to us,” Novak said. “Donald and King came down here, and we spoke to the kids about how important it is to be healthy and eat right. We told them how important fitness is, especially to us as professional athletes. We let them know that you can’t always go home after school and eat processed foods and drink soda. We want them to start out creating good habits as a kid for when they get older.”
“This has been great,” Butler added. “The kids run around and have fun. They’re getting outside and away from the video game, learning about fitness. And they are having fun with us, which is something I think they will never forget. This means the world to see the smiles on those kids’ faces. It makes what I do easy.”
Wednesday’s event came on the heels of another on Tuesday in which the Bolts gave back. The Chargers were at Del Rio Elementary on Tuesday to award the school a $15,000 grant for physical fitness equipment from the Chargers Champions Program. The team celebrated by running another Play 60 camp, with members of the Charger Girls and Oceanside Police Department on hand as volunteers.
The Chargers Champions program was created to assist San Diego County schools with meeting some of the basic physical fitness, nutrition and athletic needs of their students. The program annually provides selected schools with grants of up to $75,000 for high schools; up to $40,000 for middle schools and up to $30,000for elementary schools.