Since arriving in Los Angeles just over a year ago, the Spanos family and the Chargers have made a tangible impact in the city's community.
On Tuesday, they continued their dedication by teaming up with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA). Chargers Controlling Owner and Chairman of the Board, Dean Spanos, was joined by Bolts quarterback Geno Smith and BGCMLA CEO Calvin Lyons at the Watts/Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club to announce the multi-year partnership.
"We've only been in this Los Angeles community about a year now, but, the Boys and Girls Clubs have always been very close to our family," mentioned Spanos. "It's all about the kids, the youth, and to give them an opportunity to succeed in life. Anything we can do to help create a better and safer environment for them, (we will). We're fixing the building up as best as we can. It's a small start, but it's a start. When you think you've done enough, you need to do more. This is about the kids and their future. They're our future leaders, and they're everything in the years to come."
"To partner with the Chargers gives us the ability to impact the lives of more kids," Lyons added. "Especially, in the most underserved area of Los Angeles. To be able to draw from them, opportunities through their network to also enhance this experience for kids, is important to us."
The team is providing a $400,000 capital investment to improve and enhance existing athletic fields and establish new teen centers at the Watts/Willowbrook and Challengers Clubhouses. Iconic Chargers insignia like the bolt and team's logo will be painted on the fields and showcased around the two clubs, displaying the team's devotion for making a difference forevermore. It's a legacy that dates back to when Alex Spanos became owner in the mid-'80s.
"You love the logo, you love the Chargers," Lyons continued. "You see that they're not only involved in sports, they're involved in lives and changing lives. To do it at this level at these ages makes a huge difference…. They've been doing it for years. But to come in and see the areas of greatest need, and to start there, speaks volumes to their family and the ethos of their family."
For Smith, being a part of the event was a full-circle moment for him. Growing up in Florida, he remembers when players like Andre Johnson would take time to speak to kids like Smith. On Tuesday, he became that for so many of the youth, and to do it as a part of the Chargers organization was something that meant a lot to him.
"It's a tremendous opportunity to give back to the community on behalf of the Spanos family and the Chargers to the Watts/Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club, and to see the smiles on these kids' faces," Smith said. "To know we're doing a good thing and it's for a good cause, it feels great…. I was once in their shoes. I actually did see (players) come (visit) and I said to myself this is going to be me. To have that opportunity to give back, it's really just how the world works. For it to come full circle like that, I think it's pretty special."
Today, Chargers Owner Dean Spanos announced a $400,000 donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles for turf field upgrades and teen center renovations.