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Emanuel, Verrett Help Change Lives Through Chargers Champions

Jason Verrett and Kyle Emanuel are used to vigorous workouts in the gym.

On Wednesday, their regimen also included answering math equations and scientific questions.

Both players were on hand at Gage Elementary as the school unveiled it's new "Neuronasium" courtesy of a $26,000 Chargers Champions grant.  The Neuronasium introduces the students to exercise, fitness and cognitive retention in the classroom as they learn science, language arts, math, social studies and PE lessons through physical activity.

The grant was one of seven given out last year through the Chargers Champions program, totaling $250,000 in 2015.  Overall, the Chargers have donated nearly $5.5 million through the program alone over the past 15 years.

"Schools throughout our community need our support," Chargers President A.G. Spanos said.  "The main goal of our program is to provide students in San Diego with the necessary means to live a healthy lifestyle through proper fitness and nutrition."          

Verrett and Emanuel have made a name for themselves on the field, but they also relish the opportunity to make a difference in the community.  Coming off his rookie season, Emanuel equated the rush he feels on Sundays to what he would have felt if he had the same opportunity as the students at Gage Elementary when he was their age.

"I never had any opportunity like this growing up," he said.  "I remember we had a few people come, but nothing like NFL players talking to us.  Every single time someone came, we all got excited.  So it means a lot to be able to give back.  A lot of these kids are big Chargers fans and look up to us, so anytime we can give back to them is awesome. These kids are our future, so obviously it is important to invest in our youth."

Kathy Burns is principal at Gage Elementary, and echoed Emanuel's sentiments.

"I'm sure this is something they are going to remember for the rest of their lives," she said.  "And they will remember this day when they use (the Neuronasium).Too many of our young kids don't get enough exercise, and they don't understand the importance of it.  This is engaging for them, and it shows the importance of learning while doing it. 

Burns also explained how the Chargers Champions program is changing children's lives throughout San Diego.

"What a wonderful organization the Chargers are to take care of their own and take care of their community.  That is one of the things I wanted the kids to take away.  It is your responsibility to go out and take care of your community and pay it forward like the Chargers have."

The San Diego Chargers and the Spanos family will once again be awarding grants to local schools in 2016 to support physical fitness, nutrition and athletic programs on campus.  Students and parents can help bring much-needed funds to their schools by urging principals, teachers and coaches to apply for $250,000. 

Click here to apply for a Chargers Champion grant today.  All applications must be postmarked by April 22, 2016. 

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