Monday, April 27, 2020

Trey Flowers, Langston Galloway, Detroit sports teams take over Boys and Girls Virtual Club

Detroit Lions defensive lineman Trey Flowers (90) tries to get past Chicago Bears offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr. (72) in the second quarter of their NFL game at Soldier Field in Chicago, on Sunday, November 10, 2019. (Mike Mulholland | Mulholland |

DETROIT -- If there is anything to take away from staying home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that humans need to interact with each other. With the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan shuttered as people in the state of Michigan sheltering in place, “virtual” clubs have become an alternative where children can connect with each other. On Thursday, members of all four of Detroit’s sports teams took over the virtual club along with rapper Big Sean, actor Hill Harper, other celebrities and local media personalities. Detroit Lions Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand faced off against Detroit Tigers Niko Goodrum and Travis Demeritte in a game of Celebrity Family Feud. Detroit Red Wings Madison Bowey and Brendan Perlini played against Detroit Pistons Langston Galloway and Bad Boy Rick Mahorn in a game of Shazam. The aim of the game was to name the song that 97.9 D.J. Dr. Darrius played. The virtual clubs have been in place since schools closed on March 13. The Boys and Girls Club, which serves 15,000 youth, has used it as a way to combat any anxiety or depression that the kids may be feeling in these uncertain times. The club runs five days a week and like Thursday’s event, it has a D.J. on hand to play music. With a $6 million budget, the organization President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Shawn Wilson, said that the money raised from the virtual takeover would close the $2 million gap in the budget. Usually, they would be able to raise that money from events that they would host throughout the year. But, with the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, they opted to cancel in-person fundraisers. “And we just let them dance and release energy and stress and we spotlight them and you know make them feel good about themselves and all that good stuff," Wilson said. "And then we have different guests that now they’re not always the Big Sean’s and the Ludacris.” Those guests pass along words of advice to the kids who check into the virtual club every day. They also lead dance classes or acting workshops to allow the kids to express themselves creatively. On Thursday the virtual club saw more than 300 participants tuning in to see the athletes play games. Typically, the get about 175-200 unique screens. With the extra views, the Boys and Girls club raised more than $320,000. With the money, the organization will be able to continue hosting the virtual clubs. Through running these virtual clubs, Wilson has seen a decrease in the number of kids reporting self-reporting anxiety. Helping to reduce the stress kids are facing and connecting with them socially is one of the reasons that Flowers participated.
 “Yeah is definitely important,” Flowers said. “Honestly it’s hard times right now, just as a kid. I think back to when I was a kid you know, it’d be hard for me just to kind of stay in the house, stay inspired or just you know do things online school and so I know it’s hard for them to just to kind of sit still.” Galloway shared similar thoughts on the importance of staying connected with the community. Since the NBA season has been on hold, he’s done a number of question and answer sessions, he’s shared his morning workouts live on Instagram and has connected with healthcare workers to discuss the pandemic. It’s something that he’s happy to do. Plus he relates because of how much organizations like the Boys and Girls Club impacted him. “Sports Programs & Clubs have changed my life," Galloway said. “Being able to stay off the streets and involved in things that I enjoyed, really gave me an avenue for success. To this day I have lifelong friends from the program.”

Popular Posts