WASHINGTON — Dozens of kids got a holiday surprise from a bunch of Redskins
players Tuesday night.
About 50 children and teenagers from Anacostia’s Wellington Park neighborhood
who are served by the Horton’s Kids organization boarded a school bus not
knowing where they were going.
“All they knew was that there was something really good that was happening,”
Robin Berkley, the executive director of Horton’s Kids, tells WTOP.
The nonprofit provides kids with things such as healthy meals and educational
and character development programs.
Once aboard, they found out they were going to a Walmart store in Sterling,
where they took part in Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s annual “Shop
With a Jock” event.
Each child was treated to dinner from Chick-fil-A, a T-shirt and a $100
Jackson recruited some teammates who were willing to push shopping carts down
the aisles as the kids filled them, including Greg Ducre, Robert Griffin III,
Brandon Meriweather, Santana Moss and Silas Redd.
Jackson says he launched the event because he loves interacting with kids and
wants to give back.
“Hopefully their hour, hour-and-a-half, however long they spend with me here,
gives them an extra little motivation and hope to say, ‘I can go out and do
it, just like he did,'” Jackson said.
“It kind of gives me chills because I could just imagine if I was able to have
the opportunity to be a young kid and be around some NFL athletes — or not
even NFL, just somebody of celebrity status. That’s a good thing to see it in
their eyes. They’re very humble, and at the same time, they’re having fun.
Each player was teamed up with three children, and RGIII’s shopping cart
quickly filled with pink packages.
“This is a Barbie marathon, actually. I’ve got three girls, Courtney, Aalia
and Alexis. [I] went shopping with them,” Griffin tells WTOP.
“These kids don’t get this opportunity very often due to their situation,” he
added, “so we wanted to come out and show our support for them, go shopping
with them — and I don’t mind shopping in the Barbie section with these three
girls. I’ll do it anytime.”
When they were not out shopping, the players were hanging out with the kids
and signing autographs for them.
Berkley says she’s grateful to Jackson and the DeSean Jackson Foundation for
treating the kids.
“For these children to know that he’s come out to spend time with them — it
really makes them feel like they’re important, that they matter, that there’s
someone in their corner. That not only gives them a merrier Christmas; it
gives them hope.”
If you’re interested in volunteering, Berkley says Horton’s Kids could use
“We do afterschool tutoring Monday through Wednesday. We do weekend
enrichment activities — right now we have a very popular flag football
league. We need volunteers to make all this happen,” she said.
Find out more on the Horton’s Kids
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