CLEVELAND — A crowd of smiling faces waited last week, anxiously, for a night to remember, thanks to local community outreach program, The Real Black Friday (TRBF).
Each year, TRBF chooses a deserving organization helping local kids for Make a Dream CLE. This year, they chose Corner 65, a non-profit assisting African refugees as they get settled in the U.S.
“Corner 65 is super important because we are working with a group of refugees that are newcomers and aren’t always welcomed into our neighborhoods. They experience a lot of bullying and a lot of discriminations, and this is a place that they can come as a safe haven and learn about who they are, why their culture is important and also learn really important skills here in America," said Becky Trout, with Corner 65.
Make a Dream CLE is all about a night full of fun, and firsts, for these kids. The night started with a party filled with music, dancing and yummy food.
Then, 40 children boarded a bus headed for Aurora Farms. The destination? The Nike Outlet, where each child received a new pair of shoes.
“When I walked in the door today -- the love that these kids showed me, it makes it all worth it, they came up high-fiving me, hugging me, asking me to get on YouTube with them -- it was exciting!” said LaRese Purnell, director of The Real Black Friday.
After the stop at Nike, the bus rolled on to the Cavs game, a first for many of these kids.
For the Corner 65 kids, endless opportunities await.
"Today is bigger than a pair of shoes and a Cavs game -- it shows them that they have hope and that they can go out and be whatever they want to be," Purnell said. "Sometimes, when you are down and out and don't have other resources, you feel forgotten about -- and I will tell you today -- they feel they are not forgotten about. That they matter as well, their lives, their futures, their legacy matters."
To learn more about Corner65 and how you can help, click here. You can also help out by attending their upcoming fundraiser on January 20th at Play: CLE. A ticket helps these kids get a better education, better clothing, better food to eat, and more chances to better their lives here in Cleveland.