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CMHA, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio take over Cleveland youth football team; hope to help curb violence and gang activites

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Municipal Housing Authority will run the Cleveland Muny League's Renegades and offer 'gang-intervention' programs
Credit: Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Agency (CMHA) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio (BGCNEO) are hoping that hits, blocks and tackles on the football field can help reduce violence on the city’s streets.

The organizations are teaming up to take over operations of the Renegades, a team in the Cleveland Muny League football and cheerleading program, with the stated goal of getting more kids involved in the league and exposed to “gang-intervention programming,” BGCNEO announced in a press release Friday.

According to the release, over 100 area youth are expected to participate in the Renegades program across multiple divisions and sports. The city-funded Muny League offers both tackle and flag football, as well as its cheerleading program, to kids ages 5-14.

“These types of activities are great for our youth,” said Ward 5 Councilman and BGCNEO Sports and Recreation director Robert Starr, an alum of the Renegades program who is credited with the idea for the new initiative. “It teaches them sportsmanship and encourages physical fitness. We need to have these kinds of programs, and more of them, to give our youth healthy safe activities, especially during the summer.”

As part of the agreement, CMHA will cover background checks, equipment storage space and security, while BGCNEO will provide Boys & Girls Club memberships and transportation as well as oversee the selection of volunteers and coaches for the program. The organization is currently accepting applications for a Renegades program coordinator at its Broadway Ave. location until June 14.

According to BGCNEO, both organizations will seek funding for their planned gang-intervention and violence prevention programming.

CMHA chief executive officer Jeffery K. Patterson said youth will learn valuable life skills through structured sports activities.

“It is important for the youth in our community to have opportunities for growth and development that allow them the ability to learn the importance of commitment and teamwork,” said Patterson. “Programs such as the City’s Muny League Football provides those kinds of opportunities, and we appreciate the Boys & Girls Club and the City Cleveland’s support for this program.”

Conditioning sessions for the upcoming season will begin at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 13 at Dwayne Browder Field across the street from East Tech High School. Interested participants are invited to attend practices held at Browder Field, 5077 Outhwaite Ave., weekdays from 5-7 p.m.

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