It's the little things in life that sometimes have the biggest impact on us—and Browns safety John Johnson III hopes that's the case for a group of Maple Heights third graders who he spent an afternoon with to encourage them to stay in school.
Johnson made a visit to John F. Kennedy Elementary School Tuesday afternoon, celebrating with a group of third-graders who showed improved attendance in the fall months.
During his visit, Johnson played Holiday Bingo with the kids, colored with them and signed autographs before handing out a Browns-themed book bag with hats, water bottles, colored pencils and other Browns gear inside to each child.
While some students may struggle for various reasons to get to school, or to have a desire to be in school, Johnson's visit to the school served as both a reminder for how important school is, and as a reward for the children having good attendance.
"I just wanted to relay the message that it starts here," Johnson said. "It starts with that mindset that I'm going to come to school to get better. Something so small can have a big impact."
That impact was instantly seen by the students being rewarded, from their excitement over the gifts they were receiving to their comments about Johnson's visit being "the best day of my life," as one child shouted in excitement and others agreed.
Johnson's visit was part of the Browns' "10 Days of Giving" initiative to make "meaningful contributions to deserving organizations or individuals." It was also part of the Browns' First and Ten volunteering movement that aims to tackle chronic absenteeism in Ohio through the Stay in the Game! Keep Learning, Every Day Network.
In addition to Johnson's visit, Donna Manwaring, Cleveland Director of Operations for Arby's Foundation, presented the Browns' foundations with a $100,000 grant from the Arby's Foundation to help combat chronic absenteeism.
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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