Thursday, November 5, 2009
Gainesville State School vs. Grapevine Faith football game collects socks and gloves for juvenile inmates
Grapevine Faith’s fans participated in a similar outreach to the Gainesville team in 2008. The game drew national media coverage and has led to the development of a movie detailing the story.
GRAPEVINE When Grapevine Faith Christian School hosts Gainesville State School in the 2nd annual OneHeart Bowl on Friday, the focus will be on hands and feet. As part of admission to this year’s football game at Faith Christian, fans are encouraged to bring ankle socks and gloves for Gainesville students.
Gainesville State School is a maximum-security detention facility, which houses some of the most violent male teen offenders in the state. The young men who are inmates at Gainesville are rewarded with participation on the football team if they are progressing in all areas of the facility’s rehabilitation program.
The “Hands and Feet” outreach will be the highlight of events surrounding the game. As part of the outreach, fans will have the opportunity to participate in a spirit line for the Gainesville team, and can sit in the bleachers on the Gainesville side and cheer for the Gainesville players by name.
Grapevine Faith’s fans participated in a similar outreach to the Gainesville team in 2008, an expression of compassion that drew national media coverage and has led to the development of a major motion picture detailing the story.
Grapevine Faith’s head coach, Kris Hogan, initiated the outreach last year when he sent an email to his school’s families, students, and staff, asking that they reach out to the Gainesville team members and demonstrate unconditional love. His idea included the spirit line and cheering for the opposition.
“When I thought about how we could impact them, I thought about what would give them the most hope,” Hogan explains. “That’s when I had the idea … My goal continues to be sending a special message to these boys … I want to let them know and feel they are just as valuable as any other person on Earth.”
Last year’s game, won by Grapevine Faith 33-14, had an impact beyond the playing field. During the past 12 months, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Troy Aikman, and several other Dallas Cowboys players have recognized Coach Hogan. He was also a guest of the NFL and USA Football at Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa. Coach Hogan has received numerous national honors. Several sports teams from around the nation have followed Grapevine Faith’s example and conducted similar outreaches to opposing teams comprised of incarcerated, at-risk, underserved, or disabled youth.
Members of the Grapevine Faith community continued to reach out to the inmates at Gainesville. Several of them serve as mentors to boys at Gainesville, visiting them on a regular basis. In addition, the Heart of a Champion character program, a curriculum developed by a non-profit organization run by Grapevine Faith parents, has been deployed since last spring. As of this month, every participant in that program has progressed to the point of being sent home or being advanced to a halfway house. Other efforts to impact the youth at Gainesville continue with long-term transition programs in development.
With the Gainesville boys lacking ankle socks and gloves, all donations of these items will be provided to inmates at the facility. Socks and gloves will be accepted by Grapevine Faith volunteers at the entrance gate to the stadium. Socks and gloves can also be dropped at Grapevine Faith prior to the game during school hours.
The movie on last year’s game, One Heart, is in pre-production and is scheduled for release in fall 2010. The film is being produced be local production company, Eterne Films, with Steve Riach as the producer. The film’s screenwriter is native Texan write/actor Lane Garrison. Information on One Heart can be found at www.oneheartmovie.com.
Tickets for the game are now available online at www.grapevinefaith.com. The spirit line and other pre-game events will begin at 7 p.m., with kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
Source: OneHeart Bowl
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