CFLs, attorneys create scholarship project

August 25, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

The Baltimore CFLs and The Alliance of Black Women Attorneys are creating the CFL Scholarship Foundation to assist middle school students in the inner city.

On Sept. 19, the nonprofit organization will launch a series of pep rallies to introduce players from the CFLs and attorneys from the ABWA as academic coaches for 25 middle schools in Baltimore.

Entitled "Coaches for Learning/Playing for Life," the project was conceived by Maureen O'Sullivan-Matthews, wife of Baltimore coach Don Matthews, and Lisa A. Gladden, president of the ABWA.

Matthews will serve as celebrity spokesman and fund-raiser for the program.

"Any charity is great," Matthews said yesterday. "But a charity with children is special."

The project has the endorsement of Dr. Walter G. Amprey, superintendent of Baltimore city public schools.

"Dr. Amprey welcomes the opportunity for students to get involved with players and coaches," said Jacquelyn Hardy, special assistant to the superintendent.

"Young people today tend to be star-struck. Sports figures are very appealing to them. We're hoping to have a strong relationship that may extend beyond the classroom."

Between Sept. 19 and 30, the organization will hold introductory rallies at each of the 25 middle schools in the city. On Oct. 1, it will invite members of the community to sign on as academic coaches who work with the players and attorneys to closely monitor students' progress.

There also will be essay and rap contests for the students, and the winners will be honored at halftime of the CFLs' Oct. 22 game against the British Columbia Lions at Memorial Stadium.

The emphasis of the academic coaching will be on attitude, achievement and attendance, O'Sullivan-Matthews said.

"We want the players to touch the community through the school," she said. "We'd like to see this develop into a league charity, and Baltimore can be the prototype for the CFL."

The scholarship foundation will be established as a separate non-profit corporation. The organization is still working on scholarship details, and is seeking a corporate sponsor for the program. Matthews said money he receives for off-season speaking engagements will go toward funding the project. There also will be a fashion show fund-raiser on Nov. 2 with the CFLs' coaches, players and wives participating.

The organization will conduct its pilot project in November, putting academic coaches into one school. O'Sullivan-Matthews said the plan calls for full implementation of the project in January 1995.

Matthews was fund-raiser for various charities during his coaching career in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Regina, Saskatchewan. The last two years in Saskatchewan, he helped fund a hot lunch program for kids. He said the program, called Chili for Children, grew from feeding 75 kids three times a day over nine months to feeding 170 kids three times a day year-round.

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