YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Former Ohio State University football standout Maurice Clarrett has led a tumultuous life, and he is hoping through his new program to give children in Youngstown a better foundation in life.
On Father’s Day weekend, The Maurice Clarrett Foundation and City Kids Care put together a multi-day camp for fathers and their children. The goal of the program is to strengthen ties between inner-city kids and their families, and hopefully provide positive role models.
“I think they are excited that two organizations, the Comeback Organization and City Kids Care, came together to collaborate and bring something positive to these kids. And not something that is just summer camp-ish. We will do it every month throughout the year and eventually build on to an after-school program,” Clarett said.
Brandon Perry of City Kids Care said future events will focus on the same idea.
“We’re trying to build on something, put something together. This is just a stepping stone. This is just the beginning,” Perry said.
The new program has permanent office space in the former Cafaro Hospital building on Youngstown’s North Side. With special events and regular after-school programs, the goal is to provide a safe environment for kids.
“The fatherly structure, or the male structure, of the urban, black community is huge. A lot of them are lost to prison, or early death, and things of that nature. So you have a group of guys who come from the community who have gotten together to help. I think it needs support. Nobody is out here killing each other. Nobody is out here fighting each other. You have kids who are out here having an opportunity to be kids and have fun,” Clarett said.
In addition to football camp, the two organizations also offered free skating and a special discussion on the role of the father in the family following a church service on Sunday.
The program is still getting organized, but information will be available soon.