YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Back-to-School Outreach Fest, featuring a meet-and-greet with a former Ohio State football player, drew lots of people to Youngstown on Saturday.
Kids received free school supplies and health screenings, along with meeting former Buckeye Maurice Clarett, who says it’s all about giving back.
The event celebrated a new, free after-school program known as The Red Zone, which offers tutoring and college readiness prep.
“Everybody grows up and they start off with dreams, and potential and what they want to do, but somewhere along the way, they just lose something,” said Clarett, who co-owns The Red Zone. “We’re trying to capture that something and let the kids hold on to that dream for as long as possible.”
Clarett and Simon Arias, the other co-owner, hope to give children the advantages they never had.
“I look back and I think, what if I could get this stuff to a kid that I got at 30, at 9?” Arias said.
Parents like LaToya Allen say this program is a huge help for the community.
“A lot of people can’t afford everything all the time, so this is very helpful because a lot of parents need it for their kids,” she said.
Allen says that maybe those who benefited from The Red Zone will pay it forward one day.
“It will help them to see that there’s people doing good for the community, and maybe they might want to do the same thing and help out.”
For now, Arias and Clarett say they’re sticking around.
“Home is where your heart is,” Arias said. “Even though I don’t live here anymore, I come back here all the time and try to give back to this community, and try to make a difference in the young kids coming up today.”