YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The celebration of the return of the East High School Golden Bears continues this week. But it’s not just the players and alumni that are excited.
This is something East High alumni who also played for the Volney Rogers Youth League say they’ve been waiting for for a long time. With the Golden Bears return, there is finally a platform for the kids to look forward to and be proud of.
“With the Golden Bears coming back and these kids being able to see that and see the support, it just adds to the value and ownership to the community as a whole,” said Keland Logan, Volney Rogers Youth League.
The seven teams with the Volney Rogers Youth League have been going to East High’s scrimmages and pre-season games this summer, looking at what they hope to be one day. Youth League President Randy Newby said the league is collaborating with the high school to create a path for the youth league players to the high school field.
“We are trying to create a feeder system to keep kids in the inner city and work on tutoring and mentoring and stuff like that,” Newby said.
For a long time, the majority of the youth football players from Youngstown’s Volney Rogers league would end up leaving Youngstown when they got to high school age. They would instead head over to schools with open enrollment.
Maurice Clarett, former Ohio State football player and Youngstown native, said he was one of those kids and said he had to go to Warren G. Harding High School in Warren because the infrastructure in Youngstown was weak. Now, Youngstown City SchoolS and East High School are working to put together academic and mentorship programs for the Volney Rogers youth.
“Get these guys involved inside the academic training, the athletic training, the supplemental stuff that you can do outside of here and you start to create structure. That’s the only way you can create a feeder system and get the city back to being healthy,” Clarett said.
The Volney Rogers league has over 1,000 youth athletes.
The Volney Rogers League is holding a fundraising drive to purchase new helmets. More information about the effort can be found at the Volney Rogers Youth Association.