CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Away from the gridiron, Panther star players Christian McCaffrey and Shaq Thompson are focused on more than the game itself.
Both are putting in work to inspire underserved youth in the Queen City through 22 Together.
The pair’s initiative is designed to unite kids and teenagers living and going to school in Charlotte through sports.
It will also help address the divides that exist between the public and law enforcement.
“Both Shaq and Christian are interested in helping kids develop both physically mentally and spiritually,” Marty Clary said.
Starting this Fall, 22 Together will teach kids football, flag football and cheerleading with the help of the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlotte and CMPD’s Police Activities League.
Marty Clary, the executive director at Charlottes Boys and Girls Club, says the program also has plans to expand into other sports and activities throughout the year.
“The emphasis behind this is showing kids that during these troubled times, that important person really cares about them,” Clary said
This is not the first time these two have taken action in the community.
McCaffrey just recently launched 22 and You to support healthcare workers across the Carolinas.
“We’ve had so many people reach out it’s been so inspiring,” Christian McCaffrey said.
Thompson also supporting those on the frontlines.
He donated 2,000 meals to four different Atrium Health campuses in April.
“I heard they gotta work and then quarantine themselves and find food for their families, so I said man let me donate and put my money to good use and help some people out,” Shaq Thompson said.
Now the two teammates are joining forces to help make sure kids stay learning in their 22 Together program throughout the coming school year.
McCaffrey and Thompson already vowing to each match dollar for dollar the first 50 thousand from donation to help more kids participate in programs starting this Fall.
“Using sports as a platform to encourage kids to do their classwork, understand the dynamics over social unrest, and see the police are more than the enforcers,” Clary said. “They’re there to help us have a better community.”
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