Harlem football team gets ready for the finals

August 14, 2009 3:52:02 PM PDT
A Harlem football team is getting ready for a big game this weekend in Brooklyn. The Jets of Harlem is a non-profit that relies on donations and volunteers, so a big win for them would be a mighty pay-off for a season of hard work and dedication. The team is part of an inter-borough league. Last Saturday, the tiny-mites won the first round of the playoffs and this weekend they face the Jamaica Bulldogs in the conference finals. And seven year old Michael Coker is ready.

"I just break for the line and try to tackle the quarterback," said Michael.

But this is about more than tackles and touchdowns. The Jets of Harlem is a non profit organization where mentors work with about 200 boys and girls and no one here gets a paycheck. The coaches and parents are volunteers. They use football and cheerleading as a motivational tool, a way to keep these kids out of trouble.

"If you're part of our organization we have an in to your life, you have to bring us your report card, we check your attendance and make sure you are showing up at school," said Coach Jamel Wright.

And the kids know the rules-- you mess up, you don't play. The tough love is paying off.

"You learn to become dedicated to anything in life, self disciplined and have integrity on the field and outside the field," said the coach.

But right now, they're in need of a "hail mary". All of the equipment, insurance and travel expenses runs about $50,000 a year and things are tight.

"We try to make it by fundraising meet and greet parties and just regular registration but by far it's still not enough, we're scrapping and scraping," said Coach Kevin Wiggins.

For more information on how you can help the Jets of Harlem go to:

  • LINK Jets of Harlem.


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