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Eagles DeSean Jackson & Jeremy Maclin part of NFL Play 60 at Northeast Philly School

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In the fall of 2007, the National Football Leage launched a program whose mission is "to make the next generation of youth the most active and healthy." The program, called NFL Play 60 is a national youth health and fitness campaign focused encouraging kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to reverse childhood obesity.

Players from all over the league visit local schools preaching the benefits of staying active and on this day, two of the NFL's brightest stars, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin paid a visit to Our Lady of Calvary School in Northeast Philly. They were there as part of NFL Play 60 and to deliver a check in the amount of $10,000.

Here's how it all came about...

The president of the Our Lady of Calvary Home & School Association, AKA my wife Terri, heard about a contest being run by the NFL and the United Way as part of the NFL Play 60 called "Back to Football Friday" - a nationwide campaign which celebrated the return of football and help tackle childhood obesity.

Each and every school from around the country were given the chance to show off their respective team's pride plus show a commitment to youth health and wellness for a chance to be one of only 34 in the entire country to receive a $10,000 grant. 

My wife, along with Miss Maureen Kramer, the Physical Education Teacher at the school (pictured below - my wife is on the left) organized a day what they described as "an Eagles-fueled NFL fun fest." All the students were dressed in the Eagles' colors and a day filled with sunshine and lots of excercise ensued. 

Pictures of the event along with an essay my wife wrote were submitted as part of Our Lady of Calvary's official entry into "Back to Football Friday." 

And lo and behold, their entry was selected to be one of the select schools from around the country to receive a $10,000 grant AND a visit by Eagles players, cheerleaders and even Swoop, the team mascot. 

I was fortunate enough to be in attendance (that's me with Swoop) and I have to tell you that DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin could not have been any nicer, any more accomodating, any more gracious. They each spoke in front of a packedgymansium filled with kids in grades from Pre-K to 8th grade, all dressed in Eagles attire and each screaming at the top of their lungs. 

The player's message was similar... Do well in school. Respect your parents. Follow your dreams. And of course, in keeping with the them of the day - play. They each spoke of the need to get outside and play, to not sit in and play video games, to excerise at least 60 minutes a day. 

 As a parent of two in attendance, I was quite happy to hear these players, role models whether they want to be or not, preaching the need for exercise, to do well in school and to respect their parents. In fact, each brought a parent along with them as DeSean had his mother with him and Jeremy's father made the trip, too. 

I would say the kids and grownups alike had a great time despite the not so perfect weather. 

So the message is clear... go out and play! 

Be sure to let Steve know what you think of all this and follow him at solenski@philly2philly.com  and on Twitter at @steveolenski

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