KIPP DC and the Redskins Charitable Foundation recently cut the ribbon on a partnership to help eliminate one barrier toward student success, through the “Loads of Love” program at our Shaw Campus. On hand to witness the event were Redskins long snapper and founder of Loads of Love Nick Sundberg, members of the Redskins Charitable Foundation including executive director Jane Rodgers, chief community engagement and growth officer for KIPP DC Jacque Patterson, and KIPPsters from across grade levels. The program aims to improve attendance and participation by providing students with a discreet solution to address a challenge that is real for some students—having clean clothes.
The idea to bring Loads of Love to KIPP DC was spearheaded by mental health practitioner Patrick DiSalvo, who was aware of the unique challenges some of our students endured outside of school. “We give out a lot of uniforms to students who aren’t in uniform for a variety of reasons. Sometimes kids are experiencing difficulties, or may have just forgot,” he said. “Every day, just seeing the relief on a child’s face when they can get a clean uniform, despite whatever circumstances might have occurred, has been a welcome sight.”
Nick Sundberg has been the Redskins long snapper since 2010 and is one of their most active volunteers in the community. He was nominated for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2017, which honors a player’s volunteer and charitable work, as well as excellence on the field. The ability to reach more than 1,000 children and help remove even one obstacle was a deciding factor in deciding to partner with KIPP DC. “It just makes us feel proud that we’re making a difference,” he said.
“That’s the ultimate goal. We all play football because we love to game and to have a positive impact on other people. But to be at a place like KIPP DC, and hopefully, have an impact on the daily activities and lives of so many kids is why we do it.”
Jacque Patterson also spoke to at the ribbon cutting ceremony and touched on the importance of having a community leader like the Redskins engage with our students and show their support. “For them to see football players and other executives from the Redskins say ‘We care about you as a person, your education, and how you feel about yourself’ is huge for our students. To see an organization so iconic and recognizable to Washington, D.C. reach out and want to help our students means a lot and goes a long way towards their success and well-being.”
Reflecting on cutting the ribbon on Loads of Love and the impact it will have on our students and families, Patrick DiSalvo swells with pride. “It was just a great day and celebration of everything we worked for. A lot of people from different areas came together to support our kids. I’m a huge believer in wraparound services and that it takes a village to raise a child. It’s great for our students to see the wide network of support they have.”