One of Tremaine Edmunds' favorite parts about being in the NFL is giving back to the community and on Monday afternoon, the Bills linebacker gave back to children and young adults in the Buffalo community.
Edmunds met with around 110 young children from the Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo between the ages of 5-13 at the Masten Clubhouse in Buffalo's East Side. The kids, who were dressed in Bills apparel, welcomed Edmunds to the Boys & Girls Club by singing and dancing to the "Shout" song, and then they went over to play football with the linebacker before the event got underway.
"My family and myself have always been involved in whatever type of giveaway, whether it's clothes, bookbags, school supplies or whatever it may be," Edmunds said. "It's a main priority of mine just to come back to the community, give back to the kids, and give back to the people that are in need of it if I'm in the position to do so."
Scroll to see photos from Tremaine Edmunds visit with the Boys & Girls Club and Breaking Barriers where he visited with local kids and handed out school supplies.
During his visit, with the help of Saving Ourselves, a nonprofit civil rights movement and organization, Edmunds helped this group of kids get ready to go back to school with new backpacks, school supplies, shoes, socks, and even some snacks for lunchtime. Seeing the kids' reactions when they tried on their new sneakers or stuffed their backpacks with school supplies was the best part of today's event for Edmunds.
"Just seeing smiles, seeing people laugh, and just seeing people scream and go crazy. You can't fake that," Edmunds said. "That's what makes me want to keep doing these things, is knowing that I affect one person. Even if everybody wasn't happy, just knowing that I affect at least one person, that's good for me."
Tracy Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Western New York Collaborative of the Boys & Girls Club, finds excitement and reward in seeing how the individual relationships Tremaine can build with the kids can be a life-changing experience for them.
"Just having somebody that has such influence and stature as Tremaine. They see him on TV, and they see themselves in him," Bradshaw said. "The interactions that he has today, he'll be intentionally making memories with these kids that will last a lifetime just by being him."
Kmiyah, 13, of the Boys & Girls Club soaked up every second of her visit with Edmunds. While admiring her new back-to-school sneakers, she shared that her favorite part of the day was the words of wisdom she received from Edmunds and the Saving Ourselves staff.
"The one takeaway I had from today was to always stay in school, and make sure to keep your mind in the books and not on the streets," Kmiyah said. "And thank you Tremaine for everything."
The linebacker then hosted a lunch with 15 young men between the ages of 15-21 who are a part of the Breaking Barriers program. This program is an initiative that's a part of the Boys and Young Men of Color Initiative as these young men of color strive to create a unified voice that advocates for social justice.
While enjoying some pizza and chicken wings, Edmunds had an influential and engaging conversation with this group, was there to answer any questions they had, and left them with some advice on life.
Daniel Robertson, the Program Manager for Boys and Men of Color Initiative, is grateful for the conversation Edmunds had with the young men today and he even felt a connection with Edmunds' message as a goal of Breaking Barriers is instilling the importance of giving back into their young men.
"It's just these young men being able to see football players that are giving back to the community," Robertson said. "It's important to give back, it's important to build your leadership skills, and it's important to take mentorship seriously because one day, you'll be in a position where you can do some of the same things that the Bills players are doing here today."
Cornerbacks Jaquan Johnson and Dane Jackson, and linebackers Matt Milano, Tyrel Dodson, and Tyler Matakevich joined their teammate in giving love and support to both groups. Edmunds shared how appreciative he was for these guys coming out and interacting with everyone that took part in today's event.
"I know a lot of the kids were excited to see their faces and not just mine," Edmunds said. "We got other guys from the team that care about the same thing that I cared about. It means a lot to the kids, just to see guys that they look up to and just come in and spend time with them. Even if it's for a minute, a minute goes a long way.
Today's event wouldn't have been possible without the help of Edmunds' mom, Cookie, who helped everything come together for her son's event. As a teacher, supporting kids is right up her alley, Edmunds shared, and now the mother-son duo look to prepare for the next event that will be held around Thanksgiving.
"My mom's always got a special part in my heart," Edmunds said. "She always continues to surprise me, and I've been with her forever, but this is what my mom does, and I definitely appreciate her for coming and helping."