Rams players, front office employees and a volunteer group of roughly 170 people descended upon the Florissant-based Marygrove Child Center on Wednesday, for the team’s sixth annual playground build.
In addition to the construction of the playground, Rams volunteers partnered with Perficient, Lowe’s and Dr Pepper to design a mural and paint the residential cottages at Marygrove. Rams players also helped lead an NFL Play 60 event with a number of kids enrolled at Marygrove. Beginning at roughly 9 a.m., the team of volunteers completed the project in just under nine hours.
“When you look at the playground build, it harnesses the energy of our organization in one day,” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff said. “I think it shows what our entire organization can do when we put our minds to something and collect our resources to make the St. Louis region a better place.”
The playground build has become a central figure in the Rams’ community outreach efforts since the inception of the Days of Service program in 2009, as the team has served schools and youth organizations throughout the bi-state area, beginning with a playground and community park in East St. Louis five years ago.
When sifting through the many applicants for this year’s build from organizations in the surrounding Metro area, Marygrove emerged as a strong recipient for 2014. Marygrove specializes in offering housing, counseling and mental health services to area underprivileged youth.
“I think for Marygrove, they’re an underappreciated organization in the St. Louis area,” Demoff said. “The services they provide to kids in need, on the mental health spectrum, on the therapeutic spectrum, we don’t think they get the attention they deserve, that rang through on their application. The chance to come interact with the kids here, to help be a part of their day, and to do a project that they’ve been trying to do for years, really stood out for us as a chance to give back to the community. The passion of the administration, the passion of the children, really stood out to us.”
Rams veterans Darren Bates,
“I think an underappreciated part for our organization is the bonding that happens for our staff, the players, the coaches, but particularly the rookie class,” Demoff said. “To come at a very early stage in their careers and to understand what it means to be a Rams player, what it means to give back to the community, to come here and make a difference, I think it’s a great equalizer as a rookie class and as a unit.”
This was the first opportunity for team partner Perficient to join the Rams as the proud sponsor of the 2014 St. Louis Rams Community Outreach efforts.