When you gather a group of people who are willing and dedicated, what seems impossible suddenly becomes achievable.
On Tuesday morning, the Colts, their partners, and more than 100 volunteers arrived at Paul I. Miller School No. 114 in Indianapolis for the ninth annual Project Playground.
And by the time they left, they cut the ribbon on a brand new play space for the whole community to enjoy.
“It’s so rewarding and so enjoyable,” said Colts Vice Chairman and Owner Kalen Jackson. “I think it’s one of the most rewarding experiences, especially when you’re able to see all the kids come out and the smiles on their faces.”
It’s truly a place all kids can enjoy.
“The Colts organization has been phenomenal along with the partners, ensuring that it’s all inclusive for our students with exceptionalities,” said Principal Daria Parham.
“We have quite a few students who have wheelchairs and other kinds of devices and the partners along with the Colts have made sure we have things that are going to be in place for those kids to have fun with their friends.”
That’s why Colts linebacker Erik Walden was there – for the kids.
“That’s one of my callings in life is just give back to the youth,” he said.
And in doing so, he found himself in familiar territory.
“I had a summer painting job in high school. We used to paint all the local city schools. So, I’ve got a little experience with painting,” he said.
Just like football, painting takes practice.
“You get better with reps,” he said. “I’m living the dream each and every day. So, that’s why I try not to complain.”
For wide receiver Quan Bray, doing for others is doing for himself.
“It’s definitely a blessing for them and it’s a blessing for me to be helpful for them. Because that’s what it’s all about, for the younger generation and just doing something positive for them. It all will pay off and it’ll make you feel better in the end.”
Safety Matthias Farley just arrived in Indianapolis. And he got right to work – on the field and off.
“It’s very important to get involved in the community and just go out and meet people,” he said. “I think it’s an awesome thing to go out and build a park that’s going to be used for a long time. So, to have a hand in that even just getting here, it’s an awesome thing to be able to be a part of.”
“Honestly, it probably means a lot more to us than it does for the kids,” said running back Jordan Todman. “So, anytime we can put a smile on their face and give back to the community, we want to do that.”
Whether you’re constructing a playground or a football team, it takes different kinds of people to build something special.
“We have d-linemen out here, running backs, and I play tight end. We’ve got a linebacker out here right now in Trevor Bates,” said Mike Miller. “That’s what you need. You need a little bit of diversity to be able to get the job done.”
“I’m out here to help,” said defensive tackle T.Y. McGill. “I know there’s a lot of heavy lifting going on, so I’m trying to help in that.”
Part of being a rookie is being available. And Trevor Bates made himself available on Tuesday.
“Just trying to lend a hand and help in any way we can,” he said.
It also means doing whatever you’re asked to do wherever you’re asked to do it.
“With a smile on our face,” he laughed.
Great teammates on the field and in the community, the Colts played a small part in a big project.
“Teamwork makes dreamwork,” said tight end Erik Swoope.
Backed by an army of volunteers, the Colts accomplished their mission. They left behind a brand new play area and outdoor classroom that will serve the kids for years to come.
And they also left a lesson that will serve them for life.
“We talked about living above the line and giving back to others and this is just a true example of what that looks like and they get to benefit from it,” says Parham. “So, hopefully they’ll pass that along as they grow and as they become members of the community.”
Colts players participate in a wide variety of “Community Tuesday” activities throughout the season. Colts Community Tuesdays are supported in part by CBS4.