NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Mike Mularkey, on crutches, mingled with children at the Northwest Family YMCA on Thursday afternoon.
On the gym floor of the Ashland City Highway facility, located not far from Saint Thomas Sports Park, former and current Titans chatted with teenagers and others from the community. On a day when the Titans dedicated their partnership with Northwest Family YMCA as the team's official Ed Block Courage House, everyone involved said it's a sign of things to come.
In coherence with the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, the Titans became the twenty-sixth NFL team to dedicate a facility into the Courage House National Support Network for Kids. Named after the NFL team in a respective city, a Courage House is a facility that provides support and care to abused, neglected and/or at-risk youth and their families in that community.
"Every time the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation gets to add another Courage House into the family across the country, it is just a monumental occasion,'' said Brett Dickinson, Director of Operations for the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation. "In being able to reach another region, and to be able to reach kids in another state, and help, it is what the foundation is all about.
"It is building a relationships. A lot of these children won't get the opportunities that a lot of other people have to walk into an NFL football stadium. But they have a chance to interact and see the (Titans) getting involved."
In addition to Mularkey, Titans cornerback Jason McCourty was on hand Thursday, in addition to former Titans like Chris Hope, Craig Stevens and Tim Shaw. A large number of team officials were there, from the team's community relations department, and athletic training staff.
The Titans presented the Northwest Family YMCA with a check for $10,000.
"It is an honor that it came to fruition,'' said Titans assistant trainer Jerome Reid, who was instrumental in the event taking place. "To help the kids in the community, that is what this is all about, to help these kids who might not have that support they need at home."
The Northwest Family YMCA, established in 1968, is the region's leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The team and foundation will work together to create a support network in order to help promote the facilities fundraising and awareness.
The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation is an NFL-supported charity dedicated to recognizing courage throughout the league, while improving the lives of abused, neglected and at-risk children in NFL cities throughout the country. The Foundation annually bestows a prestigious Ed Block Courage Award to a player from each NFL team who, in the eyes of his teammates, exemplifies a commitment to sportsmanship and courage.
"Our goal is to build on our partnership with (the Northwest Family YMCA), a relationship that we already have existing, but be able to offer in a more meaningful and impactful way,'' said Josh Corey, Football Outreach Coordinator for the Titans. "And part of that is utilizing our resources, not only with our players but our branding, to be able to come in and sponsor on implement programs that make a change and are impactful to the community around this center.
"We think the facility is a natural fit, because of the proximity to our facility. They are kind of in our backyard."
McCourty, team's 2016 Ed Block Courage Award winner, said players are excited to get involved.
The Titans plan to make their first stop on this year's NFL Caravan at the Northwest Family YMCA.
"To get the players involved is important, and this Y is right down the street from our facility," McCourty said. "It is easy to get guys out here and have a fun time. Really, players are always looking to give back and get involved, and to have a Courage House here, it is a great opportunity."
The Titans dedicated their partnership with Northwest Family YMCA as the team???s official Ed Block Courage House. (Photos: Kayla Schoen)