Christian McCaffrey, Shaq Thompson announce program to unite Charlotte community, support underserved youth

Christian McCaffrey, Shaq Thompson announce program to unite Charlotte community, support underserved youth
Christian McCaffrey and Shaq Thompson of the Carolina Panthers have announced a program to unite the Charlotte community and support underserved youth. (Source: AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Christian McCaffrey and Shaq Thompson of the Carolina Panthers have announced a program to unite the Charlotte community and support underserved youth.

For McCaffrey, this is an expansion his previous “22 And You” efforts to support frontline healthcare heroes in the Carolinas impacted by COVID-19.

On Monday, he launched 22 Together: an initiative with teammate Shaq Thompson to unite the Charlotte community through sports programs for underserved youth.

McCaffrey and Thompson will help address the divides that exist and open the door for community among the public and law enforcement.

The program will start with football, flag football, and cheerleading, and with the hope of expanding into other sports in the future. The players will work in collaboration with The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlotte, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Police Activities League (PAL) to open up the field of play for Charlotte youth.

By funding these programs, historically underserved youth will be able to participate as soon as August and with the support and mentorship of coaches from CMPD and other community leaders.

“After ’22 and You’ raised hundreds of thousands for our healthcare heroes in a matter of days, I was in awe of this community and what it can achieve when we work together,” said Christian McCaffrey. “Right now, it is important to make an effort to help our community work through the divisions that exist, and I believe sport can accomplish that. Sports for me have always been a place for opportunity and for building a strong sense of team. It is a place where we can communicate values and begin building a more peaceful society. When we come together on a field of play, it helps unite us everywhere else. When we begin fundraising to support this effort July 22, I hope you’ll join Shaq and I in helping change happen.”

“When Christian called to ask if I would support this program with him, it was an easy decision,” added Shaq Thompson. “This is exactly what our community needs right now. Something positive, uniting members of our community and police. This unity creates a bond and focuses on kids, so no kid feels left behind and suffers.”

With support from 22 Together, The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s Police Activities League (PAL) and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Charlotte will begin the 22 Together program by offering football, flag football, and cheerleading programs, free of charge, to underserved youth in Charlotte.

Business and community leaders are asked to reach out and volunteer their support as coaches and mentors.

Fundraising efforts to support this program will begin on July 22nd. To learn more about the initiative, visit 22Together.org

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