By SCOTT COTTOS
Jada Hampton began tutoring youngsters at an elementary school during her freshman year at Cleveland State University.
Now a senior majoring in business, the Fostoria High School graduate is still helping students learn at Iowa-Maple Elementary School in Cleveland’s Glenville area.
But she’s wanted to do more for the youngsters, who are largely underserved economically.
That aide is scheduled to arrive at the school on Thursday with the assistance of the IMagINe for Youth foundation, founded by her brother, fellow FHS graduate and Buffalo Bills safety Micah Hyde.
Following up on Hampton’s request, the IMagINe team will present “Kicks for Kids” at Iowa-Maple, with all of the 250 students receiving a new pair of athletic shoes and a backpack full of treats.
“We’re so excited about this event,” Hampton said.
Hampton tutors youngsters in preschool and the second and sixth grades, and she said the financial situations involving the children and their families is “incomparable to anything I’ve ever seen.”
Yet, she said, the kids are cheerful and interested in learning.
“These kids are amazing,” Hampton said. “I don’t know if school is a getaway, or it’s just being with their friends, or if they’re just having fun.”
She raised some funds on her own last year to help, but she wanted to do more and took her idea to IMagINe, which is largely administered by her mother, Pam Moore, and Hyde’s fiancee, Amanda Kamiksisian.
IMagINe for Youth grew from a class project of Hyde’s during his time at the University of Iowa to develop a business plan that would give back to a community. Hyde’s plan involved refurbishing used athletic equipment and donating it to financially needy schools.
A kickoff and fundraiser for the foundation took place in June with Hyde hosting a free football camp at Memorial Stadium for 500 youngsters. Shortly thereafter, IMagINe for Youth donated $1,000 to the Fostoria Lady Lightning travel softball organization to help it play in a national tournament. In the late summer, schoolchildren in Buffalo received backpacks.
Now, while Hyde is helping the Bills try to reach the playoffs with a season that includes a career-high five interceptions, his family is doing good work of another kind in another city on his behalf.
“My heart is so full and I’m overwhelmed with excitement, not just for this event but for the future,” Hampton said.
The foundation is accepting donations to assist in the Cleveland project. Twenty-five dollars will cover the cost of one pair of shoes, but any donations will be accepted.
Donations can be made at website imagineforyouth.org.