photos Iman Jones
The weekend of April 22-23, NFL celebrity athletes, including Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, joined 12-year NFL veteran and former Houston Texans Pro Bowler Wade Smith in his home city for The Wade Smith Foundation’s (WSF) 5th Annual Wade’s Weekend. The weekend featured WSF’s most popular program “Reading with the Pros” at 3 RISD elementary schools, a friendly tournament and celebration at TopGolf Dallas, and a free cheer and football clinic at Lake Highlands High School, where Wade Smith himself attended. The weekend kicked off Friday morning with “Reading with the Pros” at Audelia Creek Elementary, Thurgood Marshall Elementary and Wallace Elementary, where professional athletes and local celebrities hosted assemblies and read favorite children’s books to classrooms of first and second graders. Celebrity readers included NFL veterans Akin Ayodele (Dallas Cowboys), Nic Harris (Buffalo Bills), David Hunter (Houston Texans), Dante Wesley (Carolina Panthers), Shaun Smith (New Orleans Saints), Bethel Johnson (Houston Texans), WNBA Dallas Wings coach Bridget Pettis and K104 radio personalities Lady Jade and Cat Daddy. On Friday evening, Topgolf Dallas welcomed the celebrity athletes and general public to “Smitty and Friends Charity Topgolf Tournament” to benefit The Wade Smith Foundation’s annual scholarship fund, Smitty’s Scholars. Additional attendees included Dallas Cowboys Tyler Clutts and fitness guru Donna Richardson.
Guests purchased bays to compete in a friendly tournament with the professional athletes while others sipped cocktails, took pictures in the event photo booth, and browsed silent auction items available for bidding, including autographed sports memorabilia and a trip to Cabo. On Saturday morning, children grades K-6 congregated at Wildcat-Ram Stadium at Lake Highlands High School for a free football and cheer clinic, taught by NFL athletes and professional cheerleaders and dancers. The professional athletes led the youth in various drills and exercises while providing helpful tips and encouragement throughout the morning. Inside the Lake Highlands gymnasium, the cheer clinic participants learned and practiced a short routine, which they performed for the football clinic and volunteers. The weekend concluded with a pizza party for all the clinic attendees and volunteers involved. Following another successful year of Wade’s Weekend, Wade Smith is debuting his very first children’s book, Smitty Hits the Play Books. The book is based on Wade’s own childhood, in which he struggled to balance schoolwork and sports. The mission of The Wade Smith Foundation is to facilitate the growth of today’s youth by providing them with the necessary tools to improve their overall development as young adults. http://wadesmithfoundation.org