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PCA-Cleveland and Joe Thomas Honor Local Athletes, Coaches, and Leaders


200 guests joined PCA-Cleveland and NFL great, Joe Thomas, in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Positive Coaching Alliance and honoring local student-athletes, coaches, business, and civic leaders for the positive impact they are making through youth and high school sports at the first PCA-Cleveland Youth Sports Impact Awards.

The cold and blustery weather outside was no match for the warmth of the passion, encouragement, and gratitude that was on display at the Music Box Supper Club on March 13, 2018, during the PCA-Cleveland Youth Sports Impact Awards.

Founder & CEO of Positive Coaching Alliance, Jim Thompson

Positive Coaching Alliance Founder & CEO, Jim Thompson, kicked off the evening with some introductory remarks and provided a brief history of the organization and the importance of the “Power of Positive”.

After Jim’s remarks, two local coaches in attendance were honored for being recently named National Finalists for the Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach Award, and one, Levi Nelson, was highlighted as one of two National Winners from the state of Ohio.

Caption: National Double-Goal Coach® Award Winner, Levi Nelson; and National Finalist, Adam Beasley

Luminary Award Recipients, Stephanie and Scott Kornet, with event emcee and FOX SportsTime Ohio broadcaster, Matt Underwood

Next, Stephanie and Scott Kornet, founders of the 4Alec Foundation were honored with the PCA-Cleveland Luminary Award for the inspiring and courageous work to educate others about the importance of screening athletes for cardiac issues and being prepared to handle situations through training and the use of AEDs after the tragic loss of their son, Alec, during a high school hockey practice a year ago.

Five local graduating high school student-athletes were then honored as the recipients of the Cleveland Chapter’s Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship Award.

TIC Scholarship Winners (from L to R): Jamalys Rodriguez, Erica Parish (mother of Dakari Parish-Baker), Ethan Stishan, Macy Taylor, Kristen Jesberger

The winners were recognized for their ability to demonstrate how they have elevated themselves, their teammates, and their games, schools, and communities through sports. 

Our final award-winner for the evening was VP of Strategic Adventures at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Anne Graffice. She was the recipient of the first PCA-Cleveland Triple-Impact Executive Award, celebrating not only her contributions to the enrichment of youth sports, but the ways in which she has elevated her own personal career, teammates and employees, and our region through her work with the Hall of Fame.

Triple-Impact Executive Award Winner, Anne Graffice

PCA-Cleveland also had the distinct honor of hosting the last public appearance of NFL great, Joe Thomas, as a member of the Cleveland Browns, as Thomas announced his retirement the next morning.

10-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and keynote, Joe Thomas

Thomas, who joined the Positive Coaching Alliance National Advisory Board following the event, reflected on his 10+ year NFL career and his days as a track star at the University of Wisconsin during his conversation with FOX SportsTime Ohio broadcaster and event emcee, Matt Underwood. He also underscored the importance of teaching young athletes to “control the controllables,” to help them learn how to move past mistakes and through adversity, and to encourage them to play multiple sports.

Joe Thomas and event emcee, Matt Underwood

The event concluded with a raffle, sponsored by TTx, and coordinated by PCA-Cleveland partner, The Pledge Fund, with prizes provided by donors including ESPN Cleveland, the Cleveland Indians, and Riddell. The grand prize winner received a personalized autographed Cleveland Browns helmet signed by Joe Thomas that night.

Joe Thomas with Grand Prize Winner, Rachel O’Malley

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To view a gallery of photos from the event, click below

Full Photo Album

The event was supported by Chapter Supporters, University Hospitals Sports Medicine, Cleveland Indians, and FOX Sports Ohio. It was sponsored by Community Champions Enterprise Holdings; Jackson, Dieken & Associates; Leffew Fastpitch; Method Fitness; North Point Portfolio Managers; and PolyOne, plus Pledge Card Raffle Sponsor, TTx. Additional promotional and event support was provided by ESPN Cleveland, EY, iHeart Media, Signs by Tomorrow, Rickabaugh Graphics, and Riddell. In all, the event raised nearly $25,000 to help PCA-Cleveland “Cover Cleveland” with its character-based training for youth and high school programs across Northeast Ohio.

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