The bye week serves many collegiate football programs as an opportunity to not only recover from the strains of the season, but also to have additional time to practice and prepare for the upcoming weeks. Under the leadership of Coach Swinney, Clemson Football forgoes 1 practice every year during their bye week to serve others. The annual opportunity changes in the work performed and location/organization chosen; however, the message remains the same: always make time to serve your local community.
During the bye week, the entire team participates in civic engagement opportunities surrounding the local area. In 2019, the team visited a non-profit organization in Anderson and provided an array of work including projects in the food pantry, community garden, facility maintenance & landscaping, and much more! The day produced the equivalent of “a week’s worth of volunteers” in only two hours!
Partnering with Littlejohn Community Center to identify those in need, we were able to serve over 3,000 community members with Women’s Health screenings from St. Francis, healthy groceries from Golden Harvest Food Bank, free general health screenings from Clemson University’s Joseph F. Sullivan Center, and haircuts from our in-house Clemson Football barbers.
In 2017, we teamed up with Golden Harvest Food Bank to provide food food-filled backpacks to 300 local children.These bags provided weekend meals to elementary school children who do not have enough to eat at home over the weekend. Our student leaders filled the meal packs with items like applesauce, cereal, and easy-open canned pasta. The bags were discretely distributed to students in Pickens and Oconee Counties throughout the school year by their teachers.
We partnered with Habitat for Humanity in 2016 to assist with the construction of two houses in Greenville, South Carolina. Students also helped build fencing and performed landscaping for the homes and for houses around the neighborhood. One of the houses was named after Deshaun Watson after he received the Habitat for Humanity’s International Inaugural Next Generation Award that day. Watson, who grew up in a Habitat home and is an active volunteer for the organization, was also named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team later that season.
Kicks, Cleats and Kids, another annual team service initiative, features a partnership with Clemson University’s Call Me MISTER program. Call Me MISTER serves socio-economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities. The program identifies mentors for these children and actively seeks to enrich their everyday lives. P.A.W. Journey’s founder, Jeff Davis, served as the former field director, linking the programs and their respective missions of enriching the lives of others.
The Kicks, Cleats and Kids participants chosen through Call Me MISTER are invited to spend a day with the team as they tour the facility, enjoy lunch and interact with our young men through games and activities. Dabo Swinney’s All In Foundation donates a new pair of Nike shoes to each child, with the Clemson football leaders personally delivering and fitting the shoes at the end of the day.
Golden Harvest Food Bank
Habitat for Humanity
Greenville Children’s Hospital