DALLAS — A couple of Dallas Cowboys players are taking some time out to visit homeless teens in southern Dallas.
Defensive end Kerry Hyder and his family visited the Fannie C. Harris Center in South Dallas–Fair Park. It's a new drop-in center and safe haven for homeless for youth and young adults.
Hyder and his family were joined Friday by defensive lineman Christian Covington.
"I just really wanted to come and just spend some time with the kids here," Hyder said as he moved about the center chatting with some of the teens.
Hyder and his wife, Jasmine, learned about the center while watching a story on the local news. The couple had an immediate emotional and personal connection to the challenges many of the teens are facing. They wanted to do something.
“My mom is my rock, and we had some struggles growing up." Hyder said. “We just wish we had a center like this to help us out when times are hard, and we needed somewhere to go, or somewhere for me to go and my brother."
The football players spent a couple of hours with about 50 teens at the center.
They took time to talk about life and share stories and dreams.
Hyder provided dinner and partnered with Champs Spots to donate clothing, sneakers, and more.
Yasmine Smith is an 18-year-old college student who shared some moments with Hyder and his family. Smith is living in a shelter. She said the Hyders' presence at the Fannie C. Harris Center was important.
“When his wife said that she came here because ... she was once poor and homeless, that meant a lot," she said. "Because a lot of people don't know what it's like to be poor and homeless."
Youth homelessness is a big issue in Dallas, according to Madeline Reedy. She is the senior director of the TRAC program for City Square.
"I think a lot of times, people don't think about youth being homeless," Reedy said. "We think about people that are older, living on the streets. What we see every day are those young people who have hidden themselves from society."
Hyder’s family and the NFL Foundation donated $8,000 to City Square and the Fannie C. Harris Center Drop In Center. The athlete says his team of supporters believes just showing up to support can help.
"If you can come by these types of centers and spend time with the youth and do your part, then you can definitely make a difference in someone's life," Hyder said.
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