As part of Bengals.com's high school journalism program, this story is written by a member of the journalism club at Cincinnati's Aiken New Tech High School headed by Lakisha Zyyon and Susan McElroy.
With the Dive Right Program, the Bengals are bringing new youth into their pack.
Dive Right was created four years ago to connect youth, police officers and members of the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are a high-energy and high-powered NFL team that made an appearance in Super Bowl 56 and this year they want to pass off some of that super energy to Tri-State youth.
Eddie Hopkins, a Cincinnati Police Officer who heads the department's youth division, founded Dive Right. The program concluded another year earlier this season with the teams playing their own version of a Super Bowl on the Paycor Stadium field.
"Inside each one of us is our own super power and we're helping these young people learn how they can unlock their super power," Hopkins says.
The program breaks up young people into teams, coached by a Bengals player and a member of law enforcement. Before they hit the field, they have conversations centered around topics such as diversity, implicit bias and culture. These conversations are followed by games of flag football. The program runs over a period of six weeks ending with their own sort of championship- the Dive Right Super Bowl.
All teams have specific names that reflect the topics and values they've discussed throughout the season: "Diversity," "Confidence," Culture", "Community." The Bengals players coach them and try to guide their team to the win. After the games, win or lose, they all celebrate each other and the experiences they are sharing.
Wide receiver Stanley Morgan, Jr., says, "It's beneficial for the kids and me. This program helps to give back to youth and help bring inspiration to them."
The Bengals are helping Eddie Hopkins' dream to enrich youth with inspiration and motivation on their way to finding their super power come to reality.
"Young people struggle with figuring out the day to day. It's our goal as adults to help them figure that out as they grow up," Hopkins says.