Recent Articles on the One Heart Project
"There are a million doctors, actors, models, scientists on the streets right now, they just need someone to show them the way." - Mack White
By Jarret Johnson
LEWISVILLE -- One day after celebrating its second straight TAPPS Division II state title, the Grapevine Faith boys soccer team continued the school's efforts to give hope to juvenile inmates at Gainesville State School -- a maximum-security facility of the Texas Youth Commission.
Grapevine Faith and nonprofit organization One Heart Project began working with Gainesville State in football in 2008. They have since entered partnerships for basketball, art studies, mentoring programs and now soccer.
The schools' initial meeting in football in 2008 -- during which Faith parents and fans sat in the Gainesville State bleachers to cheer on its players -- inspired the 2010 book Remember Why You Play, by former Star-Telegram staff writer David Thomas.
After conducting three soccer clinics on the Gainesville campus in the past six weeks, Grapevine Faith hosted the Tornadoes in their first soccer match, an exhibition Saturday afternoon at Max Goldsmith Stadium in Lewisville.
Only 12 individuals were allowed to play out of 300 youths at Gainesville State after meeting strict criteria, assistant superintendent Mike Studamire said. A handful of Grapevine Faith players switched jerseys to fill out the Tornadoes' roster.
The One Heart Project provided new uniforms, shin guards and cleats for the Tornadoes to help start its soccer program.
"If we're able to give just one kid a reason to make smart decisions with their lives and the reason is just soccer, then awesome," Grapevine Faith coach Matt McKinney said. "We have the opportunity to go up there and give them some guidance through sports. These boys see this as an avenue to give them hope."
The Lions won 4-3, but helping a dozen teenagers assimilate back into society was more important.
"These young men are all from the North Texas area and will be back in our neighborhoods," Studamire said. "What we're trying to do now is help these young men integrate back into society... We're not a warehouse; what you don't want is someone who is just locked up, learns nothing, comes out and is just a bigger, stronger, more aggressive kid."
Gainesville State's players are weeks or months away from serving their sentences. Many have completed GEDs and have earned up to 12 college credit hours.
One GSS player, Patrick, will attend Tarrant County College after his release.
"To get to go off campus you have to be strictly positive, on a straight arrow," Patrick said. "I wanted to know how it feels to do things like this. It's a great experience to come out here and learn things that you've never done before -- I never thought I'd play soccer."
By Charean Williams
Since John Garrett arrived as the Cowboys' tight ends coach in 2007, he and Jason Witten have spent a lot of time together in the off-season.
Witten went to Valley Ranch four to five days a week, whether for organized team activities, weightlifting or to watch film. The two also share the same commitment to charitable works, bringing them together off the field, too.
But not this year.
Garrett has been banned by the NFL from communicating with Witten during the four-month lockout. In what Witten agreed was "weird," he and Garrett have crossed paths only a couple of times this off-season. They have hardly said more than "hello."
"It has been different," Witten said. "We get along really well. We have a lot in common. Our wives are friends. It was awkward, because you're both committed to something, and you work so hard at it every day and you go through ups and downs. So much of what I do football-wise is with him. It's an ongoing process of every day trying to get better. When that's taken away, it's tough just because you do have a bond."
It might be hard for coaches and players to truly be "friends" given their relationship in the workplace. But Witten and Garrett certainly are friendly. Witten likes playing for Garrett. Garrett likes coaching Witten.
They also share a bond with the One Heart Project, a non-profit charity.
One Heart was born out of the football game between Grapevine Faith and Gainesville State School in 2008. Faith coach Kris Hogan had encouraged his players, students and parents to send a message of hope to the opponents from the maximum security correction facility.
"Here's the message I want you to send," Hogan wrote before the now-famous game. "You're just as valuable as any other person on the planet."
Garrett hadn't heard about the game until a few weeks afterward when he received an e-mail from a friend, who had attached a story about Faith's 33-14 victory that was about more than a score.
Hogan's act of compassion instantly gained Garrett's respect, and Garrett immediately called Hogan for lunch.
Garrett was sold on the charity that had grown out of the game. | Read More |
ARLINGTON — Despite getting fired on Monday afternoon, former Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips kept his promise to attend a charity event Monday evening.
He didn't say much, but he didn't have to; just attending the One Heart Project kickoff event at Cowboys Stadium said something.
Phillips received a warm round of applause as he was announced at the fund-raiser that aims to give a second chance to at-risk and incarcerated youth.
Attendees said it took a lot of character for the former coach to show up at a public event on the same day he lost his Cowboys job.
Injured quarterback Tony Romo and tight end Jason Witten were also on hand, but they weren't talking to the news media.
Organizers of the event permitted picture-taking, but no on-camera interviews with Phillips. News 8 asked the former coach why he decided to attend the charity event. "It's not about me, it's about One Heart," he said. "I believe in this project."
Phillips declined to discuss his dismissal from the Cowboys.
In a written statement issued earlier Monday, Phillips expressed his appreciation to Jerry Jones, his family, and Cowboys fans.
"I told the team today that I have been proud to be a part of their family, and that will never change. I have enjoyed the privilege and responsibility of representing this franchise as its head coach," he said.
Posted on November 8, 2010 at 9:11 PM
Updated Tuesday, Nov 9 at 5:45 PM
The One Heart Project is aimed at helping at-risk and incarcerated youth a second chance.
The event is attached to the theatrical release of the "One Heart" movie based on the real-life story of the 2008 game between Gainesville State School and Grapevine Faith.
"This game was the single greatest exhibition of sportsmanship I have ever witnesses or heard about," Wade Phillips told One Heart.
The football game with real life lessons was covered by NBC 5's Matt Barrie and Noah Bullard and won a National Edward R. Murrow award for sports reporting and a Lone Star Emmy award for feature news report.
Some of you may remember hearing about this on the news in the fall of 2008. There was, and is, a football team made up of young male offenders who attend Gainesville State School, a maximum-security facility located about 75 miles north of Dallas. A little more than a dozen young men make up the school's football team which they have to qualify for by meeting specific requirements such as good behavior. The team always travels for their games, never has any fans and never gets a pat on the back from someone other than their coach or each other.
So, as the true story goes, Coach Kris Hogan at Faith Christian School in Grapevine sent out a mass e-mail prior to their first game against Gainesville asking Faith fans to sit on the visiting side and cheer for the Gainesville team... by name. Hundreds did and the players involved, on both sides of the field, will never forget the experience they witnessed on the field that night. Many of those young Gainesville men had never had a fan cheer them on, be it for a football game or in life.
If it sounds too good to be true, it's not, this really did happen. This last Friday I had the privilege of attending this year's Faith vs. Gainesville game, sitting on the away team's side to cheer for the Gainesville Tornadoes.
And if it sounds to you like it should be a movie, well, it will be. (Don't you wish you had thought of it first?) Eterné Films is pairing up with actor, screenwriter, Dallas native and personal friend, Lane Garrison, to produce One Heart, a film based on the real-life events that took place just one year ago in the greater Dallas area.
It will tell the story of "two groups from diverse backgrounds whose paths cross to create life-changing hope and inspiration for both teams. Two teams. Two cultures. One Heart."
Wow, doesn't that sound powerful? If all goes well it could be released as early as fall of 2010. This is one of those movies you will be able to take your kids to. And this is one of those movies you can leave feeling hope, gladness, inspiration and compassion. And that's something, I believe, we can always welcome more of!
For more on Jessica's triplet adventures, visit her blog by clicking here http://keithandjessica.blogspot.com