In addition to special-ed students’ artwork and the sound of swing-era music, those visiting the Kids’ Cafe 2019 in downtown Fresno are greeted by another treat.
Custom-designed cleats from Detroit Lions cornerback Andre Chachere.
“Special education is something that is close to my heart. I have always done stuff with special needs kids and students since I was little so when I heard about the Kids’ Cafe, I felt like that would be a great place to donate my cleats.” — Andre Chachere, Detroit Lions cornerback
Chachere, who starred at Clovis West High School, donated his cleats to the cafe as part of the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign.
The initiative is a collaboration between the NFL and its players. It gives players the opportunity to auction off a pair of their custom-designed cleats with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting a charity or cause of their choice.
Last season, more than 800 NFL players showcased causes that are important to them with custom cleats during Week 13 games as part of the campaign.
Driven By The Heart
However, instead of auctioning his cleats, Chachere chose to donate them to Kids’ Cafe 2019 to raise awareness about special education students, many of whom work in the cafe.
“Special education is something that is close to my heart,” said Chachere, a three-year starter at San Jose State. “I have always done stuff with special needs kids and students since I was little so when I heard about the Kids’ Cafe, I felt like that would be a great place to donate my cleats.”
Cafe manager Paul Romero said you can’t put a price on Chachere’s gift to the cafe.
“I think (the cleats) are worth more in sentimental value than any auction would provide for them,” Romero said. “We see them as a talking piece, something that guests can get excited about.”
Not Your Ordinary Cafe
The Fresno County Superintendent of Schools opened the Kids’ Cafe in January 2017. It serves as a classroom for special-ed students in FCSS’ Adult Transition Program (ATP) by allowing them to work and gain vocational and social skills necessary to be self-sufficient.
“It is really a wonderful experience for the adult students to interact with the public and learn skills to hopefully help them gain employment,” said Lisa Birrell, the communications and public relations officer for FCSS.
ATP student Alex Whitley said it was cool meeting Chachere and is happy that he visited the cafe.
“To have Andre represent Kids’ Cafe is really an honor for not only our office, but for every one of these kids.” — Jim Yovino, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools
“It is good that he supports the people,” Whitley said.
A Priceless Moment
Jim Yovino, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, said Chachere couldn’t have donated his cleats to a better place.
“To have Andre represent Kids’ Cafe is really an honor for not only our office, but for every one of these kids,” Yovino said.
Chachere’s mom, Romy Chachere, said seeing her son giving back to the community was priceless.
“Having him be a part of this and giving back to an organization that not only do I work for, but something that is my heart and passion was a proud moment,” said Romy Chachere, who works for FCSS’ SELPA and special education departments. “It is one of those things my husband and I both have strived for — to make sure our kids always give back to the community.”