Community Improvement

Counting Our Blessings Gala Celebrates Positive Work in the Community

On the evening of Monday, November 24, Chris Draft and the Chris Draft Family Foundation presented the Counting Our Blessings Gala: A Tribute to St. Louis.  The elegant evening, which was sponsored by the St. Louis Rams, highlighted the Foundation’s efforts to support programs and events in St. Louis that foster partnerships of individuals, communities and corporations working together for positive social and community change.

The Foundation has engaged in many activities across the city and county of St. Louis, and across the United States that emphasize the significance of family literacy and character education, while stressing the importance of healthy lifestyles, character development, personal responsibility, self-discipline and physical fitness. 

St. Louis events and programs have included: the St. Louis Rams Hydration Tour, Barrett Brothers Park Clean-up & Urban Farming project, the Missouri Childhood Asthma Radio PSA Campaign, literacy and attendance events for St. Louis Public School District, A Discussion and A Movie™ - The Great Debaters, the Dance St. Louis “The Most Beautiful Sport in the World” Campaign, the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus screening and “Continuing the Debate”  program with Nate Parker from The Great Debaters, PHL football field restorations, Home Depot neighborhood clean-ups and the Foundation’s signature fitness camp for the whole family: Get Checked and Get Fit™ Draft Day® St. Louis Style. 

During the Counting Our Blessings Gala, the Foundation presented Lee Jackson, from St. Louis Public School District’s Beaumont High School, with the C.H.P.R.S (pronounced “CHIPPERS”) Award in recognition of service to community and high standards of character, particularly the qualities of compassion, courage, honesty, perseverance, respect, responsibility, and self-discipline.  Lee is currently the Play It Smart Academic Coach for Beaumont High School’s football program, hired this year after serving as a volunteer Academic Coach for three years.  The mission of the NFL’s Play It Smart program is to help student-athletes take responsibility for their futures through lessons learned on the playing field, in the classroom and in service to others.  The program’s mission fuels Lee’s personal mission to impact the lives of inner city youth in a positive and consistent manner by challenging them physically, academically, and spiritually. His goals for his Beaumont athletes are to see GPA’s of 2.5 and higher, to see ACT test scores go up by 2 points, and to see 100% of the athletes enrolled in college.

All of the guests at the Counting Our Blessings Gala were asked to contribute one new children’s book as a donation to the Chris Draft Family Foundation's “How About a Book?” holiday project.  Borders Books sponsored a special book fair at Windows Off Washington during the Gala, making books available for purchase to all attendees.  Throughout the holiday season, the Foundation will continue the “How About A Book” program as part of the Literacy Leaders™ initiative, promoting books as holiday gifts.

The evening also featured live entertainment from Oscar Polk with the HBS Band, and special guest vocalist Taja Sevelle, founder of Urban Farming and Atlantic Records recording artist.  Windows Off Washington was host to a wide array of Foundation supporters including Chris Draft’s teammates, St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders, and many staffers from the St. Louis Rams front office.  Guests also included representatives from many community organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Dance St. Louis, St. Louis Public Schools, Kirkwood Public Schools, Jennings Public Schools, the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Louis, KIDSMART, the Diversity Awareness Partnership of St. Louis, and Mentor St. Louis.