“They couldn’t believe Cam Newton came to their boys and girls club”: QB Patriots surprise kids to spread holiday cheer

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Andrea Swain told her students that a Patriots player was coming to visit her Tuesday afternoon, but she didn’t tell them which one.

Swain, the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club in Roxbury, expected the group to scream and scream when he saw none other than quarterback Cam Newton walk through the gym doors. But, instead, they were silent.

“They were, like, in shock,” Swain said. “They were pinching each other. They thought they were dreaming. It took them about five minutes to really believe it. They couldn’t believe Cam Newton had come to their Boys & Girls Club.

As part of its seventh annual “Santa Cam” event, Newton decided to spend part of the regular Patriots’ day off, surprising local students for festive fun.

At the Boys & Girls Club, where those in attendance wore masks, Newton hosted a social distancing musical chair tour and also spoke to students about staying motivated during the coronavirus pandemic. He came with freebies, including Beats headphones, Under Armor gear, Target gift cards, among others.

The group, largely pre-teens and teens, viewed Newton’s visit as “one of the best days ever” to the Boys & Girls Club, which continued to host students during the pandemic. coronavirus due to its WiFi access for distance learning.

“For their emotional health, it was like a 180 in terms of morale and being happy,” Swain said. “Just all of Cam’s great energy and vibe. In terms of bringing that liveliness, hope, fun and enthusiasm to life, he took the leap for them ahead of the holiday season. very edifying. ”

In previous years, while a member of the Carolina Panthers, Newton visited schools and community organizations in Charlotte to spread the holiday cheer and donate. Now, with a one-year contract with the Patriots, he wanted to keep his tradition alive.

The students were so enthralled with Newton’s presence, Swain said, that they didn’t even remember to ask for his autograph.

“They brought markers and everything for the player to sign autographs,” she said with a laugh. “They didn’t even ask for his autograph. They were literally so overwhelmed.

Later Tuesday, Newton also visited a local Chase bank branch, where he delivered gifts and met four students from Camp Harbor View’s Leadership in Training program. The visit was once again a surprise. Newton met other students through Zoom, participating in a Q&A.

Cam Newton poses for a selfie with Jaleel Heath, of Camp Harbor View, during the Santa Cam charity event at the Chase bank branch in Roxbury.Craig F. Walker / Globe Staff

“I just felt like I had an opportunity and a platform that I had to use,” Newton said at the end of the day. “My parents always instilled in me the initiative to give back when you are able to give back. I didn’t get to where I got to without the help of other people who have returned the favor. I hope I can empower someone else to do the same when they are in my shoes.

His parents, Cecil Sr. and Jackie, joined Newton for his busy day.

“This is Cam’s time to give of himself, so that the kids, the people can see that he’s human too,” said Jackie. “It’s always a good feeling to be able to give something, but not just material things. He’s there. He gives himself. It is just as important.

Cecil Sr. added, “Outside of gaming – we love gaming, don’t get me wrong – we want it to be natural and accessible and touchable in life.”

Cam Newton is flanked by his parents, Cecil Newton Sr. (left) and Jackie, during the Santa Cam charity appearance on Tuesday.
Cam Newton is surrounded by his parents, Cecil Newton Sr. (left) and Jackie, during the Santa Cam charity appearance on Tuesday.Craig F. Walker / Globe Staff

Nicole Yang can be contacted at [email protected]

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