M.O.M. Squad Learns Meaning of Southern Hospitality in Gadsden

“We came to Alabama to serve, and found ourselves being served,” said JacQuetta Clayton, president of the national MOM Squad organization. “When I found out we were going to Alabama, I didn’t know what to expect” said Clayton, whose son is Baltimore Raven player Mark Clayton. “I am glad I came. Gadsden is a wonderful city and has really shown their love for us,” she added.
The MOM Squad, an organization formed to benefit at-risk youth, was in Gadsden May 2nd & 3rd to further their mission and to celebrate the Year of Alabama Sports. While all of the M.O.M (Mothers on a Mission) Squad members are mothers of national celebrities, many of them are mothers of athletes. The Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, directed by Bobby Welch, partnered with the Alabama Tourism Department, the City of Gadsden schools, the Mayor’s Office and local businesses, restaurants and organizations to promote the Year of Alabama Sports through the “Art of Competition” exhibit and to help further the mission of the MOM Squad. Year of Sports Coordinator Marilyn Jones Stamps attended the event and welcomed the group to Alabama.
While in Gadsden, the MOM Squad visited elementary and middle schools, as part of their literacy campaign, to read with children and to provide encouragement. On Saturday, the youth and parents who participate in Gadsden City School’s 21st Century after school program had a fun day at Imagination Place Children’s Museum and met Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, whose mother Sherry was the host MOM for the event. Williams, a native of Gadsden, is an NFL running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Auburn Tigers running back.
In addition to visiting the local schools, the MOM Squad was honored at Downtown Gadsden’s First Friday events. On Saturday afternoon, Imagination Place offered special activities for visitors based the NCAA’s “Stay In Bounds” character building program. Many of the activities were led by the MOM Squad. Also, in celebration of the Year of Alabama Sports, Cadillac Williams signed autographs. A total of 21 MOMs attended the event, including Carolyn Smith, mother of actor and Oscar nominee Will Smith. The Center for Cultural Arts will host the “Art of Competition-Year of Alabama Sports” exhibit through 2008. Find out more at www.culturalarts.org

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