As the Philadelphia Eagles head to Arizona for the big game this weekend, fans back home are gearing up to cheer on their Super Bowl stars. It was over ten years ago now that Forbes declared Eagles fans to be “the most loyal in the NFL, based on attendance variance and ticket sale waiting lists”—but this weekend the City of Brotherly Love is out to prove that’s still the case in 2023. And the staff at Philadelphia Children’s Alliance are on the frontlines of that fight. In honor of Spirit Day, the PCA team recently got itself decked out in Eagles gear and all-things-green during a celebration to kick-off the excitement.
“The Philadelphia Children’s Alliance is super excited that the Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the Superbowl,” says Executive Director Benita Williams. “Last Friday we hosted a staff tailgate to show our Eagles we are rooting them on, but more importantly how much we appreciate being an Eagles Cares Partner and all the support they give us.”
Indeed, beyond the fandom title and distinctive #itsaphillything pride, PCA has other and arguably stronger reasons for backing the Birds. As Benita notes, PCA has been one organization on the Eagles Care roster of supported charities in the Greater Philadelphia area. The Eagles first became involved with their local Children’s Advocacy Center in 2017 when a PCA staff member attended a conference the Eagles were holding and met Trey Burton, a player with a personal interest in anti-trafficking advocacy. As a result, Burton and several teammates including Nick Foles and Jordan Hicks visited PCA to learn more and tour the Children’s Advocacy Center. From there, the relationship between PCA and the Philadelphia Eagles grew…or you could say it took off.
As a result, several players made generous individual donations toward PCA’s annual gala event, The Bear Affair, and helped develop the #Give5toPCA campaign. That same year, the Eagles went on to win their 2017 season and then claim their first Super Bowl title the following February. Their new friends at PCA were thrilled, of course—and the special connection with the Children’s Advocacy Center made the victory that much more memorable for staff.
While some of the players with whom PCA first connected have since moved on to other NFL teams, the partnership with the Eagles has continued. In 2022, PCA’s Bear Affair was held at Lincoln Financial Field, which will be the location again for this year’s fundraiser in May. Most recently, the Eagles’ enthusiasm for good causes led to a unique off-the-field effort. Players teamed up in a very different context—a recording studio—to produce a special album featuring their own vocal performances of favorite holiday songs. Released digitally and on limited-edition vinyl, A Philly Christmas Special was hugely successful and raised over a million dollars for charities, including PCA—which was honored to receive a check last week for $50,000 from the album proceeds.
In addition to fundraising, the partnership with the Eagles has helped with important public outreach and awareness, says Benita Williams, and created opportunities for positive engagement with staff, professional partners, as well as children and caregivers. “They help us bring exposure to the problem of child sexual abuse in the community. They have supported us tremendously financially. They provide us tickets from time to time for clients and staff. They are a wonderful community partner.”
Each year, PCA serves approximately 2,000 child victims of abuse and their supporting caregivers. As with all of the 41 Children’s Advocacy Centers across our state, PCA provides a child-friendly, collaborative response to child abuse allegations that gives kids who have been hurt a chance to heal after trauma. What does that look like? CAC services include:
- a safe and welcoming place where child victims can feel comfortable disclosing abuse
- specially trained forensic interviewers who know how to talk with children about abuse
- medical evaluations to ensure health and safety
- personalized victim advocacy to walk alongside children and their supportive caregivers
- trauma therapy for long-term healing
It’s a hard job. One of the biggest challenges that CACs face is the general discomfort of communities to address the issue of child abuse. Having community partnerships at all levels helps any CAC create a stronger local presence for that important education and outreach.
This weekend, all of THAT is part of what Philadelphia Children’s Alliance celebrates…and none of what really matters here depends on the outcome of a football game. PCA is pretty confident their Green Gang is going to win this one. Ultimately, though, the real winners are the children who receive the intervention and support they need to be safe from abuse and heal from trauma. We know how hard all Children’s Advocacy Center staff work each and every day to make a difference in the lives of child victims and their families. So, PCA friends—you deserve the chance to pump it up in all your green glory. This weekend, we truly hope you have a great (and safe) time.
We would say sit back, relax, and enjoy the game…but these fans have a reputation to uphold, so we doubt there will be much in the way of sitting back or relaxing.