Lydell Henry thought he was simply taking in a Baltimore Ravens football game with friends Thursday night. Instead, he also took home an award for his good works.
Henry, co-founder and executive director of the Beat the Streets youth wrestling program in Baltimore, was honored prior to the Ravens’ first pre-season game.
Just before Baltimore’s NFL franchise took the field at M&T Bank Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers, Henry was recognized as a 2014 Allstate Champion For Good just outside the stadium. He was presented with a special trophy during the surprise event.
The Give It Up For Good campaign is an initiative that encourages people to share the good in their communities by recognizing and highlighting the unsung heroes such as Henry who dedicate themselves to bettering the lives of others.
Known for his countless acts of community service and commitment to giving back to his community, Henry launched the Beat the Streets program in Baltimore in 2011. This afterschool program combines amateur wrestling, character development activities and tutoring for youth in Maryland’s largest city. Baltimore’s Beat the Streets program is similar to those of the same name in other urban areas throughout the US that incorporate the values of wrestling into their community outreach.
In a March 2014 feature about Henry and Beat the Streets in "The Baltimore Sun", the 36-year-old Baltimore native saw the wrestling programs at his high school and college vanish. Henry persuaded four elementary/middle school principals to implement the after-school wrestling program in their schools in 2012. This past year, 10 elementary/middle schools, plus Dunbar and Digital Harbor high schools, participated. Nearly 300 students are involved.
Last summer, Henry brought Jordan Burroughs, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champ for Nebraska, for a 12-day Beat the Streets-Baltimore STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) wrestling camp at Morgan State. The camp included 40 hours of wrestling with Burroughs as a technician, 30 hours of scientific research and 12 hours of math development for 80 kids. Participants stayed overnight at the university, introducing them to dormitory life.
Henry was attending the game with fellow Beat the Streets representatives, as well as a number of the students who participate in the mentorship activities. He was unaware that he would be receiving the award until it was presented to him prior to entering the stadium.
In addition to being presented with the special trophy Thursday night, Henry will attend the Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion in Orlando this Labor Day. He will be joined by his fellow Champions For Good from across the nation.
Allstate encourages individuals to share their inspirational stories about folks like Lydell Henry on Twitter, using the hashtag #GiveItUpForGood and following @GiveItUpForGood.