November 30, 2023

ABOVE PHOTO: The McLeods with Recreation Changer Award honorees Malcolm Jenkins, Melanie Jackson and David E. Thomas. (Images by Okay-Len Anderson)

By Kharisma McIlwaine

Change Our Future Sneaker Ball founders Erika and Rodney McLeod exhibit their kicks.

On June 22, trend met philanthropy as Change Our Future held its third Annual Sneaker Ball at Vie by Cescaphe. Change Our Future, based by Tremendous Bowl LII champion Rodney McLeod and his spouse Erika McLeod, is a youth-empowering non-profit group that seeks to uplift and help underserved youth in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas.

Change Our Future lends its help to the youth and neighborhood via a collection of applications and fundraising occasions. 

The third annual Sneaker Ball hosted by the McLeods and introduced by Wingstop Charities was a star-studded, black-tie gala the place the attendees paired luxurious, trend with their finest sneakers.

The fundraiser featured a stay and silent public sale, award ceremony, trend present, interactive activations, and a big selection of connoisseur hors d’oeuvres from native meals distributors.

NBA legend Rasheed Wallace on the purple carpet.

In partnership with Philadelphia Type Journal, the occasion  additionally featured a singular pop-up sneaker museum crammed with traditional and uncommon sneakers that thrilled each sneakerhead in attendance. And, in true inventive trend, the Sneaker Ball featured a show wall of sneakers and college provides that friends had been requested to donate.

All of the proceeds go to help Change Our Future’s 2024 applications and initiatives that straight affect Philadelphia youth, their households and the better Philadelphia neighborhood.  

The McLeods expressed their pleasure for the expansion of the Sneaker Ball and Change Our Future.

“This 12 months for Sneaker Ball feels unimaginable,” Erika mentioned. “It’s one thing I really feel like we’ve been trying ahead to for your complete 12 months.  It’s our largest fundraising gala and it’s superb to see the outpouring of affection and help that we’re getting from the Philadelphia neighborhood, and the folks which might be feeling the “fomo” in the event that they’re not right here. Everybody will get actually enthusiastic about what sneakers they’re sporting, who’s going to be within the constructing, and who else they’re going to fulfill. We’re trying ahead to a few of our new applications that we’re launching along with a few of the applications which have now began and are doing so properly.”

The McLeods current college students Milan Holland and Mekhi Dawson with $1,500 scholarships from Change Our Future.

Though Rodney McLeod is not a Philadelphia Eagle, he and Erika stay devoted to their continued help of the youth of Philadelphia. 

The ballroom was full of assorted sneaker installations.

“We contemplate Philly dwelling for us and when you think about one thing your own home you defend it,” Rodney mentioned.”You do every little thing in your energy to make sure they’re in secure havens, and I feel that’s what we’re doing with Change Our Future. It’s all about our youth and placing these youngsters first. We perceive the nice want and the calling. Our youth are difficult us as adults to do extra. We’re seeking to be a help, a useful resource, creating publicity, entry and the entire above to have the ability to assist them with every little thing they’ve in life and permit them to be one of the best variations of themselves.”

This 12 months Change Our Future honored Rodney McLeod’s former teammate Malcolm Jenkins, Dr. David E. Thomas, State Senator Vincent Hughes and his spouse, Emmy Award-winning actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Dr. Melanie Jackson with the Recreation Changer Award.

Youth hit the runway for the mini trend present.

Jenkins shared his pleasure in being an awardee and within the work that the McLeods proceed to do in the neighborhood with Change Our Future.

“It feels good, however to be sincere, I’m simply proud to have the ability to be any person who I felt like was an older instance for Rodney,” Jenkins mentioned. “Once you plant seeds and may flip round and see the fruit coming from that it’s superb.”

“For me to have a look at Rodney — I’m simply tremendous pleased with what he’s doing, realizing I had a little bit little bit of affect,” Jenkins added with amusing. “Change Our Future and Rodney do a number of nice work. Rodney is clearly an in depth pal of mine. I’ve seen him watch a bunch of individuals in the neighborhood after which start to grow to be his personal type of position mannequin. I’m simply proud to return and help. It’s a enjoyable night time, and it’s my first time on the Sneaker Ball, so I’m excited.”

The McLeods acquired further help from a number of of Rodney’s former teammates; Jordan Mailata and Jason Kelce echoed related sentiments to Jenkins.

“Not solely is it a terrific basis, however the those who run it are superb too! We’re (Mailata‘s fiancé Niki Ikahihifo) actually near the McLeods and honored to name them shut pals,” Mailata mentioned.

“We’re simply joyful to be right here, to be part of the neighborhood. I’ve realized so much from Rod as a mentor and a teammate on and off the sphere. It’s an honor to be right here to continue to learn and connecting with the neighborhood and see who I meet.”

Youth hit the runway for the mini trend present.

     “In the beginning, he was an incredible teammate throughout his time in Philadelphia with me,” Kelce mentioned. “Erika was very concerned not solely with the group, however with the neighborhood as properly, and I’ve simply received a number of religion in them as folks. They’re very devoted, they do nice work they usually’ve put a number of time in and I’m excited to lastly make it out right here.”

Basketball legend and Philadelphia native Rasheed Wallace was additionally in attendance for the primary time and expressed his pleasure in supporting the Change Our Future basis.

“It’s an honor, it’s a pleasure and it’s positively for a worthy trigger,” Wallace mentioned. This metropolis positively wants extra occasions like this to assist our youngsters out, as a result of that’s our future.”

The third annual Sneaker Ball was a fruits of pleasure for a beautiful trigger with the McLeods placing one of the best curiosity of the youth which might be concerned with Change Our Future entrance and middle.

A number of of the younger folks participated in a dynamite trend present, adopted by them sharing private anecdotes about what Change Our Future means to them. The work that the McLeods proceed to present the Philadelphia neighborhood via Change Our Future is invaluable. To seek out out extra about methods to help Change Our Future, go to: