Chardon Local Schools
Content by Kim Vujaklija
Compiled and Co-Written by Rebecca Fullerman, Content Development Specialist
Topper Football Tackling Community Needs
A Beyond the Hilltop Story
November 18, 2023 — Chardon High School's 2023 State Final Four-bound, Div-III regional varsity football champs have also been busy scoring touchdowns off the turf — through the Tackle Project now in its fifth year.
With a passion to serve others, Class of 2024 student-athletes Andrew Bruce, Maddex Ciancibello and Drago Vujaklija are continuing the annual Tackle Project tradition this season by spearheading philanthropic initiatives for the 2023 team with plans to continue into 2024.
Tackle Project advisor and Hilltopper mom Mrs. Kim Vujaklija provides dedicated leadership and supervision for the program.
Mrs. Vujaklija stated, “We have raised over $35,000 in donations for various organizations since 2019. It’s been deeply rewarding and fulfilling to see the team out in the community serving with compassion, humility, and a true respect for others.”
2023-24 TEAM TACKLES
Collected and sorted nearly $1,000 in donations for Geauga County’s Help Me Grow community clothing drive.
Fundraised to assemble 130 cookie kits — items purchased from D is for Delicious — and delivered the kits in-person to Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. During the visit, Cleveland Clinic Certified Nurse Practitioner Allison Zeiger shared health care career information with the student athletes.
OCTOBER Part I
Collected almost $2,000 worth of donations, in collaboration with Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy’s team, for the Geauga County Veteran Food Pantry.
OCTOBER Part II
Created a video of CHS varsity assistant football coach Rob Vujaklija participating in the BSN Sports #DunkdChallenge initiative to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Through social media, the team's video raised $2,500.
Raising funds, at the time of this writing, to help CHS ‘86 alumnus De Maxwell who is battling ALS. The team is planning to contribute the funds towards a new specialized wheelchair for Mr. Maxwell, a former CHS football player.
- For the 2023 holiday season, the Tackle Project will be delivering 150 bags of food to the homebound in Geauga County.
- In February 2024, Tackle Project participants plan to volunteer for a local “A Night to Shine” special needs prom sponsored by the The Tim Tebow Foundation.
REFLECTIONS on the TACKLE PROJECT
It feels good helping people in need. It brings the whole community together and blends it with our football family.
It's a great feeling to be a part of something bigger than myself. It's awesome knowing I get to help people that need it. I've learned to not take things for granted.
When you do these projects, you realize how lucky and blessed you are in life. It gives you this amazing sense of satisfaction knowing you helped people in their time of need.
We are building more than football players in Chardon. We’re building boys into men who can successfully lead others and conquer any adversity they encounter in life while knowing they will forever have a football family to lean on if needed.