Rosie Gorena is no stranger to stepping up when help is needed. Thus, when she found out that the Brownsville Veterans Memorial football coaching staff was making their team’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by themselves before every game, she took it upon herself to step in and assist in the effort.
Gorena then assembled a handful of parent volunteers, who call themselves the PB&J club, that makes the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the boys before every game.
“I wanted to make myself available and step in and help because I know it takes a lot of hard work and not just from the coaches,” Gorena said. “I always make myself available to help the coaches out in any way.”
Gorena, a librarian at Brownsville Memorial, doesn’t just make pregame meals for the team, she also opens up the library and her office to house football players who want to chat or just need a safe space.
“A lot of the football players come in and have lunch and to me that gives them another avenue instead of having to hang out outside, I’d much rather have them in here,” Gorena said. “That way they have a safe place that they can come to and they know that whatever they need I can definitely try to help them out.”
Though she helped out when her two grandsons were in middle school, Gorena’s volunteer efforts were heightened after her daughter passed away four years ago and she became the legal guardian of the two boys, who now play football for Veterans Memorial.
“I believe that God gave me a second chance to be a parent and I do my best to get them on the right track,” Gorena said. “If it takes being there at their extracurricular activities for them to know that they can count on me, then this is what I will do. Hopefully, it means as much to them as it does to me and that I’m going to be there.”
Despite the tragic circumstances, Gorena says that taking over as the guardian of the two boys has been a humbling but exciting experience.
“I believe that God gave me a second chance to be a parent and I do my best to get them on the right track. “It’s been very humbling, I only have another child and he’s 40 years old, so I haven’t had little boys at my home since then,” Gorena said. “I’m excited to be a part of a football organization that’s very involved with children and it’s just been a wonderful experience for me.”
Gorena and her team will continue their efforts throughout the season and have also organized several fundraisers to help them reach their season goal of raising enough funds to purchase a
new inflatable tunnel. Though Gorena says a new tunnel would be incredible, her main goal is to continue to foster relationships with the team so that they know that she cares and is always there for them.
“I honestly really enjoy being there for others, I really do,” Gorena said. “They know that they can count on us to be there for them, no matter what. Whether we win or lose we’ll always be there helping for them. We just do them to show them that we care and that we are going to be there for him. It’s a very memorable thing for them.”