Education

Halsey Street’s “Gridiron Mom” is raising $7,000, by Celia Weintrob, Brooklyn Bridge Rotary Club

 

Everyone in the neighborhood knows the famous “Orange House.”

Shiretta Felton spent her son’s college years decorating the exterior of her Bedford  Stuyvesant home with orange and blue flag, footballs,streamers, tulle bows, huge laminated photos of him in uniform, and inspirational signs.

Each time Lance Felder came home from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he played tight end for the Lincoln Lions, he found something new draped on the house, stoop or iron fence, all lovingly placed by his biggest fan — his mom.

The self-proclaimed “Gridiron Mom” has held weekly stoop sales and raffles in front of her Halsey Street home for the past few years, to raise tuition money. “Football helped him get through school,” Felton, 54, said. “When he got on the gridiron, the behavioral problems that popped up as a teen just went away.”

The family’s past few years have been fraught with difficulties. Felton’s mother and sister died within five months of each other in 2015, she said, followed by the death of her grandmother, at 100, in 2016.

“So I needed to find a way to keep my son in school, while taking care of my family, so I just started selling stuff in my front yard,” Felton said. She raised $2,000 the first year, and still has $7,000 more to go.

Now that he’s out of college, Felder, a Health Science major, is pursuing a professional football career while working towards his personal training certificate.

Felton’s next big project is all about job interviews and first jobs for the 750 male students attending Lincoln U. “I’m asking people to donate business suits, button-down shirts, ties and dress shoes, so these young men, who are from modest, middle class families have what they need to succeed in the next step of their lives.”

Despite her financial and emotional struggles, Felton is a big believer in doing for others, which keeps her going. “Service to others is the rent I pay to occupy space on this earth!” she proudly proclaims. “No matter how hard things get, never ever give up. With faith, all things are possible.”

To donate money and/or suits call/text/email: (347) 353-4907, gridironmom44@gmail.com,  or go to paypal.me/shirettafelton, or cashappme@$gridironmom.

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