Problem Solvers update: Donations allow youth football team to play in national championship

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DENVER — The Montebello Falcons Youth Football team is headed to San Diego.

The team won the right to play for a national title in San Diego in January. The travel, entry fees and hotels cost around $10,000. The team is from a low income area of Denver, and did not think they would have enough money to play. So they reached out to the Fox 31 Problem Solvers for help.

Within two days of airing their story, the community donated more than $12,000 on the team’s Go Fund Me page. They have accepted the league’s invitation to play.

We asked their coach to call an emergency practice to talk about the upcoming game. But the Problem Solvers had one more donation to give the team as a surprise.

“When we heard your story I can not tell you how our employees got so excited,” a Southwest Airlines spokesperson told the team.

Southwest Airlines donated round trip tickets from Denver to San Diego for the entire team and their coaches.

“It feels good because I’ve been with the Falcons my whole life since I was playing flag football and since we’re finally here it’s a big relief,” said player Jaderris Carr.

“We’re so blessed, I guess you could say, to have this opportunity,” Falcons player Braylen Nelson said.

While the boys cheered and smiled with pride, the reactions from their parents were even better.

“I literally got tears in my eyes,” said mother Yoala Rodriguez. “I can’t believe there are such good people because there is no way I would have been able to pay for it.”

With all of the bad in the world, Rodriguez says it is amazing to see so much good.

“People donated five dollars, fifteen dollars. It just tells you that any little drop of kindness makes a difference,” she said.

The team says it will use some of the extra money to pay it forward in San Diego. One coach wants to take the boys to feed the homeless there. They will save the rest of the donated funds for next season.