On October 10, eight San Francisco 49ers players partnered with Furry Friends Pet-Assisted Therapy Services to come to Leland High School in San Jose, creating an unforgettable experience for students with special needs. Niner Noise was on hand for the event.
San Francisco 49ers players Dontae Johnson, Garrett Celek, Joshua Garnett, Bradley Pinion, Raheem Mostert, Jimmie Gilbert, Erik Magnuson and Chanceller James all showed up at Leland High School in San Jose, California — to support the Furry Friends Pet-Assisted Therapy program — less than two days after their heartbreaking overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts on the road, but were all filled with positive energy when interacting with the students.
The Niners played charades, Uno and even Xbox with the kids. When they weren’t playing games, the players struck up conversations with the students, talking about their experience playing in the NFL, traveling on the road to away games and even about the Patriots to one curious New England fan.
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Magunson enjoyed helping the students out at the event:
"I had a lot of fun doing this event. It’s really cool when you give back to the community and the high school. I had fun working with these kids, and it was awesome to see them have a smile on their face and brighten up their day a little bit.Just the fact that they’re going through their own hardships, if we get to come here, help them out, and if it makes their day a little easier, then we did our job. Anytime you get to put a smile on a kid’s face, it’s worth it."
The event was especially important to Johnson to fulfill his goals of helping out the community as a professional athlete.
The cornerback described the feeling:
"Coming out here and meeting a bunch of kids, having dogs in the classroom, and playing childhood games like Uno, it was just fun. It was fantastic. It was a great group of students, and it was just wonderful.This has always been meaningful to me. When I was growing up, I never had professional athletes come back to see me, and I said to myself that if I made it to the next level, I wanted to do that. The main thing was just giving back and more so just for an experience that I never had. I wanted to give back to something that I never had."
Johnson more than fulfilled his goal with his constant and joyful interaction with the students in the special education department at Leland High School.
All of the players who came and the kids they played with for two hours had a nice and much-needed moment of pure satisfaction.