CHICAGO (WLS) -- There was a celebration on the South Side Friday as football players and cheerleaders are headed to Florida to represent Chicago in the national championships.
"I'm very excited I can't wait to get down there and settle in and get ready to play ball," running back Jayvon Anderson said.
The trip of a lifetime was made possible by community activist Early Walker and local businesses that raised more than $60,000 in 72 hours - double the amount they hoped to raise.
"These boys deserve this," Walker said. "This is what it's about. This is community. These sports organizations are what's going to be the median for stopping the violence in Chicago."
The entire community came out to send them off on Friday, including some aldermen and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown.
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"This is the things we need to be doing, instead of talking negative about our young people, let's talk positive and let's send positive vibes to our young people," Brown said.
Former President Barack Obama has been a strong supporter of the team, paying them a visit earlier this year and calling in Friday to wish them good luck.
"You guys handle business and I couldn't be prouder of you, and prouder of the team," Obama said.
The community really came out for these kids, and rightfully so. Their talent on the football field and with the cheer squad is one thing, but off the field, all of these kids are also boasting a GPA above 3.0.
"The reason I'm shedding some tears today is because I know youth sports work, and it's a vehicle to saving lives," Coach Ernest Radcliffe said.