Steeler Safety Will Allen On The Importance Of Giving
As a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Will Allen is used making an impact on the field. However, the 33-year old Ohio native has also made impacts off the field through his charity group, the Will Allen Foundation. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer spoke with Allen to learn more about the Foundation and what it does in the community.
Allen created the foundation in 2008 while he was still a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. It was an off day for the team and Allen realized he needed to do more than just play football.
“I can’t just be sitting here on my off day, on a Tuesday, and just be watching TV and twiddling my thumbs,” He said. “There’s so much more I can give.”
Having grown up in an underprivileged community himself, Allen was exposed to many organizations and people who helped out kids and their families. Taking inspiration from them, the Will Allen Foundation runs the Quest for Real Life Success program, which helps kids achieve their potential through many school and community programs.
“You never know, when you’re sitting down with that kid, when you’re talking with them, when you’re introducing them to new information, how it will reflect in their lives later on,” Allen said.
Just in time for the Christmas season, Quest for Real Life Success has run a program of its own since 2012, the Holiday Giving Program. Students participating in QRLS take a group of underprivileged kids from the local Boys & Girls Club out shopping for their families. Each child is given a gift card to pay for all the presents.
“We just wanted to bring some hope and some cheer around this time,” Allen said. “We know there are families that are hurting, money may be tight, or they may not just have the opportunity.”
However, Allen has also not forgotten the game he plays for. Last year, he hosted the Wilkinsburg School District football banquet after finding out on Twitter that the team could not afford do so themselves. Allen said he remembers the appreciation he felt during football banquets as a kid and wished to share that with the team.
“Everything you’ve been through, life and on the football field, you guys stuck together and that means something, that hard work, that dedication,” He said. “It means more than just the game.”
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