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JuJu on the big screen

Posted Dec 11, 2017

JuJu Smith-Schuster hosted a movie screening for kids and seniors in the Pittsburgh area.

For a kid, going to the movies and enjoying popcorn and soft drinks with your friends is definitely a perfect way to spend an evening.

And for senior citizens, it’s the same special feeling.

But when you add on top of that going to the movies with JuJu Smith-Schuster, well let’s just say fun goes to a whole new level.

Smith-Schuster hosted around 200 individuals from the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Bike Pittsburgh and Beyond Type 1 for an advanced screening of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle at the AMC Waterfront 22 on Monday night.

“For me, I have a huge heart for the senior citizens,” said Smith-Schuster. “The kids too. It’s awesome to be here. To have the preview showing of Jumanji, this is great.

“I didn’t think there would be this many people. It’s a great crowd. I am seeing more and more people wearing my jersey, so it’s exciting. This is fun.”

And yes, everyone, especially Smith-Schuster, had a great time.

“This is so special to us because it’s an intergenerational audience,” said Laura Poskin, the United Way project manager for senior initiatives. “He comes from a multi-generational family. He reached out to the United Way and wanted to volunteer with the seniors. We have older adults and their grandkids with Open your Hearts to Seniors with us here and it’s special.

“We are always trying to find events and programs that are good for all ages. We are excited JuJu wanted to have an intergeneration audience. We commend him for wanting to make this happen.”

The evening kicked off with a bit of a meet and greet and photos with Smith-Schuster, and then it was off to the movies, which was made possible by Columbia Pictures and Roc Nation.

It was also a chance for Smith-Schuster to reconnect with some friends he met through the United Way, including a special friend, Earl Russell. Smith-Schuster met Russell when he delivered food to him through Meals on Wheels. Once he spoke to Russell, he learned that the batteries in his electric wheelchair no longer worked, and he couldn’t afford to pay for them. So Smith-Schuster foot the bill.

“I didn’t know who he was at first, but it was awesome,” said Russell. “For him to do for me what he did, that was even more awesome. He volunteered to fix my wheelchair and make sure it was okay. I am so grateful. I am more than grateful. For him to do what he did, it was a blessing. He is remarkable. He is someone special. He is beyond spectacular. That is the best way I can put it. I really appreciate him from the bottom of my heart.”