Allen believes in paying it forward


Paying it forward. It's something that can be as simple as holding a door, sharing kind words, or buying a cup of coffee for a stranger simply because someone did something to help you one day. They are acts that we all think about doing, but sometimes forget the meaning they can have.

Steelers' safety Will Allen, though, is one that never forgets the importance of paying it forward. He knows he was given a lot of help along his path to the NFL, from family, friends, coaches and even strangers. And he never, ever, hesitates when he has the chance to help someone else out – whether it's a stranger or a friend.

Allen recently did his part to pay it forward, helping a young football player and some deserving families through the Will Allen Foundation.

Allen was made aware of a middle school kid who was attending his football camp in Columbus, Ohio who didn't have football cleats. Allen made sure that young athlete, who wears a size 14, was taken care of.

He also helped eight families in the Pittsburgh area, many who will never know he did so, but being a "layaway angel" and paying off their layaway at K-Mart for back-to-school needs for their kids.

"We just want to do random acts of kindness," said Allen. "It helps people you might never see or know, but that's how we operate as a foundation. A lot of families struggle. It's hard. To help them and let them know someone has their back, we are here to help. It's what we want to do."

Allen plans on doing the same type of thing around the holidays, helping to make a magical time of year even more so for families in Columbus, Dayton and Pittsburgh, areas where he has played and lives.

"It's humbling to be able to do it," said Allen. "I have been blessed to play football for so long. I have had a lot of people help me along the way. I feel like it's my responsibility to keep doing that. There are so many things people can do to help others out. Helping our community, building it the right way, is important. You hope that those you impact will try and impact others."

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