Will Allen understands the importance of giving back. He knows the impact it can have on a child, an adult, or anyone in the community.
It's something that is a passion for him, so much so he started his own foundation, the Will Allen Foundation, in 2008 to 'inspire youth to attain their personal best' and have an influence in the lives of families in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio, his college town of Columbus, Ohio and then Tampa Bay, Florida where he played. Since he signed with the Steelers in 2010 he expanded those efforts to the Pittsburgh community.
Will Allen is active in a variety of ways throughout the Pittsburgh community . Check out some photos of Will supporting his favorite charities.
Now, Allen is being justly recognized for his efforts as he is the Steelers nominee for the NFLPA's Byron Whizzer White Award.
"I am just thankful," said Allen. "I try hard to represent what it means to give back and help others, to help my community, to inspire people to want to help others. To be selected by my teammates and be recognized by the NFLPA is pretty cool."
The award, named after White who not only played in the NFL but went on to be a Supreme Court Justice, annually honors one player in the league for his dedication to his team, country and community.
Allen's foundation has three main programs, Quest for Real Life Success, The Big Play and the REACH, all focused on improving the lives of others.
"It's about realizing how you came up and people helping you along the way, inspiring and motivating you," said Allen. "People were there to help me and I felt like I needed to do something. I have a lot of knowledge, tools and wisdom to give, so why not give it."
That wisdom isn't lost on his teammates either, who nominated Allen for the award and see the impact he makes in the community.
"You just lead by example," said Allen. "That is the best thing that you can do. If guys have questions or want to ask how things are done, you educate and help them and you help. You don't keep it a secret. You lead by example, do the best practices and be responsible so guys can learn."