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Community Corner: Giving from the heart

Thursday, January 12

Giving from the heart: Arthur Maulet knows how important it is to give back, especially when it comes to giving back to people who are in the same situation he was once in.

Maulet visited Second Avenue Commons, a shelter in Pittsburgh's downtown area for those experiencing homelessness. He distributed coats to people to help fight off the bitter cold winter temperatures in Pittsburgh and spent time talking to people, and even more importantly, listening to them.

And for Maulet, it was personal as he himself experienced homelessness when he was growing up in New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward, a story he shared during the season.

"Tough neighborhood. Didn't have much," said Maulet. "I was the oldest of five, two brothers, two sisters. Just trying to survive. Welfare family. No mother. Mother on drugs. Dad not in my life. My grandfather took care of us when we were smaller.

"I was homeless for a point in time in my life. Sleeping on a church bus. Dropped out of school twice. A long road."

That is why Maulet has made it his passion to give back to others battling similar circumstances.

"It's very important to me," said Maulet. "It's close to my heart. Something that I have been through, so I know what they are going through. For me to be in the position I am now and being able to give back, I think it's a must. It's a core value in my life to give back to people in need. People being homeless is close to my heart.

"I am just trying to take care of people, be there for them, let them know they aren't forgotten, and somebody is thinking about them."

For Maulet, spending time at the shelter was a key as he wanted people to know he is there to help.

"Anything I do as far as giving back I want to be hands on," said Maulet. "That is a must for me. I am a ground guy. I want to be in the mix. I don't want to just donate and not be a helping hand. It means a lot for me to be there. I will continue to be there with anything where I am giving back."

Thursday, January 5


Coming together: The Steelers continued their Social Justice film screening program on Thursday evening, holding the most recent one at the August Wilson African American Culture Center.

Punter Pressley Harvin III and quarterback Mitch Trubisky hosted the screening, which also included a tour of the August Wilson African American Culture Center. They also held a discussion with the students who attended the screening.

The program was launched in 2021 by the team's Social Justice Committee, with players joining youth from local schools and community groups, giving them an opportunity to talk about issues in society that are currently impacting them.

Tuesday, January 3


Giving support: Tyson Alualu and his wife, Desire, visited the Teen Parent Program at Brashear High School in Pittsburgh, talking with the students about their experiences and providing them the encouragement and support they need.

Alualu and his wife also made a donation to each of those taking part to help them with the challenges they face, challenges they can understand first hand as they were young parents.

"It's part of our story, me and my wife," said Alualu. "It's something God put in her heart, and once she mentioned it, I thought I wish we had done this earlier. That's a big part of how we started our journey. We understand the struggle of having kids early and having to grow up with that.

"We wanted to share our story and provide hope, helping kids understand they can still live out their dreams if they have the right people around them and the right mindset. It wasn't just my story; it was my wife's story which connected with a lot of the teen moms. It meant a lot to us."

2022 Events

Friday, December 16

A warm welcome: Pittsburgh is a city that is welcoming to immigrants and refugees, and on Friday two Steelers players who immigrated to the United States themselves spoke to a group of students going through the same thing.

Safety Karl Joseph spoke to students from ARYSE, an organization that began in 2013 as a grassroots effort led by local refugee leaders and University of Pittsburgh undergraduate students who realized that the refugee youth they were tutoring were experiencing unique challenges in an educational system that was not designed for them. The program has grown by leaps and bounds, and Joseph was there to let them know what they can accomplish through believing in themselves.

Joseph was born in Haiti and came to the United States when he was 13, experiencing challenges along the way.

"This was a great opportunity for me," said Joseph. "I was born in Haiti. I couldn't pass up the chance to speak to them, coming from the same environment. Not a lot who come from Haiti make it here. I am hoping I can be a light to somebody, some young boy, who might see me and see they can potentially get there with whatever they choose to do in life. I am proof of that. I came from that.

"I came here when I was 13 and I have had good influences, my mom, dad, people in my life. Hopefully something I say or seeing me can impact me in a way I could never imagine, and they can realize they can do it too.

"It doesn't matter what your environment is, anything is possible. People come from different backgrounds. As long as you have people in your corner who believe in you and you believe in yourself, and you work hard and have perseverance, make good choices, good things will happen. I am passionate about that. I have seen kids make bad choices, kids no different than me, make bad choices."

Tuesday, December 13


Hometown Huddle: Steelers players spent Tuesday afternoon at ACH Clear Pathway as a part of the team's United Way Hometown Huddle.

The Steelers have been taking part in the Hometown Huddle, done in conjunction with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, for over 20 years.

The program brings the players and local youth together for fun activities that stress the importance of health and fitness, as well as the key to having fun activities in everyday life.

Benny Snell Jr., Josh Jackson, Miles Boykin, Tre Norwood, Jamir Jones and Malik Reed took part, participating in stations that included a rock, paper, scissors challenge, an activity wheel, slime and making healthy snacks.


Friday, December 9

A dream come true: Friday was a dream come true for 13-year-old Ethan Amundsen, who was the guest of the Steelers to watch practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Amundsen, who is a diehard Steelers fan, is having a Pittsburgh everything weekend, with it starting off on Thursday with a tour of the Steelers Hall of Honor Museum at Acrisure Stadium.

But watching practice on Friday was more than the shy Amundsen could have imagined.

"I don't even know how to put it into words," said his mother, Whitney Amundsen. "My son had a kidney transplant in 2021 and this has been delayed because of COVID. We had this big build up for it. He fights every day. Having a bum kidney was just awful.

"Seeing him watch these players that he idolizes makes me cry. He is happy. He is a shier kid because of all of the medical. He is not used to having the spotlight on him in a non-medical way. He tries to hide a lot because he is so used to everybody asking if he is okay all of the time.

"For him to have it celebrated in a positive way and not a medical way, and for him to watch his idols, there is not words for that as a parent for your child."

The fun isn't over yet, though. Amundsen and his family will be the guests of the Steelers at Sunday's game against the Ravens at Acrisure Stadium.

A special design: Defensive end Montravius Adams is taking part in My Cause My Cleats on Sunday when the Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens at Acrisure Stadium, and he is supporting his foundation, the Montravius Adams Legacy Foundation, to help those who grew up in a similar environment as he did – a single parent home.

His mother was there for him for everything he needed growing up, and he wants to help other single mothers in similar situations, as well as kids.

"I started the foundation through my experiences in life," said Adams. "It's about supporting single moms. That is my background and how I was raised. That is my main passion in life. It's about the single moms and also, I want to give back to kids. It goes 50-50 for me."

Adams wanted to make his cleats unique, so on Friday he visited Center of Life, which supports people in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh as they strive to be strong and to make their community strong to have kids who are part of their programs paint his cleats.

Spreading some joy: Guard Kendrick Green and punter Pressley Harvin III pulled off a big surprise on Friday with a family through Uplifting Athletes.

Uplifting Athletes goal is to help families dealing with rare illnesses to harness the power of sports to build a community that invests in the lives of people impacted by rare diseases.

The Blaik family, who are dealing with someone with a rare disease, was treated to a tour of Acrisure Stadium and afterwards Green and Harvin surprised them with tickets to Sunday's Steelers-Falcons game.

Spreading some joy: Guard Kendrick Green and punter Pressley Harvin III pulled off a big surprise on Friday with a family through Uplifting Athletes.

Uplifting Athletes goal is to help families dealing with rare illnesses to harness the power of sports to build a community that invests in the lives of people impacted by rare diseases.

The Blaik family, who are dealing with someone with a rare disease, was treated to a tour of Acrisure Stadium and afterwards Green and Harvin surprised them with tickets to Sunday's Steelers-Falcons game.

Tuesday, December 6

Always giving back: On the day he was announced as the Steelers Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, Cameron Heyward was doing something he loved.

He was out in the community.

"I am very thankful to be the Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee," said Heyward. "I don't take it lightly. I know I have a lot of great men in my locker room who give back. Being a Pittsburgh Steeler and seeing the guys who won the Walter Payton Man of the Year, guys nominated, it's a history and tradition you want to be a part of. I would love to win but being among men who serve not only on the field but off the field as well, it's pretty special."

Heyward was at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, part of Pittsburgh Public Schools, the newest location for Craig's Closet.

Heyward launched Craig's Closet in 2018 to honor his father, the late Craig 'Ironhead' Heyward, who died of brain cancer at age 39. Heyward played football at the University of Pittsburgh, and when he arrived as a freshman running back, he had only one suit, something he was grateful to at least have coming from a single-parent home with six siblings.

With so many young men in Pittsburgh facing the same challenge of not having a suit that they could wear to a job interview, their internship, events and more, Heyward came up with a plan. Craig's Closet provides free dress clothes to help young men as they move forward in life.

"The idea came from my dad," said Heyward. "When he grew up, he only had one suit. A lot of his friends didn't have suits at all. This is a creative way we thought of to give back to the community and help prepare young men for jobs, or homecoming, moving forward in life. You never know how much a suit can help present yourself.

"We're just trying to prepare these kids for the future, helping out any way we can. Many young people in our community face that same plight as my father. I want them to know they are seen, heard and through this program we are there to support them as they push forward with their future goals. We want to raise the student's level of confidence and sense of self. Like my dad used to always tell me, if you look good, you play good. Hopefully we can do that as well. They will be able to use the suits proudly at banquets, in internships, and formal events with their heads held high.

"I am proud to continue his legacy of giving back and helping to move our community forward."

Heyward made a pledge to install one of Craig's Closets in every Pittsburgh Public Schools high school location by the end of 2023.
Vote for Heyward: Now through Jan. 8, 2023, fans can vote for Cam Heyward for the Walter Payton Man of the Year on Twitter by using the hashtag #WPMOYChallenge and including Heyward's last name and/or his Twitter handle anywhere within the tweet. All eligible tweets during the "double vote" window on January 3 and 4 will count twice. The player whose name is used the most during the contest with #WPMOYChallenge will receive a $25,000 contribution to his designated charity, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, respectively, all courtesy of Nationwide.

Take a look at images of Steelers' 2022 WPMOY nominee Cameron Heyward giving back to the community

Tuesday, November 29

Helping at the holidays: Steelers Legends are among those giving back this holiday season, including Will Allen, Charlie Batch and Jerome Bettis.

And Steelers fans can help.

All three are providing toys and gifts for kids and families in the Pittsburgh community, and you can help by clicking on the links below.

Will Allen Foundation

The Will Allen Foundation Holiday Giving Program provides gift cards to youth from Clairton School District and Boys and Girls Clubs of Western PA to purchase gifts for their families. More than 60 volunteers join the foundation for a night of shopping and help kids select gifts for all of their family members. This program makes the difference between choosing to pay rent or the utility bill and having presents under the tree. Donate Now.

Best of the Batch Foundation

Batch-A-Toys is a community-wide program where Best of the Batch Foundation adopts more than 250 families from various counties and provides toys to children, essential household items to adults, and a holiday meal basket for the entire family. More than 8,000 toys and household items are donated through the Foundation's incredible volunteers, donors, and partner sites; more than 250 volunteers at our annual Wrapping Party at the Clubhouse then wrap the donations. Donate Now.

Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation

The Bus Stops Here holiday toy drive is under way and fans can donate through their site. The foundation is working to provide education, sports, technology, and recreational opportunities to the underprivileged youth of the inner-city. The toy drive, though, helps kids and families who might not otherwise have something under the tree on Christmas morning. Donate Now.

Friday, November 18

Amazing strength: The strength, resiliency and courage that 14-year-old Morgan O'Connell shows is something that can be an inspiration to many, but on Friday he was inspired by his visit to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex where he was the guest of the Steelers through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

O'Connell, who is from Syracuse, N.Y., has Ewing Sarcoma, a form of cancer that has impacted him in many ways, including losing one of his legs.

"Since I was young, football was my dream," said O'Connell. "Going through cancer and losing my leg didn't take that dream away from me but revamped how I had to get there. Meeting the Steelers and trying to introduce myself with the team and what they do was one of the greatest ways to get involved and back into football. I also wanted to meet some of my favorite players and a team I looked up to for a while and be a part of it."

O'Connell said the visit has inspired him, making him realize no dream is unattainable.

"It is motivational," said O'Connell. "Even though I had these challenges, if I can keep working and doing the stuff I am doing, I can get back here or find somewhere else to go that will get me that comfort that football and doing the things I love has given me."

O'Connell had the opportunity to meet many of the players, get autographs and pictures, and will be the guest of the team at Sunday's game against the Bengals at Acrisure Stadium.

"It's overwhelming. It's exciting," said O'Connell. "It's shocking and unexpected to be here. I knew I would be here, but it's unexpected."

The Steelers grant the wish of a Steelers fan from Syracuse, NY

Tuesday, November 15

Rescuing food to help others: Linebacker T.J. Watt returned to the playing field on Sunday, making his presence known in the Steelers win over the New Orleans Saints.

Two days later he made his presence known in the Pittsburgh community, working hand in hand with 412 Food Rescue, an organization he has been affiliated with for several years now.

"I always enjoy getting involved in the community, and 412 Food Rescue has been a great opportunity for me to get out there and let them know I care about what they are doing," said Watt, who was joined by his wife Dani helping out. "I want to get involved as much as possible. 412 Food Rescue provides so many meals for families that don't necessarily have the opportunity to afford food, especially with Thanksgiving and all of the holidays coming up. It's a way to give back."

Watt helped to pack food at the Millvale Good Food Project, a hunger relief program operated by 412 Food Rescue that transforms surplus foods in healthy, heat-and-eat meals and groceries that are distributed to area residents dealing with food insecurity. Over 500 grocery bags are packed and disturbed weekly in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh.

"Food insecurity is something that people can't always control their circumstances," said Watt. "We understand everyone is trying their best, but sometimes you need a helping hand. That is what we are trying to provide. A lot of these families have young kids who don't control the situation they are born into. To be able to help out as much as possible is awesome."

Watt began working with the agency in 2019, choosing to team with 412 Food Rescue, a Pittsburgh based organization that was founded as a response to the disconnect between food waste, hunger and environmental sustainability, because he knows the importance of having proper nutrition and not having to worry about where your next meal is coming from.

The efforts of 412 Food Rescue are made possible by their affiliation with local distributors, mom and pop stores, chain restaurants and urban farms all with the goal of not letting quality food go to waste.

"I think it's important to let everyone know who is donating, those who might want to donate, that everything is getting used," said Watt. "The food is not discarded. It's going to good use and going to make a lot of people happy."

Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt helped package meals for families through 412 Food Rescue

The silver lining: The Steelers continued their Social Justice film screening program on Tuesday morning at the AMC Loews Theater Waterfront.

Defensive tackle Cameron Heyward hosted the latest screening which featured the movie, 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,' the sequel to 'Black Panther.'

Over 600 students from Pittsburgh Public Schools, as a part of a partnership with the Steelers, 1HOOD, Homewood Children's Village, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, Homeless Children's Education Fund, A+ Schools, and Movie Scene Queen, are seeing the movie for free over two days, with a group of them taking part in the discussion with Fitzpatrick and Heyward.

"I think it's awesome providing kids not only the opportunity to see movies, but to see people of color in these really cool roles is huge," said Heyward. "Then to be able to talk to them, it goes a long way. We talk to them about what built up to the movie, what transpires and just understanding people of color can thrive in these really cool opportunities."

The program was launched in 2021 by the team's Social Justice Committee, with players joining youth from local schools and community groups, giving them an opportunity to talk about issues in society that are currently impacting them.

"To see the positive side and find the silver lining is important," said Heyward. "We provide different ways of how we can continue to have talks and grow."


Friday, November 11

In her happy place: The smile, the expression, the complete joy on Chloe Fittro's face and in her heart said it all.

She was truly in her happy place on Friday afternoon.

Fittro, a 15-year-old cancer patient from Clarksburg, West Virginia, was the guest of the Steelers at practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"It's really special," said Fittro. "I like meeting all of the players. My favorite players are Najee Harris and T.J. Watt and I get to meet them."

Fittro watched practice in the indoor practice field, and when it was over the entire team made their way to the sideline to say hi to her, take pictures and sign autographs, Watt even presenting her with signed gloves.

"My family have been Steelers fans for a long time, and they got me to be one," said Fittro. "I really enjoy watching them. I love how they all play together as one, how close they all are. This is just so special."

Fittro and her family will also be guests of the team at the Steelers-Saints game on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium.

"I am really excited," she said with a squeal. "This is just so special. Just seeing the guys out there…I am going to melt."

The Steelers grant the wish of a young Steelers fan from Clarksburg, West Virginia

Tuesday, November 8

Getting their hands dirty: Steelers rookies spent Tuesday afternoon getting their hands dirty and it was all for a good cause.

The players spent time at the Sheridan Avenue Orchard and Garden, a fruit and vegetable producing garden in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood.

The Sheridan Avenue Orchard and Garden was developed in 2012, turning an abandoned lot into an urban garden by Repair the World Pittsburgh.
It has since grown from a vacant lot to have more than 20 fruit trees and 18 garden beds, where neighbors can get free produce like tomatoes and peppers, as well as items being donated to the local food pantry.

The job at hand was helping to complete a pathway that will make the garden more accessible for residents, a project that was started by Cameron Heyward and some of his veteran teammates during Cam's Kindness Week in October.

"They worked on the path to make it more accessible for the community to come and learn about food justice and participate in making food more available to the community while building relationships with each other," said Jules Mallis, executive director of Repair the World Pittsburgh. "Repair the World Pittsburgh supports a lot of community gardens and food justice initiatives. This one at Sheridan in particular supports the local community through harvesting about 400 to 500 pounds of produce a year that comes fresh from this space and then goes immediately to the East End Cooperative Food pantry.

"This season we are building out the pathway so people have an easier time getting through the space. Folks can feel welcome to visit and pick fruit right from a tree."

Mixing it up: Offensive lineman James Daniels understands the importance of being out in the community, giving back and making an impact.

That is why he kicked off a new reading program, visiting local Boys & Girls Clubs to spend time reading to the kids, but also being a positive influence on them.

"I thought it would be a nice thing to do," said Daniels. "I have free time on Tuesdays and it's nice to always give back, do things like this. When you get there, you see how important it is to the kids and the directors of the Boys & Girls Club. It's always nice to see how much it means to them. It makes me happy I can have an impact and affect people's days. It takes such a small part of my day to have that impact."

This week he was at the Boys & Girls Club in Duquesne, where he read to the kids, but also spent time having fun with them in the gym.

"I read for 30 minutes and the other 30 minutes we are in the gym playing basketball or some type of sport," said Daniels. "I remember when I was a kid it was tough to just sit there and listen to someone read. It's nice to have that balance, play basketball, throw around the football. It means a lot to them.

"I enjoy it a lot. It brings a smile to my face how I can have an impact on their day."


Friday, October 28

Trick or treat: It was a ghoulish good time for Steelers players and the kids at The Children's Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center on Friday afternoon, with plenty of Halloween treats on tap.

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky, receiver Gunner Olszewski, and offensive linemen Mason Cole, Trent Scott and J.C. Hassenauer stopped by along with their wives to visit with the kids and do Halloween arts and crafts and have some holiday fun.

"It's important to give back to the community," said Trubisky. "This is a fun way to do so. I've done visits in the past at places like this. You want to bring a smile to faces, light up their day with what they are going through and bring some happiness to their parents. You want to bring hope and joy when you do these things and take their minds off the day-to-day things. Doing this means a lot to my wife and I and we are just happy to help out."

After a tour of the Children's Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center, which has a mission to promote the health and well-being of infants and children through services that establish and strengthen the family, it was all fun and games. The players interacted with kids who are part of the Child's Way day care program and smiles were plentiful.

"It's always fun to do stuff like this," said Scott. "It makes you remember when you were a kid and you loved doing these activities. I have a three-year old daughter, and she has the time of her life doing these things too."


Tuesday, October 25

Keeping kids warm this winter: On an unseasonably warm fall day in Pittsburgh, with temperatures in the 70s, brilliant sunshine, and fall colors sparkling through the trees, it's hard to think about what lies ahead.

As we all know, though, winter is coming and that means cold, wet weather and brutal conditions.

With that in mind, getting prepared is a key. Everyone needs the warm gear to deal with the Pittsburgh winter, but sadly not everyone has the means or ability to secure warm winter outwear.

That is why the Steelers partnered with Project Bundle-Up on Tuesday to take kids shopping for clothes to keep them warm and dry all winter long.

Steelers players were partnered with kids through the Salvation Army Corps to pick out new coats, hats, gloves and boots at Dick's Sporting Goods at the Waterfront.

"I enjoyed it a lot," said tight end Pat Freiermuth. "Being around the kids, seeing their faces light up and their smiles when we walked in. It was great to be around them and get to know them. It was cool being a part of the event, especially the first time I took part in it. I really enjoyed it.

"Being where I am from, I had to wait at the bus stop too. I am thankful that I had a coat, boots, all of the stuff to stay warm. It's huge we were able to give back to them and allow them to get all of the stuff necessary to be warm this winter."

The Salvation Army's Project Bundle-Up is a program started by two late Pittsburgh staples, Patricia Rooney, the wife of late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, and Joe DeNardo, the former WTAE-TV weatherman. This is the 37th year for the program and there is one thing that has been consistent all along, the day is special for the kids and the players alike.

"I had just as much fun as the eighth-grader I was with," said defensive lineman Chris Wormley. "We had a blast together. Not only being able to get a nice coat, boots and shoes for her, but being able to talk about her life. Her family just came from Atlanta, so she was really excited to get stuff for this Pittsburgh winter. It means a lot to be able to give back. To be involved with it, see the smiles on the kids faces, it was really cool."

The idea behind Project Bundle-Up, which has helped nearly 295,000 individuals since it's inception, is to provide outerwear for kids and senior citizens from low-income households throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. For many families with multiple kids, it takes a heavy burden off them, allowing them to provide other necessities for the family.

"I know a lot of the kids that were there were brothers and sisters. The little girl I was with, her younger sister and brother were there," said Wormley. "Knowing that their parents don't have to worry about Christmas coming up, Thanksgiving and the holidays, and things like that. They don't have to worry about bigger ticket items, like coats and boots, that is what is special to be a part of.

"If you walk to school, and I remember days in Toledo, Ohio when I would walk to elementary school and it was only two blocks, but if you didn't have a hat, coats and boots, it wasn't a fun walk. Those kids will appreciate it.

"It was also special because they got to pick things out. Everything they got they chose. It wasn't just handed to them. They were able to have a say and have a spin on their winter gear."

Having that say in what they got made it an interesting challenge for fullback Derek Watt, who shopped with twin six-year-old sisters who wanted everything identical. Unfortunately, they hit a snag along the way.

"Being able to get those kids the necessities they need going into the winter, the colder season here in Pittsburgh," said Watt. "It was also special to walk around with them, hear their stories a little bit and help them pick out some things they can be excited about, that will keep them warm when they play in the snow and head to school. It's completely necessary to have the warm coat, boots and stuff for the cold and the snow.

"The kids don't always understand it, they don't always want to pick out the jacket and warm stuff. I was shopping with twin girls and the one wanted gloves that would not have kept them very warm. I tried to tell her if she went out to play in the snow, they wouldn't be waterproof, they would get wet and cold. We ended up picking different gloves.

"They wanted everything the same and they didn't like any of the hats. They finally found one they liked, but there was only one, so it was a crisis for us. We ended up having to find some middle ground. We ended up settling on a different one that they enjoyed, so it was good. They got all their stuff and had enough for a sweatshirt as well. They ended up getting suited up."

Also taking part in the shopping were linebacker T.J. Watt, quarterback Mitch Trubisky, tight end Zach Gentry, offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer, cornerback Arthur Maulet, safety Karl Joseph and linebacker Chapelle Russell.

The Steelers teamed up with Salvation Army for the annual Project Bundle Up

Cooking up a storm: Throughout the month of October, Steelers players have been cooking up a storm for breast cancer patients and survivors as a part of the Healthy Cooking Demo done in conjunction with UPMC.

The third cooking class was held at the YWCA in the Homewood area and was a hit with the patients and players alike.

"I got a phone call from my doctor's office, and they told me there was this great opportunity to meet the Steelers and learn about healthy eating, which is a good part of going through the cancer process," said Ashley Summers from Crafton, Pa. "I was really excited because we are huge Steelers fans, so it was a win-win both ways.

"It was neat. It was cool to get their feedback about how they eat, how nutrition is good for them on the field and off the field. It was neat to learn together."

Breast cancer survivors and patients undergoing treatment at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and UPMC Hillman were treated to a 'cooking competition' between Steelers offensive linemen John Leglue and Trent Scott.

The players prepared a healthy option for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And the key ingredients were quinoa and kale.

"I do a little cooking in my spare time," said Scott. "It was awesome to come out and show these guys some different recipes they can use. I actually learned myself some ways to use kale and quinoa in recipes, so it was great. I really enjoyed it.

"They enjoyed it. some of them it was new to them, it was new to me too. Everybody enjoyed the recipes, and I will use them at home myself."

While the nutrition aspect is the biggest component, giving those who are going or have gone through a traumatic time a bit of a break is also equally important.

"Any time you can give them relief, a good time, and see us outside our uniforms, see our personalities, it is good," said Scott. "We got to answer some questions. It was good to have one-on-one time with them."

Steelers players took part in a healthy cooking demonstration for breast cancer patients and survivors with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital's nutrition and culinary staff

Tuesday, October 18

Cooking from the heart: Football players love to eat, and some of them don't even mind cooking.

Especially when it's for a good cause.

On Tuesday, the Steelers held their second Healthy Cooking Demo this season, done in conjunction with UPMC as a part of breast cancer awareness month.

Breast cancer survivors and patients undergoing treatment at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and UPMC Hillman were treated to a 'cooking competition' between Steelers defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk and linebacker Robert Spillane.

"My cooking skills are very basic," said Loudermilk, who predicted Spillane is the better cook. "I only really cook when my girlfriend is in town, so it's not a lot. I don't know a lot about cooking, but I can make simple stuff, but not much beyond that.

"I enjoy cooking. I cook every now and then, but I feel like Spillane cooks a lot more than me."

The main message though wasn't who is the better cook, rather stressing the importance of a healthy diet for breast cancer survivors and those undergoing treatment.

"That is a big reason why I got into cooking in college. I wanted to have a healthy, tasty option," said Spillane. "I thought I could do that in the kitchen, combining different flavors, using spices, coming up with new recipes. I have always enjoyed eating first and foremost, but when it's eating healthy and it still tastes good, it's a double plus.

"I enjoy cooking. It's a time to bring people together to share conversations. Any time I get a chance to cook, I love those opportunities."

Among those helping the players with the cooking were chefs from UPMC, as well as Steelers executive chef Kevin Blinn. The players prepared a healthy option for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And the key ingredients were quinoa and kale.

"I love doing this," said Blinn. "It's great we get to support the cancer survivors. And it's great to see our players out and about in the community. It's good for our bodies to eat healthy and being a cancer survivor, you always have to watch what you eat. We do the same thing here at the Steelers, cook healthy so everyone watches what they put in their bodies."

The cooking demo, held at the Champions Club at Acrisure Stadium, took on special meaning for both players as they have someone close to them impacted by breast cancer.

"For me this means a lot because my mom is a breast cancer survivor," said Loudermilk of his mother Stacy Howell. "When I was in high school, junior and senior year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. That has always been something close to my heart, being able to visit with women and talk to the survivors.

"It means a lot to me because I have gone through that with my mom. I am super close to her. I know she was struggling when she went through it. I know because I was in high school, she tried to keep that from me and the rest of my siblings. I pay attention to things, and I saw how much she was struggling with it. For me to be able to go out and do things to help support this cause means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to her too."

Spillane has seen the impact and strength of survivors from Lori Hague, the mother of his fiancé, Shelby Hague.

"People that have gone through that and fought that fight, I take this as an honor to spend the afternoon with them," said Spillane. "My fiancé's mom had breast cancer and anytime I think of somebody who has overcome that fight, I think of her. Lori is a beautiful woman who has gone through a lot, but she won her fight with breast cancer and has moved on. I am really excited that I got to do this and help others."

Steelers players took part in a healthy cooking demonstration for breast cancer patients and survivors with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital's nutrition and culinary staff

A critical conversation: The Steelers hosted their first Social Justice Roundtable this week at the Community Kitchen in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood.

The monthly roundtable was established to introduce the players to social justice issues in the society that are impacting many in the community, as well as give them a platform to discuss topics that are close to them.

The topic for the first one was criminal justice and juvenile justice reform, with a good portion of the conversation focusing on how being wrongly accused can change a person's entire life. They also talked about expungement as a part of the reform system, which is "The process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record. An expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred, essentially removing it from a defendant's criminal record as well as, ideally, the public record," per the American Bar Association.

Members of the Steelers Social Justice Committee, including Kendrick Green, Pressley Harvin and Cameron Sutton, joined representatives from the Players Coalition, PA Innocence Project, who represent people who were wrongly convicted, and Community Kitchen, who provide job training, housing support and mental health resources for people who were previously incarcerated and are trying to re-enter society.

Also on hand were individuals who were wrongly accused of crimes, and in one case it took 20 years before he was freed from jail.

"Being able to hear what these guys said, from their point of view and their stories and the injustice the system has, it was eye-opening," said Harvin. "It kind of made me upset. I don't think it's that hard to do the right thing for people. It's a societal thing where doing the right thing isn't even a thing anymore.

"The biggest take away for me was a perfect world is never perfect. You have to find ways to make a difference. I have to use my voice to make a change, help push things that need to be handled quicker rather than later. That was my takeaway. It was really eye-opening."

Green said listening to the stories from those on hand made him realize that change is needed, and starting the conversation was a good first step for him.

"I felt their frustration," said Green. "I felt empathetic towards those guys. I couldn't imagine going through something like that. It was great to hear their stories. Some of the things they were speaking about was crazy. There is a lot of room for change.

"It starts by showing up and hearing their stories, using our platform to let their stories be heard. And take steps to change things, the reason they are behind bars."

Friday, October 14

Wishes do come true: He waited two years and traveled over 2,000 miles, but Friday afternoon made it all worthwhile for Gary Ludwig.

Ludwig, a 14-year-old from Los Angeles, California, was the guest of the Steelers at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Friday through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"I always liked their colors," said Ludwig. "That is how it started. I like it here a lot. I love the Steelers. I am really happy."

Ludwig couldn't stop smiling as he watched practice, met players and got autographs and pictures with them. Ludwig, who has Wegener's Granulomatosis, will also be the guest of his team at Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Acrisure Stadium.

"There are no words to express the joy I have seeing my son happy," said his mother, Clemencia Ludwig, who was emotional while talking. "He has been looking forward to this. Just him being here really is a wish come true. This is what he wanted. He loves the Steelers. Being from California he has never been here. But this is just amazing."

The Steelers grant the wish of a young Steelers fan from Los Angelos, California

Tuesday, October 11

Cooking for a cause: Football and good food go hand-in-hand, and that was the case on Tuesday when Montravius Adams and J.C. Hassenauer took part in the annual Healthy Cooking Demo with UPMC as a part of breast cancer awareness month.

Breast cancer survivors and patients undergoing treatment at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and UPMC Hillman were treated to a 'cooking competition' between the two Steelers players, with everyone a winner as they got some useful tips for preparing healthy and tasty meals.

One of the key factors for survivors and patients, in addition to the treatment, is maintaining a healthy diet and good nutrition. And what better way to deliver the message than from a few Steelers players.

"I think it's really cool," said survivor Alexis Dedmon from Lewistown, Pa. "They are pretty busy during the season. For them to take the time and show us support, a lot of us have been through a lot, so it meant a lot.

"For me the biggest struggle I have had is changing my diet to a healthy diet. This helped me out a lot. I am super excited to try these recipes on my own. I think it was pretty fabulous."

The cooking demo, which was held at the Best of the Batch Foundation headquarters, featured two players with much different experience in the kitchen. Adams is a newbie when it comes to cooking, while it's a passion for Hassenauer.

"This was a great experience," said Adams. "For me, someone who has never been in the kitchen, it was a blessing. Especially learning how to cook some healthy foods. Just seeing the people that came out today, it's a feeling of being blessed. I appreciate them. We have been struggling a little bit, but to be on the other end of life with people who have been through different things is an eye opener and a blessing to do it."

Hassenauer, who often shares his cooking ventures on his social media accounts, felt comfortable in the kitchen but even felt better giving back.

"It means a lot. It's a passion of mine," said Hassenauer. "To be able to share that with other people is awesome. It's cool to give back, help out those people that might need a little boost.

"It's a true blessing to come out here and cook and do some healthier meals for the cancer patients and survivors. It's good to see them gear up and smile whenever we come in there. We are everyday people, but to them we are more than that. It's cool to put a smile on their face, cook a meal with them and share some time with them."

With the help of some professional chefs, including Steelers executive chef Kevin Blinn, the players prepared a healthy option for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

"It means a lot to the patients," said Lisa Washington, nurse manager for the Women's Cancer Center at Magee. "The patients love the Steelers. We are all Steelers fans. It is just a wonderful thing for them to come out to spend time with us here at the event, answer questions. They are just great. We appreciate everything they do for the patients.

"Our cancer patients are still going through chemo and need a break sometimes. This makes them feel like they are still a part of the community, still a part of life. They are able to enjoy everything with the Steelers coming."

Steelers players took part in a healthy cooking demonstration for breast cancer patients and survivors with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital's nutrition and culinary staff