Giving area kids hope

The Steelers commitment to their community continued when another donation through the Steelers Social Justice Grant program was announced.

The program, which is led by the players themselves, is an effort to engage with various factions, including law enforcement, charitable organizations, military and more to strengthen the community at large.

Steelers' players are doing their part to make a difference, aiding organizations financially and by giving their time to local organizations.

The most recent donation was made to the Homewood Children's Village, a United Way Agency, with players donating and the team also contributing, for a total of $30,000. Cameron Heyward and Coach Mike Tomlin were on hand to make the presentation.

"I think it's the personal involvement of the players and doing this in partnership with the team is what makes this initiative different," said Bob Nelkin, CEO of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. "It's broad scale, there are a lot of players involved and they have chosen their favorite causes. The team agreed with those causes. It's coming together perfectly.

"That makes it more personal. It's not just writing a check and not knowing where the money is going. This is directed giving, understanding where your money is going. It might be causes that they understand, they have experienced in their own lives or others they care for. They want to make sure they make a difference."

The mission of the Homewood Children's Village is to improve the lives of Homewood's children and simultaneously reweave the fabric of the community in which they live. They engage with the kids in the community from birth, through school and to help them find a career. The programs they offer take place during school, after school and in the summer months.

Heyward was among the players donating, doing so because he understands the battles many in the area face.

"It's a tough part of the city," said Heyward. "There are kids growing up there that don't have some of the same benefits kids in other parts of Pittsburgh have. I thought it could help that area.

"We have a responsibility to our city to give back. What better way to give back than show we care and help those in the communities that need it. We have to make sure we do our part."

Doing their part is exactly what the players have been doing. The locker room banded together to help in the community through this program, reaching so many different facets. And the results are showing.

"It's awesome," said Heyward. "Guys don't have to, but the fact that we are willing to participate, give our resources and time, it's huge. There are guys who can do a lot, and we are just trying to do that."