Sharing at the holidays

By Teresa Varley They shared their opinion on color, style and fit, offering fashion advice throughout the evening. But more importantly, Steelers players shared their time and hearts with teens who needed a boost.

Players took a group of local at-risk teens shopping as a part of "Shop With A Steeler" at American Eagle Outfitters at Ross Park Mall. The 24 kids, all from KidsVoice, a United Way Agency, each had a $200 shopping spree for them to purchase clothing for themselves or holiday gifts for other family members.
"You always try to give back as much as possible," said offensive tackle Willie Colon. "A lot of these kids are definitely in need. You not only try to help them look for some good clothes, but you try to get some insight as to where they are at and give them some positive feedback and be there for them.

"There are a lot of kids out there that are struggling. If they can spend some time with us and bring a little light to their day - that is important."

Joining Colon were teammates Dennis Dixon, Doug Legursky, Mewelde Moore, Ryan Mundy, Jeff Reed, Deshea Townsend and Greg Warren.
"Any time of year you can give back to the community it's important, but this time of year when the weather is changing and kids are in need it's important we give of our time to get them some warm clothes for the winter," said Reed, a regular participant in the event. "One of the first things one of the kids I shopped with said was I don't know what we are doing here. I told him I am here for you guys. These are some unfortunate situations some of these kids are in. The clothes they get are important, but the quality time is just as important."
The kids who took part are all served by KidsVoice, an agency that provides a voice for those who often times aren't heard in the court systems and beyond, making sure that they are protected and taken care of.
"It's a wonderful opportunity," said Jennifer Staley, supervisor and program and policy coordinator for KidsVoice. "They would never have this otherwise. It's wonderful that the Steelers and American Eagle would do it for them, especially this time of year when a lot of them don't have anyone. It's important to the kids. They are excited to see the players and each other."
Dixon was one of the most enthusiastic shoppers, grabbing a hat off the racks right off the bat and sporting it all night, and then selecting hats for his shoppers as well.
"I am having a blast," said Dixon. "I was a kid once. To be a part of this and having people smile goes a long way. I am happy to be able to do it. It's that time of the year to be giving. I am happy to be a part of it. I am having a blast.
"I love shopping. I have a fetish for it. I put my pride into it. I am sure these kids are too. They are taking my tips. It always looks good in the store, but it's a good feeling once you put new clothes on."

And while Dixon admitted to his love of shopping, Reed took a different stance.

"I hate shopping myself, but when it comes to something like this I am really helpful," said Reed. "I understand what it means. If I am with my girlfriend or mom, I am like my back is killing me, are you done yet. But when I am with these kids I would do anything for them."

To view the full photo gallery by Teresa Varley click on Shop With A Steeler and go to Off The Field.

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