Just as a group of senior citizens were getting ready for their regular exercise & wellness class at the Catholic Youth Association in Lawrenceville, they quickly found out this class was going to be anything but regular as a group of Steelers players walked in the door to take part with them.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the United Way of Allegheny County teamed up for a Day of Caring event at the Catholic Youth Association.
"It was like wow when they came in," said Cathy Gamble from Lawrenceville. "It's really cool that they were here. They are so down to earth. They don't put themselves above anybody. They are just like us and that is the best part about it. How awesome is it that we exercised and kept up with the Steelers? It's great they support our group here. That is what we need, people with a lot of influence to help us out and keep these places running too. We need that."
Cam Heyward, Le'Veon Bell, Will Johnson, Arthur Moats and Lawrence Timmons joined the seniors for a high-energy workout that had everyone smiling, laughing and sweating.
"It's amazing to see what great shape the seniors are in," said Bell. "This was a great workout. I was sweating; my arms and shoulders were burning. It's great to give back to them. It was fun to surprise them. They weren't expecting it and were really excited."
The visit was a part of the United Way's Days of Caring, an effort that supports four impact areas - helping children, struggling families, seniors, and people with disabilities – and encourages volunteering in the community. The United Way encourages senior citizens to remain active, and the exercise classes held at many of their facilities allows for them to participate and potentially prevent health issues.
"The Days of Caring are an opportunity for our corporate partners, our community partners, to get engaged to address the community needs of the Pittsburgh region," said Christy Stuber, United Way of Allegheny County Director of Volunteer Initiatives. "I don't know who is having more fun the Steelers or the seniors. It's great because it's so important for seniors to stay fit and active and what a better example of being fit and active than our athletes in our community."
As the music played and the workout pace increased, the seniors never slowed down, challenging the players to keep up the pace.
"I had a blast," said Moats, who sang and danced along with working out. "A workout is never bad when you are enjoying yourself, and the ladies and gentlemen here helped us do that. It's a great feeling to come out in the community and have fun with true fans."
Heyward, who is the Steelers player representative for the United Way, helped lead the workouts and finished the event off with his teammates signing autographs and taking selfies with the seniors.
"It's a lot of fun," said Heyward. "They are all staying active and keep us active. I like to think of the United Way as a good middle man. They help you reach out to a lot of charities that you might not be able to do by yourself. It's opened my eyes to a lot of things."