Defensive end Stephon Tuitt is teaming with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to continue a long tradition of giving back to area kids.
Tuitt will partner with the police to make Steelers home games an exciting opportunity for area youth, while at the same time build trust between the youth and police. It's a program recently retired center Maurkice Pouncey started in 2017, and one Tuitt thought was important to continue.
"It's an honor to continue this program after having Maurkice build it to what it has become. The opportunity to follow his path as a great representative for our organization is special," said Tuitt. "This is huge from a community standpoint. To be able to have the police interact with the city is a great way to show a unified front. It's a great way for the city and the community to come together all while enjoying a football game, eating together and fellowshipping.
"If you can get a mentor from this program, that's great, because you never know where the next one may come from. I see these officers as contributors to society and the young people can get the opportunity to see people that are trying to do good in the community to keep it safe."
Tuitt is working closely with Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Scott Schubert to continue the initiative, something that has resulted in a positive relationship since its inception.
"On behalf of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the communities we serve, I am extremely grateful to Stephon Tuitt for volunteering to keep our Pittsburgh Steelers and Community Engagement partnership alive," said Schubert. "This relationship has grown and flourished as our officers and youth spend time together in a safe, relaxed and fun setting. As a result, a mutual trust, understanding and respect has developed. I can even go so far as to say that friendships have been made.
"I'm so proud of Stephon, but not surprised at his decision to keep this partnership going. He's a caring individual and his kindness and commitment to community engagement will help make a difference in the lives of others."
Tuitt is donating 25 tickets to all Steelers home games to the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, which they will distribute to the various police zones in the city. The basis is for the police to accompany the youth to the games, allowing them to build a relationship based on trust, as both sides can get to know each other better in a relaxed environment. The group will attend a pregame tailgate at Stage AE, enjoy activities along Art Rooney Avenue, and all of it topped off with Steelers' football.
"Our relationship with the Pittsburgh Police has been great," said Richard Carrington, Sr. Founder and Executive Director of Voices Against Violence. "They have been extremely supportive of Voices Against Violence. They have constantly been involved with our children and this has made for a great relationship. Our relationship with the Pittsburgh Police has been based on exactly what they have been set up for; Community Resource Officers and this is exactly how we view them.
"We also are grateful to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Stephon Tuitt. Our youth are able to see that players are not only playing football, but they are involved in the community. Our youth feel special that they were invited to participate in this event."