At first glance it looked like the evening at the Boys & Girls Club in Lawrenceville was all about fun and games. Steelers’ linebacker LaMarr Woodley was leading the way playing games, and even dancing, with the young kids who were attending the opening event for the LaMarr Woodley Foundation Sack Attack.
But a closer look and you understood that while having fun was a key, the reason behind it all was to stress the importance of education, with a strong emphasis on Woodley’s new Literacy Initiative.
“Education is definitely important,” said Woodley. “It plays along with being a student-athlete like I was. Without education there were no sports. It’s a part of life. This is to stress the importance of reading and writing and letting them know how important education is.”
Woodley invited 200 kids to participate in the Literacy Initiative, providing each of them with two new books and an activity sheet to get them started. He also implemented an essay contest for the kids on the subject, “What I Want To Be When I Grow Up and Why?” The top two winners from each of the three age groups will attend a game as Woodley’s guest.
“At this age I would say I wanted to be a professional wrestler,” said Woodley of what his essay would have been about. “I watched a lot of WWF. I saw it on TV, my friends and I we always wrestled when we were at home. That is what I would have done.”
The Literacy Initiative is the latest in Woodley’s efforts to give back to the community, whether it’s in Pittsburgh or his home in Saginaw, Michigan.
“LaMarr grew up in a Boys & Girls Club,” said Mike Hepler, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania. “He was sitting where they were once. He had his dream. He accomplished that dream not just on the field, but also in school. He embraces that concept.
“He is letting the kids know not only is it important that you stay in school, but what you do in school. Literacy is at the top of the list. The thrust of this program is the special services for young people with encouragement and incentive for them to read.”
Woodley was a regular at the Boys &Girls Club in Saginaw, going there after school daily to play with friends and take advantage of the education programs. That is why when he began his Sack Attack, which people pledge money for each of his sacks, he wanted part of the proceeds to go to the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania.
“I have to start racking them up,” said Woodley of the sacks. “Last year I ended the season with nine sacks because I was hurt. I hurt the team and the Sack Attack because of that. This year I have a fresh start.
“I didn’t get any sacks against the Broncos but I have the opportunity to turn that around and help my team and the sack attack as well.”
There is nothing Woodley would like more than to have a record-setting sack year, benefitting the Steelers, and the kids he loves to be around.
“Everything LaMarr does is from the heart,” said Hepler. “He is very concerned about the welfare of the children.”
Tags: LaMarr Woodley
Posted in Community | 3 Comments »