When Will Allen set out to make a difference in the lives of young adults with his Quest for Real Life Success program in 2008, he probably never realized the impact he actually could have.
Allen initially launched the Quest program in Tampa, Florida when he played for the Buccaneers, working with students at King High School and Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School.
When he signed with the Steelers in 2010, he didn’t just bring his football talents with him, but also the program kicking it off at Westinghouse High School and this season taking it to North Hills High School in Pittsburgh and expanding to his alma mater, Wayne High School in Dayton, Ohio.
The after school mentoring program meets weekly, with Allen attending the North Hills meetings and using Skype to communicate with students in Dayton, to discuss topics to help them prepare for life after high school. The focus ranges from test taking skills, resume writing, job interview skills and more.
“I wanted to do something to help them be more proactive about their futures, to help them think outside the box and thinking more about being a young professional going into college,” said Allen. “I wanted to bridge the gap going from high school to college so they can be better decision makers, be more cognizant of opportunities and tools and resources that are available.
“A lot of high school kids might go through school and be a straight ‘A’ student, but they might not know about real life situations. Or there might be a student who does know about real life situations, but doesn’t know any tools or resources available to get advancement in life.”
The Quest program is a part of the Will Allen Foundation and also stresses the importance of community service, making sure students are well-rounded when they hit the real world.
“We have students now that graduated from college,” said Allen. “They were enthused and excited about what they learned and how they were able to utilize it in college and beyond. It’s just a way of giving wisdom, knowledge and understanding of situations to help out the youth of today for tomorrow.”
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