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Steelers Blog

Clark, Beachum serving up smiles

Posted by Teresa Varley on December 17, 2012 – 8:57 pm

If there is one thing Ryan Clark loves to do it is make people smile. He has an impeccable knack for bringing joy to those around him, making it impossible not to laugh even if you are feeling down.

On Monday night, Clark brought his bubbly personality to women definitely in need of a little holiday cheer when he and teammate Kelvin Beachum served a holiday dinner to those at the Women’s Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh, a shelter that serves women and children affected by the horror that is domestic violence.

Clark first visited the shelter a few years ago with former teammate William Gay, whose mother lost her life to domestic violence. When Gay left via free agency, Clark promised he would continue the commitment to the shelter and he hasn’t let them down.

“I can never put myself in their shoes, but to see how much Will cared and know he had a tragedy with his mother and seeing the effort he put in, it’s a blessing to be able to come here and do that now,” said Clark, who was also joined by his wife Yonka and their three children. “It’s about lifting someone up during the holiday season when they are going through a tough time.

“Domestic violence is so real. A lot of times it escalates to more than someone putting their hand on someone. What is missed and what I see here is so many kids are affected. These women have children that they have to bring here. To come here and get the word out and do something for them, it’s a reality that is going on in the world.”

Clark and Beachum joked with the ladies, giving one who is a Ravens fan a playfully tough time, and just making them feel special and cared for.

“To be able to put a smile on their faces is priceless,” said Beachum. “To play with the kids and have a conversation with them is awesome.

“I haven’t had to personally deal with domestic violence, but have friends who had. To see there is a place women can go and seek help and we can contribute and be of help is wonderful.”

After dinner the players signed autographs for everyone and shared more hugs, smiles and laughs.

“The holidays can be a difficult time being separated from your family, out of your home and in a situation where you are living with a bunch of strangers,” said Barb Nicholas, the shelter’s Development Director. “To have the attention of celebrities like athletes to come forward and spend their time is so extra special. It means a lot that they show they are thinking about the people here and caring about them. They understand the courage it took the women to come here and seek help.  

“This is the most special day of the year for the shelter residents.”
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