July 12, 2013
CLAYSVILLE, Pa. - Freshmen members of the Pitt football team spent Friday morning giving back to the community as they traveled to the Mel Blount Youth Home to put on a football clinic for under privileged youth.
Mel Blount started his youth home for young males who are victims of child abuse and neglect. The 300-acre plot of land is surrounded by woods, an outdoor equestrian center, basketball courts, fishing ponds and a full ropes and challenges course.
In conjunction with the Cathy and John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program, this is the sixth consecutive year the Pitt football freshmen have participated in this event.
"I can't even describe the enthusiasm and explain what it means to the kids and to all of us to have the athletes come out here and interact with theses young kids," said Blount, who won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1970-83. "It's been a great program and I want to thank the University of Pittsburgh. Hopefully we can continue this because I think it is good for both the young kids and the athletes. It says a lot about community service and giving back, so we are very grateful."
The Panthers spent the first half of the morning by breaking up into four groups and leading the way in various drills for the youth participants.
The second part of the afternoon focused on fitness and everyone participated in team bonding drills and exercises such as rope swings, balancing apparatuses and tire flipping.
The final part of the afternoon was spent eating lunch and giving the kids an opportunity to socialize with the Pitt football players. Assistant Athletic Director for Life Skills Penny Semaia, along with football student-athletes Tyler Boyd and Scott Orndoff, addressed the audience and talked about the keys to living a successful and productive life.
"It is special for us to come out here and help these kids," Orndoff said. "Sometimes we don't realize how fortunate we are to play college football. Some people may not realize that other kids don't have it as good. I think it is just great to reach out to the community in this sort of way."
"We have to be leaders," Boyd said. "We came out here and tried to help improve their game a little, but more importantly to help make sure they become successful in life."
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