By Justin Criado
Former Steelers player and Super Bowl XL champion, Jeff Hartings, is this year’s winner of the Pittsburgh Volunteer Citizen of the Year award, presented by Direct Energy and Trib Total Media, according to an Urban Impact press release. Hartings was recognized for mentoring at-risk youth through various sports programs and raising $3 million for Urban Impact, a nonprofit organization that provides in-school and after-school education programs for at-risk youth in Allegheny Center.
Volunteering at Urban Impact for the past 12 years, Hartings developed a partnership between the non-profit, the Steelers, corporations and small businesses to create the Play Ball 4 Kids, a fundraising program that raised over $3 million for Urban Impact’s programs, according to the release. These funds are dedicated to Urban Impacts’ arts, athletics and in-school/after school education programs, including youth football clinics led by Steelers players, and basketball and baseball leagues, which aim to teach children integrity and responsibility. In addition to Play Ball 4 Kids fundraising, Hartings secured $40,000 worth of donated materials to help renovate a missionary home for Urban Impact, which serves as a safe and comfortable haven to children who come from unstable homes.
“These students often lack role models, a structured family life and even a safe atmosphere to be with their peers after school,” said Hartings in a statement. “Above all, Urban Impact is dedicated to give every student and family they serve the ability to succeed hope for the future.”
A first round pick by the Detroit Lions in 1996 out of Penn State, Hartings played 10 years in the NFL with the Lions and Steelers, who he joined in 2001, becoming a two-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro center along the offensive line.
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