The lockout surely hasn’t stopped current and former NFL players from making a positive impact on the lives of those who less fortunate.
While the owners and player representatives have been negotiating back and forth on a new collective bargaining agreement, Anquan Boldin of the Baltimore Ravens and Warrick Dunn, former running back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, have been impressing off the field with their charitable work and contributions.
Dunn, who has been no stranger to helping the needy through his Homes for the Holidays partnership with Habitat for Humanity, recently teamed up with his alma mater, Florida State University, to provide home libraries to two single-parent homes in Tallahassee. The hope is that providing books and educational materials for young readers will promote reading and literacy in the homes of the families for years to come.
The collection of digital and printed materials was valued at over $800.
Dunn’s Homes for the Holidays helps struggling, single parents purchase homes for themselves and their dependents. Dunn provides the down payment and partners with area sponsors to furnish and equip the homes. The program as of April 2010 had assisted 93 families in helping achieve their dream of home ownership.
Dunn is passionate about helping single parents, as his mother was murdered two days after his 18th birthday, thrusting him into the role of caregiver for his siblings. Dunn went on to have a successful and college career and has spent his time in retirement still caring for those in need.
Baltimore Raven and Pro Bowl wide receiver Boldin, along with the Bible Church of God, is providing 2,000 free life insurance policies to needy families that qualify in his hometown of Pahokee, Florida. After attending a seminar for enrollment, Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times reports that the 10-year, $50,000 insurance policies could then be used to pay for a child’s education in the event that their mother or father passes away.
Boldin’s hope is to expand the program into Baltimore and Phoenix, where he previously played for the Arizona Cardinals.
Many professional athletes have taken the down time during the lockout to thrust themselves into their charitable organizations. They’ve hosted food drives, conducted free youth football camps, and used the time to reconnect with fans through Twitter in the form of meet-ups.
Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns took the time to sponsor a youth baseball team while also inviting anyone following him on Twitter to a local Cleveland sushi spot for lunch on him.
With an expected end to the lockout next week, fans can be happy that the game they love is coming back and that the season didn’t lose any games. They also can feel good in cheering for these young men who are trying to make a difference to those who are less fortunate than them. In that case, everyone wins.