WASHINGTON, DC (December 11, 2020) – Today, Sasha Bruce Youthwork celebrated the announcement by the Washington Football Team that Defensive Lineman, Jonathan Allen, would be the team’s nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for his charitable work with homeless youth in the DC region. Considered one of the most prestigious honors, the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for outstanding commitment to community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field.
“There isn’t anyone more deserving of this award than Jonathan Allen,” said Deborah Shore, Founder and Executive Director of Sasha Bruce. “Since he first stepped through our doors, Jon has been a big brother and mentor to our young people, providing inspiration and hope in what has otherwise been a very challenging time.” Shore added, “Together with his wife, Hannah, Jon has helped Sasha Bruce meet the evolving challenges of the COVID pandemic and ensured that the unique needs and supports for homeless youth are not forgotten.”
Since 2019, Jon and Hannah have worked closely with Sasha Bruce to give back to youth experiencing homelessness. Last fall, they opened the doors to the Jonathan & Hannah Allen Innovation Lounge at the Bruce House—the District’s only emergency shelter for minors. The Innovation Lounge has been instrumental in helping homeless and runaway youth stay digitally connected with their school throughout the pandemic.
“Growing up, I spent some time in foster care, and I lived in the area. When we were looking to give back to the community, my wife (Hannah) and I wanted to pick something that hits home, close to the heart,” stated Allen. For the Allens, Sasha Bruce was the right fit, “They are a local homeless shelter here in DC doing great work with youth in the area. This means a lot to my wife and me.”
This year, as part of the organization’s Adopt-a-Home Campaign, Jonathan and Hannah will once again partner with Sasha Bruce to help meet the winter needs of nearly 3,000 youth experiencing homelessness by:
- Donating Over $20,000 to Expand Survival Services and meet the surge in need among homeless youth at the Barracks Row Drop-In Center through a partnership with Papa John’s Pizza and Pepsi;
- Nominating Sasha Bruce for the NFL’s My Cleats, My Cause where fans can bid on an one-of-a kind set of cleats designed in honor of Sasha Bruce and the homeless youth it serves.
- Providing Winter Essential Gear in partnership with Bombas, Operation Warm, and Ralph Lauren.
- Securing Meals for 100 families at the Clay Terrace Family Success Center through a partnership with Safeway and Jennie-O;
- Sponsoring the Christmas Wish List of all youth at the Bruce House and two recently reunited families, including laptops to help youth stay digitally connected.
- Releasing a limited-edition shirt in support of homeless youth. In addition to raising awareness of youth homelessness, the shirt will raise much-needed funds to support Sasha Bruce throughout the year. More information can be found at www.jonallen93.com/apparel
- Promoting a Round-Up Donation Campaign in support of Sasha Bruce at local DC ACE Hardware stores December 18-22 in partnership with A Few Cool Hardware Stores.
To show support for Jonathan Allen’s charitable work, community members are encouraged to participate in the NFL’s Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote nominees like Allen and their causes. Fans can vote on Twitter by using #WPMOYChallenge + Allen for an opportunity to help Jonathan Allen secure up to $25,000 for homeless youth served by Sasha Bruce.
To learn more about Sasha Bruce’s Adopt a Home Campaign, visit www.sashabruce.org/adopt-a-home.
Video and Images are available upon request.
Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY) is the leading provider of homeless youth services in the DC Region. Through the holistic integration of safe homes, life skills, and workforce development, Sasha Bruce meets the unique needs of homeless youth. For more than 45 years, Sasha Bruce has implemented innovative interventions aimed at bringing an end to youth homelessness in the DC region. Today, it programs in DC and Prince George’s County, MD, reach over 6,500 runaway, homeless, abused, and neglected youth, and their families. Learn more at www.sashabruce.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.