CENTRE COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)– Over 100 folks attended a ceremony Saturday to show appreciation for Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford, who’s been volunteering with the organization for multiple years.
Big Brothers Big Sisters organization aims to build one-on-one mentoring relationships to help develop a child’s well-being and mental health. The organization served over 100,000 children within the last year.
Clifford has been a “big brother” since his junior year of high school in Cincinnati, OH. He knew he always wanted to maintain his involvement within the organization when he came to the State College area.
Through the NCAA’s Name, Image, and Likeliness rule, Clifford was able to donate $15,000 to the organization. This rule allows student-athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeliness. The NCAA recently adopted the policy within the past year. $10,000 came from his work with the AllState Goodworks Team and $5,000 from personal cameos.
Program Director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Centre County, Rebecca Lord, said that the team was thrilled that Clifford picked them to receive a donation. They knew they had to make Saturday’s event fun for both the families and Clifford.
“When he told us we were the program he was going to give his donation to, we were thrilled,” Lord said. “And we talked about how we can make this a fun event for our families, our bigs and our littles, and a great event for Sean just to show our appreciation to him.”
The celebrations featured arts and crafts projects and a bingo game for the families. Once Clifford arrived, folks got to take pictures and get autographs. Clifford also got to catch some passes and share some throwing tips with future Nittany Lions.
“It’s all about just being able to give them a little bit extra so that way that keeps growing and expanding on such a great organization already,” Clifford said. “It makes me feel good to give back a little bit of money to help them in any sort of way.”
Clifford said that being with his “little brother” is one of the highlights of his week. Despite his busy schedule, he doesn’t see it as any trouble. He values building one-on-one relationships and being a mentor to the little ones.
“This is one of the best parts of my day,” Clifford said. “I go out and see [my little brother] every Monday, go to events on the weekends every once in a while. So it really isn’t a burden at all. It’s been a blast, and it really shaped me into the person I am today. So I’m very appreciative of the organization.”
At the ceremony, Clifford was presented with a gift from his little brother. He plans to continue to impact the Centre County community as he’s returning for his sixth season at Penn State.