In today’s episode of This Hits Different, Shelby Cassesse tells the story of brothers Steven and Michael Breaston, as well as former Steelers safety Ryan Mundy, who provided a free football and cheer clinic to kids in the Woodland Hills community.
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Breastons, Mundy giving back to community with clinics
Steven Breaston and his brother Michael Breaston grew up in North Braddock, surrounding themselves with a tight community and dreaming about a future in football.
“My parents did a great job raising us,” Steven said. “And not only them, but the whole community did a great job of helping me be the person I am today.”
But while some of their friends were getting reps in camps and clinics, Michael remembers he and his brother were sometimes on the sidelines.
“We really couldn’t afford to go to any of the clinics, because all of the clinics had to be paid for, and they cost a couple hundred dollars,” he said.
Still, by the time Steven got to Woodland Hills High School, it was clear he was special. The 2001 Gatorade Pennsylvania Player of the Year and four star recruit eventually played four seasons at Michigan, where he became one of the most prolific return guys in school history. It led to a six-year career in the NFL.
Michael said there was never a doubt they would repay the community that gave them so much.
“When Steve got drafted into the league, we talked about when we were growing up, and doing a clinic for kids in our neighborhood for free,” he said.
So ten years ago, The annual Breaston/Mundy football clinic was founded, along with the help of Woodland Hills grad and former Steeler Ryan Mundy. It's completely free for the nearly 200 eight to 13 year old kids who attend. There's also a free cheer camp.
Steven said while football skills are important, there are far more valuable lessons they're teaching.
“I think the biggest thing about the clinic is that these kids come out, they see a lot of members within the community and it helps build that relationship and that trust with other kids and with parents in the community,” he said.
The most recent clinic was last week, marking 10 years of growing the game and taking some of the financial strain off local families.
Michael said they're beginning to see the long-term results, with some of the original participants now in the next phases of their lives, including as Division I athletes.
“It’s really exciting to see some of these kids at our clinic being successful, and also going to school, going to college,” he said. “Not just to play football, just going to college.”
The clinic is just one of several initiatives by the Steven Breaston Foundation, which focuses on providing kids in the North Braddock area a safe and healthy environment to help them grow.
Steven recently started a summer lunch program, providing kids a free lunch while teaching them about a balanced diet.
Though Steven's career has taken him all of the country, the roots run deep in North Braddock, the connection strong to Woodland Hills.
“I just want to not only give back, but shine a positive light in my community and show all the good people whiting the community, all the kids that are out here and having fun,” Steven said. “And the positives within my community.”