Proud to be from Pittsburgh: Pitt Football players coaching kids off the field

PITTSBURGH — If you walk into room 301 at Arsenal Middle School every other Thursday, you’ll see Pitt Football players, including SirVocea Dennis, leading the charge. It’s all part of the Orange Arrow Players Association. Student athletes, like the linebacker and his teammates, coach kids in their communities…off the field.

“What we do here is just give them opportunities to become leaders and be comfortable in their own shoes and make the right decisions,” said Dennis.

The linebacker got involved in Orange Arrow when former teammate Tre Tipton, a coach in the program, asked him if he wanted to carry on the torch. It didn’t take long for Dennis to decide.

“Immediately I told him yes, I’d love to do it,” said Dennis.

The linebacker’s reason why is a simple one. As a kid, there simply weren’t programs like this for him.

“I think the kids are definitely helping me,” said Dennis. “Not only with just trying to teach them and get them to do the right thing. But it’s a different generation. They’re great, amazing, smart kids and we just have fun.”

The half hour the group spends together after school is more than just talking about their favorite super powers and doing team building activities. Dennis and his teammates are instilling confidence in the students, problem solving and teaching the students, like Kween Barlow, to become the leaders of tomorrow.

“Basically, don’t be afraid, to do anything,” Barlow explained as one of the things she’s learned from Dennis and his teammates. “Keep it going. And don’t stop.”

As much as Dennis, known as Coach Voss, is helping the kids, they’re helping him even more.

“I hope it means a lot to them,” said Dennis. “Doing this, you know really helps them because really that’s what I’m here for. I’m helping them and, they’re helping me.”

“We’re special,” Barlow said with a grin. “Because he doesn’t do this to everybody.”