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Super Bowl XLIV: Service is All Around Us

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In the last year, I have learned that service is everywhere. No matter where you look or where you live, you can find people helping out their friends and neighbors. They might be carrying in groceries for someone, picking up trash at a local park or just spending a few minutes checking on an older neighbor who lives alone. Service doesn't have to be planned and it doesn't have to take long. When you look at it that way, it's really all around us.

I'm in South Florida this week to host Super Bowl XLIV and I can tell you that service is here as well. Yesterday in fact, the NFL Players Association and AARP Create The Good announced they'll be teaming up on service projects this year in 17 communities around the country. That means former and current NFL players will be on the ground working alongside their neighbors to help improve the communities they share.

Giving back is something that the NFLPA has long supported and current and former NFL players get excited about. And it's something I'm passionate about -- that's why I've worked with AARP for the last year as their community ambassador and with NFLPA for the last seven years on the JB Awards, which each year recognizes current and former NFL players who exemplify dedication and commitment to team and community. I could not be more thrilled with the enthusiasm we are seeing around service right now. We are truly in a new era, and now is the time for folks to get involved with and inspired by giving back to their communities and neighborhoods. It's so important not only to keep our communities vibrant, but also to set an example for younger generations.

One of the best things about service is that it doesn't have to take a lot of time. Every little bit counts, whether folks have five minutes, five hours or five days. AARP has put together CreateTheGood.org, which offers ideas for quick, self-directed activities. They've also got How To videos for simple service projects people can organize on their own, like weatherizing homes, starting healthy walking groups, fighting fraud, preparing for a hurricane and other needs.

The first Create The Good projects with NFLPA members will kick off in April -- National Volunteer Month -- in 17 communities around the country. In the coming months, we will announce additional details about the events scheduled in 2010. Visit www.CreateTheGood.org to watch for opportunities in your area and to get ideas about what you can do to help your community in the meantime, whether on your own or with a group.

It's going to be a good game on Sunday. Look forward to seeing you all then.