- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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This is the second in a series profiling Big East players with interesting summer jobs or internships.
Football players are not too old to go to summer camp. Not in Pittsburgh, anyway.
So Panthers tight end Hubie Graham and several of his teammates helped out at the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation. Three times a week during the summer, they went around to day camps throughout the area, to help mentor underprivileged kids in the community. The boys and girls ranged in age from infants all the way up to age 15.
Whether it was teaching them how to throw a football, or simply playing games with them, Graham saw this as another opportunity to give back. And he knew he was making an impact when the camp directors told him the kids often asked about them when they were not there, asking, “Where are the tall kids?”
“It's just an amazing and fulfilling experience,” Graham said in a recent phone interview. “We're put in such a big position as Division I athletes in the community. I feel to not do something like that is not fulfilling our duty.”
Graham decided to give back after a spring trip to Haiti with 14 other Pitt student-athletes. The on-campus Fellowship of Christian Athletes sent out emails about the goodwill mission to volunteer in the country, still reeling from the devastating earthquake several years ago.
Safety Andrew Taglianetti mentioned he wanted to go on the trip and asked Graham if he was interested. He was. The two players, along with Mark Giubilato, then went about raising the $1,300 it would take for each of them to make the trip. Graham wrote letters to close family and friends back home asking for donations, and his high school did a fundraiser for him.
“I felt like it was one of those things we had to do,” Graham said. “I thought we could make a big impact in their lives, and they can make a huge impact on ours.”
He and his teammates worked at orphanages during their time in Haiti, and came out of the trip changed men.
“I don't believe you can go on a trip like that and not be changed in some aspect,” he said. “I believe I have such a greater appreciation for things we have in the United States, even as an athlete how special we are and what type of position we're in to help people. I feel like there's no reason why we can't go out and make a difference in someone's life.”
That trip, coupled with working his internship helping the kids in Pittsburgh, has made a difference in his life, too.
“As long as I'm put in a situation where I'm able to help people, I'll always do it,” Graham said.