The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that The Orange Arrow Players Association Founder Shawn Robinson received the prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award.
The award was established in 2003 by President George W. Bush as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. Robinson, a Warren, Ohio, native and University of Pittsburgh alum, was recognized for dedicating more than 4,000 hours of service and, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest and most prestigious level of the Volunteer Service Award.
Two ceremonies were held on Dec. 4, 2018 to present the award to Robinson. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto first presented Robinson with a proclamation of Dec. 4 as “Shawn Robinson Day” in the City of Pittsburgh. Robinson was then presented the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award from Erika Mitchell, managing partner of the certified organization for the President’s Service Award.
An evening event was hosted at the University of Pittsburgh, attended by Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh; Carmen Anderson, Director of Equity and Social Justice at The Heinz Endowments; Rafael Araujo-Lopes, University of Pittsburgh student-athlete and Orange Arrow Coach; and distinguished friends of the Orange Arrow Players Association.
“I am humbled to receive recognition from the highest office in America,” said Robinson. “But I accept this award on behalf of the entire Orange Arrow team, who is diligently working to make the world a better place.”
Robinson founded Orange Arrow in 2013 to coach male and female student-athletes to aim for success off the field. Based in Pittsburgh, the nonprofit organization provides programming for student-athletes that teaches the foundational skill set needed for any young person to be able to succeed. Orange Arrow reaches these students through current college student-athletes who serve as their life skills “coaches” or mentors.
“The goal of Orange Arrow is to encourage athletes to pursue their dream of professional sports, and to also broaden the reality of those with athletic aspirations,” said Robinson. “We aim to provide a practical vision of success in life, no matter which path they choose.”
The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes, celebrates, and inspires community service leaders and volunteers to lead the charge. Two notable past recipients include Tom Glavine, a Hall of Fame baseball player who is noted for giving back to the community, and Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A for his philanthropy.
Robinson understands firsthand the importance of Orange Arrow’s mission and the need for athletes to have a backup plan. While at Pitt, he finished seventh in the nation in interceptions as a sophomore and he had expectations to play in the NFL; however, a car accident injury leading into his junior year affected his ability to perform at the highest level. Ultimately, he was not drafted to the NFL as he hoped, and his dream of becoming a professional athlete was never fulfilled.
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