Through the Years

Explore the key moments of Mel Blount’s life and the Leadership Initiative.

1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
Present

After 13 seasons, five Pro Bowls (including one Pro Bowl MVP award), six AFC championships, and four Super Bowl Championships, Mel Blount retired from the NFL in 1983. He ended his career with 57 interceptions and 736 yards returned (a Steeler record), 13 fumble recoveries, and was named NFL’s defensive MVP after leading the NFL with 11 interceptions in 1975.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Feb 1983 Mel Retires from the NFL

Prior to retiring from the Steelers, Mel thought often about what his life’s work would be. He decided to found the Mel Blount Youth Home in Vidalia, Georgia to assist young boys in their pursuit to become productive members of society.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jun 1983 Mel Founded First Youth Home in Georgia

In an effort to spread the reach of the Youth Home, Mel sought to open a home in Washington, PA. A roadblock to setting the home up was protests staged by the Ku Klux Klan, who burned a cross and staged a rally to block the home. Two shots were also fired into the home. Counter protests were organized by a coalition of organizations that opposed the message of the KKK.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
May 1989 Mel Confronts Opposition to Establishing PA Home

Mel Blount became a member of the NFL Hall of Fame on the first ballot, cementing his status as a legend of professional football. In his acceptance speech, Mel mentioned the Youth Home and the struggle the organization was facing to have it opened.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Aug 1989 Mel Inducted Into NFL Hall of Fame

Due to the efforts of many in the community, the PA Youth Home was established in 1990, after a year of struggle. The opening was much celebrated, and was the beginning of a long relationship with the community.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jan 1990 PA Youth Home Established

President George H. W. Bush named Mel the 524th Daily Point of Life, an award reserved for members of society who demonstrate the values and traits that portray exemplary volunteer service.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Aug 1991 Mel Named as the 524th Daily Point of Life

“A Cross Burns Brightly” details the struggle of opening the PA Youth Home in1989-1990. Coauthored by Mel Blount and Cindy Sterling, it is an examination of the will-power and persistence necessary to making a vision become a reality.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Nov 1993 Co-authored “A Cross Burns Brightly” with Cindy Sterling

The All-Star Celebrity Roast (the Youth Home’s biggest fundraising event) began in 1998. Since then, it has been an annual tradition — and a fun-filled night! Several recognizable celebrities have attended, including many former Steelers and, of course, Mel himself.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Apr 1998 The First All-Star Celebrity Roast

Aaron Nestor, a former resident of the Youth Home, graduated from the Ft. Campbell Noncommissioned Officers Academy in 2004 and was promoted to Sergeant. In a letter to Mel, Aaron thanked the staff. “You and your staff are great Americans, to shape broken boys and mend them into fine men of character is very hard to do, but you and your staff do it every day.”

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Oct 2004 Aaron Nestor Promoted to Sergeant

Darnell Blacksdale graduated from Morehouse College in 2008. In a letter to Mel, Darnell said that his favorite part of living at the Youth Home was the exposure he had to animals and horses. “At first, I was iffy about it then, as the program went on, I felt like I had a bond with the horses on one of my trips to the barn, I met you and one thing I can remember the most was that you said we need to get groomed (I thought horses get groomed, not people).”

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
May 2008 Darnell Blacksdale Graduates from Morehouse

The Youth Home partnered with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009 to house an all-day training camp with Steelers rookies and young boys from the community. The program has been a wild hit and has continued annually ever since. The University of Pittsburgh rookies began their own camp in 2010 following this model.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jul 2009 Partnered with Pittsburgh Steelers to host Rookie Camp

Until 2012, the Youth Home had been focused on programs to help young boys. That changed when the Girls’ Summer Equestrian Program was launched. Working with horses and animals had been a foundational part of the Youth Home experience, and was a great way to begin programming for young girls.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
May 2012 Summer Equestrian Program for Girls Began

Brandon Humphrey gave the keynote speech at the first Youth Summit. This was a moment of profound significance, as Pastor Humphrey had been a former resident of the Youth Home and had many troubles in his youth. “I learned tools to be a man and how to carry myself as a man. I prospered and did well.” Read more here.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jul 2016 Brandon Humphrey gives Keynote at First Youth Summit

In an effort to widen the impact of the great work of the Youth Home, the Youth Leadership Initiative was established in 2017 to instill principles of respect, responsibility, and leadership in young boys and girls across western PA.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jan 2017 Mel Blount Youth Leadership Initiative Established

After 13 seasons, five Pro Bowls (including one Pro Bowl MVP award), six AFC championships, and four Super Bowl Championships, Mel Blount retired from the NFL in 1983. He ended his career with 57 interceptions and 736 yards returned (a Steeler record), 13 fumble recoveries, and was named NFL’s defensive MVP after leading the NFL with 11 interceptions in 1975.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Feb 1983 Mel Retires from the NFL

Prior to retiring from the Steelers, Mel thought often about what his life’s work would be. He decided to found the Mel Blount Youth Home in Vidalia, Georgia to assist young boys in their pursuit to become productive members of society.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jun 1983 Mel Founded First Youth Home in Georgia

In an effort to spread the reach of the Youth Home, Mel sought to open a home in Washington, PA. A roadblock to setting the home up was protests staged by the Ku Klux Klan, who burned a cross and staged a rally to block the home. Two shots were also fired into the home. Counter protests were organized by a coalition of organizations that opposed the message of the KKK.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
May 1989 Mel Confronts Opposition to Establishing PA Home

Mel Blount became a member of the NFL Hall of Fame on the first ballot, cementing his status as a legend of professional football. In his acceptance speech, Mel mentioned the Youth Home and the struggle the organization was facing to have it opened.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Aug 1989 Mel Inducted Into NFL Hall of Fame

Due to the efforts of many in the community, the PA Youth Home was established in 1990, after a year of struggle. The opening was much celebrated, and was the beginning of a long relationship with the community.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jan 1990 PA Youth Home Established

President George H. W. Bush named Mel the 524th Daily Point of Life, an award reserved for members of society who demonstrate the values and traits that portray exemplary volunteer service.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Aug 1991 Mel Named as the 524th Daily Point of Life

“A Cross Burns Brightly” details the struggle of opening the PA Youth Home in1989-1990. Coauthored by Mel Blount and Cindy Sterling, it is an examination of the will-power and persistence necessary to making a vision become a reality.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Nov 1993 Co-authored “A Cross Burns Brightly” with Cindy Sterling

The All-Star Celebrity Roast (the Youth Home’s biggest fundraising event) began in 1998. Since then, it has been an annual tradition — and a fun-filled night! Several recognizable celebrities have attended, including many former Steelers and, of course, Mel himself.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Apr 1998 The First All-Star Celebrity Roast

Aaron Nestor, a former resident of the Youth Home, graduated from the Ft. Campbell Noncommissioned Officers Academy in 2004 and was promoted to Sergeant. In a letter to Mel, Aaron thanked the staff. “You and your staff are great Americans, to shape broken boys and mend them into fine men of character is very hard to do, but you and your staff do it every day.”

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Oct 2004 Aaron Nestor Promoted to Sergeant

Darnell Blacksdale graduated from Morehouse College in 2008. In a letter to Mel, Darnell said that his favorite part of living at the Youth Home was the exposure he had to animals and horses. “At first, I was iffy about it then, as the program went on, I felt like I had a bond with the horses on one of my trips to the barn, I met you and one thing I can remember the most was that you said we need to get groomed (I thought horses get groomed, not people).”

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
May 2008 Darnell Blacksdale Graduates from Morehouse

The Youth Home partnered with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009 to house an all-day training camp with Steelers rookies and young boys from the community. The program has been a wild hit and has continued annually ever since. The University of Pittsburgh rookies began their own camp in 2010 following this model.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jul 2009 Partnered with Pittsburgh Steelers to host Rookie Camp

Until 2012, the Youth Home had been focused on programs to help young boys. That changed when the Girls’ Summer Equestrian Program was launched. Working with horses and animals had been a foundational part of the Youth Home experience, and was a great way to begin programming for young girls.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
May 2012 Summer Equestrian Program for Girls Began

Brandon Humphrey gave the keynote speech at the first Youth Summit. This was a moment of profound significance, as Pastor Humphrey had been a former resident of the Youth Home and had many troubles in his youth. “I learned tools to be a man and how to carry myself as a man. I prospered and did well.” Read more here.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jul 2016 Brandon Humphrey gives Keynote at First Youth Summit

In an effort to widen the impact of the great work of the Youth Home, the Youth Leadership Initiative was established in 2017 to instill principles of respect, responsibility, and leadership in young boys and girls across western PA.

Created with Sketch.
Created with Sketch.
Jan 2017 Mel Blount Youth Leadership Initiative Established