“I know what it feels like to grow up and not always have things that you need. I also know the importance of having a role model. My mom, who was a single parent, worked hard to get promotions and make more money to provide for us. When I was kid, she would wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. to go to work and support us. At the time I didn’t understand; I remember being six years old and thinking, ‘mom, you need to get some sleep, you’re going to be tired.’ She believed in hard work, and she was willing to make sacrifices to keep a roof over my head. Watching her do those things, it made me want to follow in her footsteps.
I believe in hard work, just like my mom. And I also believe that kids, especially kids growing up in situations like I did, need a role model. You know, kids look up to football players like we’re superheroes. For me, my mom is the hero. And because of football and the publicity that comes with it, I think it’s my turn to be that role model.
When I heard about the work Denver Rescue Mission was doing, and that they help out families living at The Crossing, I thought it’d be cool to partner with them. The work they do is really important, especially for families who are in a tough spot, working hard to get back into a home or an apartment. Anytime I can spare some time, even if it’s just an hour, I try to make it to the Mission. It’s always fun to go there and interact with kids and parents who are working hard to better their situation. The Mission does a good job of providing the support they need, and I just hope I can be a positive influence and a role model for the kids.“ – Shane Ray, Denver Broncos Linebacker
Shane Ray is a fourth-year outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos. Established in 2016, Rays Awareness is Shane Ray’s charitable initiative serving low-income families in both Denver and Kansas City. Programs under Rays Awareness include Shane’s Shoes which is aimed at providing underserved families with shoes for school and sports. Shane’s Shoes is based on Shane’s own experiences and need for athletic shoes coming from a single parent home. For more information on Shane and Rays Awareness visit 56shaneray.com.