by Harry Hoffman Harry Hoffman is a second-generation Seattle native. An affordable housing advocate and sports fan, he has held leadership positions in youth sports, early learning and housing organizations in King and Snohomish counties. Harry is currently a volunteer, consultant and activist-at-large working with local communities and their residents for social equity and community empowerment.
Even as the initial glow of the Seahawks amazing Super Bowl victory slowly fades, people throughout our Puget Sound continue to show their 12th Man pride. No question the 12th Man made an enormous contribution to a football season none of us will ever forget.
I was fortunate to witness Seattle’s other modern-era World Championship in 1979, the Supersonics NBA title. As much as I cherish that memory, the scale of support for the Seahawks victory is far greater and reaches even deeper into our community. It seems 12th Man status is an almost universal phenomena without any barriers to membership, reflected by the incredible diverse crowd at the victory parade.
Wouldn’t it be something if we could collectively channel even a part of the positive energy this victory into actions that make our city and county an even better place to live? Just think; if a half-million people identify as the 12th Man and even 10% chose to take that to another level that would mean 50,000 volunteers for community programs and organizations that serve the disadvantaged and provide hope where it isn’t readily found.
Sound far-fetched? Well, our collective heroes would probably disagree. At least 6 Seahawk players and Coach Pete Carroll have foundations or sponsor programs that give back to the community that has so warmly embraced them. You can find links at the Seahawk website under Community or search your favorite player’s name online to find even more examples.
The Seahawks team itself engages in many charitable efforts, one of the most important is their sponsorship and hosting of United Way of King County’s annual Community Resource Exchange, an event that helps homeless folks get the basics they need to maintain self-respect and dignity in the face of the trauma of being without a place to call home.
The 12th Man could make this the largest and most meaningful Community Resource Exchange yet, adding to the glory of the Super Bowl victory in very important way by volunteering and supporting the event at a world champion scale. It takes hundreds of volunteers and community partners to reach as many people as possible for this event, offering easy ways for the 12th Man to get involved. For example, you could hold a supply drive to gather necessities to give out to the guests including adult socks, toothpaste, toothbrush, chap stick, deodorant, razor, comb & soap for Hygiene Packs, sneakers and athletic shoes. To learn more visit United Way of King County’s Community Resource Exchange site.
Supply drives not your thing? Here’s another idea: make a real impact on the same issue of homelessness and its causes by connecting with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance to take action during the current State Legislative Session on sound and sane policies that deal with lasting solutions to a problem that can be solved!
Whichever path you choose, taking the 12th Man to the next level will be a fitting way to show appreciation and spread the joy.