The 49ers announced that in a pregame ceremony during this week's home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, November 21, the winners of the fourth annual 49ers Perry/Yonamine Unity Award will be recognized for their outstanding community achievements for 2010.
The award, named for the former 49ers players and pioneers of unity and diversity, Joe "The Jet" Perry and Wally Yonamine, will be presented to 49ers defensive end Justin Smith, Irvington High School football coachand Silicon Valley FACES. The award annually honors a current 49ers player, a Bay Area youth football coach and a local non-profit agency that has demonstrated, as Perry and Yonamine did, an exceptional commitment to promoting unity within their team and in their community.
In honor of their achievements, the San Francisco 49ers Foundation will be making $10,000 contributions in their names to Silicon Valley FACES, Irvington High School youth football and, on behalf of Justin Smith, Camp Okizu.
Smith was chosen for the leadership and determination he demonstrates both on and off the field, all of which constantly unite his teammates. The 10-year veteran exemplifies the spirit of unity and teamwork with his tremendous play on the field and dedication to the game along with his efforts outside of football.
This year, as part of the 49ers CARES program, a new initiative to continue the team's outreach in the community, Smith provided individuals associated with Support Network for Battered Women the opportunity to experience the excitement of the NFL and 49ers football live at Candlestick Park through ticket donations to the non-profit. Smith has his own section in Candlestick Park called Justin's Justice where beneficiaries of this program sit and enjoy the game each week.
Coach Cain, of Irvington High School in Fremont, was chosen as the Unity Award winner in the youth football category. Cain has coached football in Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) for over 40 years and has helped develop young players into young men by providing stable and positive guidance. Throughout his years, he has been the role model for the young student-athletes by being a steady influence teaching life lessons in a positive and challenging atmosphere.
For 45 years, Silicon Valley FACES has been dedicated to eliminating prejudice and discrimination in all its forms in the community and helping develop the next generation of leaders. The organization's mission is to build an inclusive and caring community free of bias and bigotry. They accomplish their mission by bringing people together though educational programs and supporting victims of crimes. The agency's educational programs have made a lasting difference not only in the lives of young people who've participated, but in the communities where they live. In these challenging economic times, Silicon Valley FACES continues to provide youth and the community with skills necessary to build communities of respect and appreciation.
Silicon Valley FACES' impact occurs on different levels. Through the organization's educational programs, youth have developed a greater insight and appreciation for different perspectives and people, built relationships with empathy and learned respect for others. The agency's Victim Witness Assistance Center strives to reduce the trauma of a violent crime by empowering and assisting the victims, witnesses and significant others in reconstructing their lives through advocacy, support, information and referrals.
The Selection Process
The Unity Award for the 49ers player is decided upon by their fellow teammates and their coaches. A panel of judges reviews the applications for the youth football coach and non-profit agency.