The 49ers have announced that in a pregame ceremony during this week's home game against the New York Giants on Sunday, the winners of the fifth annual 49ers Perry/Yonamine Unity Award will be recognized for their outstanding community achievements for 2011.
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, San Francisco Police Activities League Seahawks Coach Otis Williams and Building Peaceful Families. 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 Building Peaceful Families, the San Francisco Police Activities League and, on behalf of Justin Smith, Football Camp for the Stars.
Smith was chosen for the leadership and determination he demonstrates both on and off the field, all of which constantly unite his teammates. The 11-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.
The Football Camp for the Stars is for young men with Down syndrome who love football. With instruction from NFL football players and coaches, along with college and prep school coaches,
athletes learn the fundamentals that put them in the middle of the action, resulting in an authentic football experience. At the Football Camp for the Stars, our athletes are the stars.
Coach Williams, of the Seahawks from the San Francisco Police Activities League (SFPAL), was chosen as the Unity Award winner in the youth football category. Williams signed up for the PAL Seahawks program in 1972, when he was a 12-year-old boy growing up in the Fillmore. His father died when he was seven, leaving his mother to raise four boys alone. Williams played for the Seahawks through middle school and says he can still recall the name of every Seahawks coach he ever had. They served as role models and father figures to young Williams. Today, married with a family of his own, he now turns his attention to coaching young children in the same league that he once played in, teaching them the hard work, discipline, and values he learned as a child.
Building Peaceful Families, located in Santa Clara County, is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health, safety, and well-being of children by educating, honoring, and encouraging kids and their adult role models, and by promoting involved, responsible, and committed parenting. Since 2005, BPF has positively impacted the lives of thousands of children by offering inspirational programs and events in the community that truly enrich lives. BPF specifically targets the underserved in our community and firmly believes that by making a positive impact on an adult, the life of a child will be positively impacted as well. And when that child grows up, it's likely he or she will pay it forward.
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.