Pop Warner-Youth Scholars have selected Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller as this year’s recipient of the 2022 Pop Warner Inspiration to Youth Award, given annually to an individual who has inspired the youth of today to become great achievers of tomorrow.
Waller has used his own personal challenging journey of battling through drug and alcohol addiction to teach young people on how to avoid and overcome addiction.
From his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to supporting childhood cancer efforts, Darren [Waller] has done so much more with other causes, earning recognition not only as a nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, but also this year as our 2022 Inspirational to Youth Award winner, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Darren Waller,” Pop Warner Scholar Celebration Emcee Michael Cain said.
Waller has been open about his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse began when he was the age of 15. And as for one who has overcome substance abuse, Waller’s journey has led him to emerge as one of the top stars around the league and become one of the best tight ends in the NFL today.
“I’m honored to be a recipient of the Pop Warner Inspiration to Youth Award.” I could thank many people for allowing me to get to this stage in my career. So many people that helped me out when I was a youth football player. I’m grateful to them all, grateful to all the experiences I’ve had in my life that allowed me to be the man that I am today. I wish you guys nothing but the best peace and prosperity going forward and thank you,” Waller said during his acceptance speech.
Waller has continuously used his platform to help and support individuals and their families during their own recoveries and treatment journeys.
He has also hosted youth football camps, worked with mental health initiatives and in 2020, Waller started The Darren Waller Foundation, which aids at-risk youth in Las Vegas by building confidence, giving guidance, and providing support during recovery and treatment.
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Waller joins Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown as Raiders to receive the award, although Brown was traded to Tampa Bay that season.
Pop Warner Little Scholars is the nation’s oldest youth football, cheer, and dance organization and the only one with established academic standards. The organization annually gives out the Pop Warner 2022 National Awards, which recognize four prominent leaders in pro sports for commitment to both their communities and their crafts, as part of the All-American Scholars program.
Following his nomination as the Raiders’ Walter Payton Man of the Year, Waller continues to be recognized for all the work and time he is dedicated to young people in need of support with drug and alcohol abuse.
If you are in need of help, please visit the National Substance Abuse website.
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