Ex-Pitt WR Ford helping raise money for computers for Sto-Rox
Former Pitt wide receiver Dontez Ford hopes to keep alive his dream of playing in the NFL this weekend when teams stock their rosters with young players fresh from college.
Meanwhile, he continues his quest for an MBA in Pitt's Katz Graduate School of Business. Those are admirable pursuits, but football and academics are only part of Ford's story.
For the second year in row, Ford and Pitt classmates Craig Bittner and Jim Fanning are raising money to help the Sto-Rox School District obtain desperately needed resources. This year's goal: A cart full of Google Chromebooks.
Last year, they raised more than $10,000 to help the Sto-Rox baseball and softball teams with funding for uniforms, meals, travel bags, gloves and cleats. This year, they noticed the district has only about 50 Chromebooks, and many are out-of-date and all are overbooked. They set a goal of $3,000.
Ford, a Sto-Rox graduate, already had a full schedule, but he does voice-overs for several videos that highlight students, teachers and others in the community. He is featured on one video titled, "He is Sto-Rox," in which he is shown scoring touchdowns for Sto-Rox and Pitt and talking about giving back to the community that helped shape him.
The effort is called "Hardwired TV," and Ford, Bittner and Fanning have established a Facebook page that includes the videos and a "GoFundMe" link that already helped raise $1,480.
"I grew up learning that whenever you're able to make a difference in someone's life that's what you do," Ford said. "It's hard-wired into our minds: You do good for people and you don't have to expect anything in return."
Sto-Rox senior basketball player Janaya Hazlip, who is featured on a video called "She is Sto-Rox," said Ford is a role model for young people in the district.
"He sets the example that you don't have to be in the streets to get respect," she said.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.