The Los Angeles Rams announced Will Hayes as the Rams Community Player of the Week for week 14 in recognition of his community outreach efforts throughout the season.
Will Hayes is a nine-year veteran Defensive End for the Los Angeles Rams. Hailing from High point, N.C., Hayes is entering his 5th season with the Rams. Being that he is the most tenured veteran, Will takes pride in being a role model to the players both on and off the field. Whether he’s participating in Rams initiatives or taking part in events put on by his foundation, the Big Play Hayes Foundation, Hayes uses his platform for the betterment of the communities he’s involved with. This week he participated in a Skid Row tour where he brought
What does it mean to be Community Player of the Week?
Being community player of the week means a lot to me. I’m heavily involved in the community and although I don’t do things for the recognition, I appreciate it. It is a blessing that I am in this position, and I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to bless others. I try to be out every week whether it’s educating myself and others to raise awareness for homelessness or volunteer my time with local organizations.
Why is raising awareness about homelessness so important to you?
I became involved with initiatives surrounding homelessness about four years ago. Seeing people on the street in general breaks my heart, but when I saw kids on the street it hit me a little harder. At that point I knew I had to do something. I have five kids and I’m aware that I can take one wrong turn and end up the same way. There’s a lot of preconceived notions about homeless people. Until you truly understand why so many people end up on the street and stay on the street, you have no idea what the homeless community goes through. I’ve heard stories and spoken to homeless people and every story is different. They’re no less of a person than those of us that are fortunate enough to have roofs over our head. I can’t save the world, but hopefully I can put a small dent in it by being involved.
Today you toured the Star Apartment Complex and heard statistics affecting the Greater LA area from the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. What did you learn?
With homelessness, there’s always something to learn. There are new statistics every day but out here in LA, the issues surrounding homelessness are substantially greater. I learned how homelessness is affecting the greater Los Angeles area as well as the services that the UnitedWay of Greater Los Angeles and other surrounding organizations provide to help combat the issues. It was nice to have the opportunity to speak with a few people who used to live on the street and hear their stories and see how well they’re doing now. Star Apartments is a housing complex on Skid Row that helps provide a solution to homelessness. It offers services that cater to the needs surrounding the issue.
Why is it important for you to use your platform?
As a man and a football player in the position that I am, there’s absolutely no question that I need to be involved. It’s pointless to be in this position and not use it for good. I just recently launched the Big Play Hayes Foundation to continue to find ways to impact others who are experiencing homelessness, but I became involved with homeless initiatives in St. Louis. By being involved and getting out and seeing where the need lies, I was able to discover my passions. I do what I can to encourage our players to do the same. I can’t say enough how blessed we are as athletes and it’s up to us to find ways to make a difference in our communities.
Fire Round with Will Hayes
Dinosaurs or Mermaids?
• Mermaids, no question.
What is your favorite go to meal?
• I couldn’t even tell you. I’m one of the pickiest eaters on the team.
You’re a big prankster on the team. What’s one of the best pranks you’ve seen?
• I won’t name any names, but there was a player’s car that got filled with crickets. It got so bad, he had to total his car.
You have five kids and there’s a lot of new dads on the team. What is the best advice you have for them?
• Nothing can prepare you for fatherhood, but kids are blessings. Cherish every moment.
Describe yourself in three words…
• Big Kid
About the Rams Community Player of the Week Presented by Wells Fargo
Each week during the 2016 regular season, the Los Angeles Rams select a player to honor as the Rams Community Player of the Week. The program, presented by Wells Fargo, is intended to recognize players for the positive impact they make off the field and their commitment to serving the Greater Los Angeles Area.
In 2015, Wells Fargo team members volunteered more than 41,800 hours in the LA area. This week, the organization is proud to recognize Wells Fargo Community Player of the Week, Enrique Solis, business banking specialists from Palm Springs, for his excellence in caring for the community. This year Enrique has volunteered with several nonprofit organizations helping underserved children. He serves on the board of several organizations that protect, assist and mentor young people, including disabled youth and children from low income families. For more information on Wells Fargo’s commitment to community service, visit https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/corporate-responsibility/community-giving/