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Our Super Bowl 50 MVPs

On Sunday, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers will face off in Super Bowl 50.

Two key players, Broncos' Safety David Bruton, Jr. and Panthers' Defensive Back Bené Benwikere will unfortunately miss the game because of injuries. Although their presence on the field will be missed, they have continued to play a key role in helping their hometown United Ways make a difference in people's lives.

David is working with Mile High United Way to help tackle literacy. Last year, he founded “Bruton’s Books” to help low-income children in grades K-3 become strong readers through tutoring and by providing books to underfunded schools, libraries and classrooms. On October 6, he visited schools to hand out books and talk about the importance of being a strong reader.

David makes a visit to Greenlee Elementary School in Denver in October 2015.

Christine Benero, president and CEO of Mile High United Way was quoted by the Denver Post saying, "David, his educational background, he understands what the power of reading and the power of books is. He understands that it sets you on a lifetime path, so he lives that every single day. He talks about it, he thinks about it."

David understands the power of reading and the power of books.

And in January, David announced that he was going to expand The David Bruton Foundation and its charitable program Bruton’s Books to the Miamisburg, Ohio area, where he went to high school and once served as a substitute teacher. The Foundation will focus on Miamisburg City Schools and schools across the South Dayton area that reside in lower income communities where students are struggling to read proficiently.

Panthers Defensive Back Bené Benwikere shares David’s commitment to building up the community. It was the first thing on his agenda upon joining the Panthers in 2014. Inspired by his grandmother, who has been donating to United Way for over 30 years, it’s no surprise Bené has kept up the great work.

Barbi Jones of United Way of Central Carolinas said, “We have been so blessed to work with Bené this year. He has been beyond generous with his limited free time, doing a multitude of impact-driven events and appearances on United Way’s behalf.”

We have been so blessed to work with Bené this year.

Bené has spent the past few months simultaneously rehabbing his injury and reviving the community through fantastic events with United Way of Central Carolinas. Hosting everything from kid Q&A’s, to school pep rallies, to Super Bowl raffles, Bené has had no shortage of childlike fun this year.

He has also invited teammates to join him at events to see firsthand how powerful the Panthers’ platform can be.

"Until you see it live, a lot of us don’t really realize the impact of what we do and how many people are really watching us outside of football," Bené said. "We know eyes are always on us for negative attention off the field, but we have parents and kids looking to us for the positives, too. We take that for granted, and community service is a great way to meet those who cheer for us Monday through Saturday. Thanks to organizations like United Way, it’s easy to make those personal connections and give kids incentive to do better."

Thanks to organizations like United Way, it’s easy to make those personal connections and give kids incentive to do better.

Regardless of which team you’re rooting for to win the Super Bowl, let’s make sure David and Bene know how much we appreciate their efforts.

Let's give it up for the great work they've done.

Tweet your appreciation to David or Bené to thank them for helping to make their communities stronger.

Thank DavidThank Bené