Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus lights up when discussing his community service work to help kids prepare for back-to-school.

At a recent event, HISD and the Texans provided free haircuts, backpacks, school supplies, pictures and autographs signed by Mercilus, who has been with the team since 2012. 

Mercilus talked about the importance of the initiative to him, and remembered his school days growing up in Akron, Ohio. He said that something as simple as a fresh haircut or new school supplies can mean a lot to youngster in the inner city.

He hoped that his involvement in the back-to-school event would send an important message and show kids and the community how much he cared.

“All that helps them understand that there are people like myself in this world who are paying it forward for the younger generation and doing our Godly duties,” he said.

In November, Mercilus will host his third annual charity event, “Dine with Merci,” which supports families of children with disabilities and special needs through his WithMerci Foundation. Mercilus was chosen as the 2018 NFL Houston Texans Man of the Year nominee for his work on and off the field.   

For more information visit www.withmerci.org.