Arik Armstead

49ers' Armstead receives key to city of Sacramento

Ark Armstead was presented with the symbol during his inaugural Kick Off For Kids charity event in Sacramento.

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SACRAMENTO — Just as Arik Armstead’s inaugural Kick Off For Kids 2023 Gala opened, the 49ers defensive lineman received an incredible surprise -- the key to the city of Sacramento. 

Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg took the stage to bestow the honor and personally hand over the key.

“Some might ask, ‘Does it open the [door] to the city treasury,’” Steinberg joked. “The answer is ‘No,’ but it opens the key to the city’s heart, and you have it, and we are grateful for you, man.”

After founding the Armstead Academic Project in 2019, Armstead has been the 49ers' Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee three years in a row for the work he does helping underserved youth of his hometown of Sacramento.

Armstead has been a significant factor for the city, along with his wife Melinda, to ensure the youth of Sacramento receive resources to have an equal opportunity in the educational system.

At the Black Tie event, Armstead was supported by his family as well as several 49ers teammates who attended the event, including Trey Lance, Alex Barrett, Jauan Jennings, alum Patrick Willis and team owner Dr. John York.

“I’m blown away really. I’m just a young kid from Sacramento,” Armstead said. “I love being from here. I’ve been so blessed in my life. I have a lot of appreciation for my family and everything I’ve been able to experience growing up here. It’s really shaped the person who I am.”

At Armstead's last gala prior to COVID restrictions, the AAP raised over $100,000 to fund resources for the underserved youth in the Sacramento Area where he regularly returns to remain an active participant, and not simply provide monetary contributions.

“I didn’t think it was fair that certain students would receive poorer or lesser education due to where they live,” Armstead said. “Kids should have the same level of education and they deserve the same shot at life, to be successful and go on to college.”

Armstead said that his goal is to not limit his program to northern California but to eventually develop his organization on a state and national level. Sacramento is just the start.

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