While many NFL players are scrambling to get and stay in shape during this lockout period, others are breaking the law, sending the arrest meter off the charts since the lockout began. Then there are attention seekers like Chad Ochocinco (alias Chad Johnson) that are playing soccer and riding bulls trying to find either a new occupation or kill himself (whichever comes first).
Then you have Rams wide receiver Mardy Gilyard. the team’s fourth-round pick in 2010 and veteran offensive lineman John Greco; players that are on the bubble and may clearly struggle to make the 2011 roster. Somehow, they haven’t been able to find their way to St. Louis and were not in attendance for the week of team training sessions at Lindenwood University.
One Rams rookie wasn’t there, but he has a good reason. The team’s 2011 No. 1 draft pick, Robert Quinn, has become an Ambassador. The newest member of JBF Global Ambassadors will continue his work on the “One Team 4 Haiti” project in supporting sports and economic development initiatives. The team consists of NFL players, sponsors and partners.
Jack Brewer, former NFL safety/team captain and alumnus of the University of Minnesota, has formed the Jack Brewer Foundation (JBF Worldwide) along with JBF Global Ambassadors. Several members are on their third tour to Haiti, to team up with and support the efforts of the “One Team 4 Haiti” campaign, which is working extremely hard in the continued rebuilding efforts after a devastating 7.0 seismic earthquake in 2010, with many aftershocks of 5.0-6.0 on the Richter scale.
Sponsored by Brewer Sports International, JBF Worldwide Global Ambassadors, consisting of several current and former National Football League players, will travel alongside partners, Un Techo para mi País, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), IDB YOUTH, A Ganar, L’Athletique D’Haiti and the Voila Foundation to promote sports for development and recovery programs. The delegation will participate in several initiatives throughout the week to provide continued relief to the people of Haiti.
In addition to Quinn and Brewer, the following players comprise the delegation of Ambassadors that are leaders in the sports and entertainment business: Marion Barber (Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl running back and CEO of Barberian Enterprises), Marvin Austin (New York Giants defensive tackle, 2011 second-round draft pick), Barrett Green (former NFL linebacker, CEO of HealthMax and JBF Director of Global Ambassador), and Claudine Oriol (Haiti native, Hollywood actress). Numerous JBF supporters, executives and volunteers from their partnering organizations are also accompanying the delegation.
On Jan. 26, 2010, the Jack Brewer Foundation teamed up with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Trilogy International Partners/Voila, WellMax/Health Sun and Player Associations for the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB to create the “One Team 4 Haiti” campaign to raise relief money for Haiti after the earthquake. The campaign raised funds to provide three stages of aid to Haiti:
1. Immediate needs for food, water and medical attention
2. Mid-term needs for food, water, medicine and shelter
3.Long-term rebuilding and recovery. This year’s return trip will focus on the third stage and aims to pave the way for economic growth for the people of Haiti.
“This visit is an extremely important step for JBF Worldwide, the One Team 4 Haiti program and all of our partnering organizations as we continue to help with the recovery efforts and bring awareness about the ongoing need to rebuild and support this impoverished country,” said Brewer. “Additionally, it is an instrumental step towards our goal of mobilizing U.S. professional athletes into various international initiatives in an effort to provide them with further knowledge and expertise as it pertains to global advocacy, cultural diversity and philanthropic endeavors. I know that many other professional athletes share my vision and are looking for opportunities to be active participants in social change. This is one of many initiatives to expand our global network and provide tangible opportunities for our JBF Global Ambassador athletes to be involved.”
The delegates arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Monday, May 23 where they met with various U.S. Embassy and Haitian Government officials along with representatives from all partnering organizations to hold a press conference regarding the week’s various programs.
On Tuesday, the team began a series of reconstruction programs and partnered with Un Techo para mi. Sources say they are building transitional houses outside of Port-au-Prince for those who are currently homeless, while the goal and focus is the building within refugee areas.
After the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) pledged to provide Haiti more than $2.2 billion in grants over the next decade to fund its recovery efforts and long-term development plans.
Un Techo para mi Pais (UTPMP) is a non-profit organization, run by the youth of Latin America. Every day, thousands of University students throughout the continent work together with the most marginalized people living in slums to provide them a better quality of life. This is done through the construction of transitional homes, the implementation of social inclusion programs, and the development of sustainable communities.
Today UTPMP has a presence in 19 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. These countries are united by the work of thousands of volunteers and communities that strive for a more just continent. To this day, thanks to the support of partners and volunteers, they have helped more than 78,000 families and mobilized more than 400,000 volunteers all over the continent.
A Ganar is a United States non-profit Partners of the Americas (POA), A Ganar (Vencer in Brazil) is a youth workforce development program wrapped up in a soccer ball. By utilizing soccer and other team sports to help youth in Latin America, ages 16-24, find jobs, learn entrepreneurial skills, or re-enter the formal education system, A Ganar combats the serious problem of youth unemployment. Former soccer and basketball star, Robert Duval, president of Foundation L’Athlétique d’Haïti, leads the Haitian version of Ganar, a program that started as a pilot project in Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay in 2005 and has expanded to 11 countries, working with local organizations and the POA.
A Ganar has trained over 4,000 youth in Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia and has now expanded to Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis. The core of the A Ganar program is not a focus on sports training, but rather, the application of sport lessons to personal skill development essential to employment training. (www.partners.net)
L’Athletique D’Haiti, meaning the Athletes of Haiti, is a youth development program founded by human rights activist and Haitian soccer and basketball legend Robert (Bobby) Duval that provides underprivileged youth with a safe, clean, supportive environment where they can learn firsthand how the discipline of sports and the structure of teamwork can enhance skills, enrich lives and change futures.
Since its inception in 1995, the program has grown to provide sports training, nutrition, medical and educational assistance to more than 1,500 participants each day. The short-term goal is to continue to expand the program to double its current capacity, but the long-term goal is to make physical education and sports the backbone by which kids can have positive healthy lives that make them productive citizens.
The Voilà Foundation intends to play a vital role in helping the Haitian people rebuild their nation. The Voilà Foundation works with the Haitian government, the United Nations, representatives of the United States government and other donor nations, as well as leading NGOs, to fund initiatives that provide immediate relief to the homeless and injured and to underwrite programs that will deliver lasting social benefits.
While Quinn is not currently running wind sprints, lifting weights or studying the Rams defensive playbook or building unity with his teammates in Camp St. Louis (which concludes Thursday), this young man has his head on straight and is focused in the direction of giving, not taking. This is another great story of “paying it forward,” to give a week of your life to help and encourage others in a time of need. If this selfless act of humanity is any indication of who the Rams drafted with the No. 14 pick, they already know they have a jewel in this Tar Heel named Robert Quinn.