Letter from Derrick Brooks: Education is key to change

Hall of Fame Linebacker Derrick Brooks: Education is key to change

I started Derrick Brooks Charities on the premise of education and youth, and those two pillars have been my focus over the last 20 plus years through the foundation. My way of attacking social injustice, inequality and economic differences is through educating youth.

The mission of Derrick Brooks Charities is to provide educational opportunities for socio-economically challenged youth that will instill, inspire, broaden and develop their cultural and social vision outside of the walls in which they live, to ensure that these young people have every chance to develop into strong, productive leaders of tomorrow.

Education is a critical connector that everyone can buy into, from politicians, to mayors, to leaders, to sports figures. My goal has always been to influence kids to focus more on their academics and to get them the extra educational help they need. This is my way of closing the gap and creating relationships. The old saying is, it's easier to help raise a child and influence their thinking than it is to change an adult who is set in their ways. I have and will continue to make a difference in the Tampa Bay area and the entire state of Florida, whether it's through Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, educational programs, social programs, mentoring programs or after school programs.

Derrick Brooks Charities also works with an ex-offender program to provide an alternative to incarceration for young men and women by empowering them with protective and resiliency skills that encourage respect and responsibility for their family, community, education and personal achievement. Our programs are trusted not only by the community, but also by state agencies. These government agencies trust us to help change people who have made bad decisions and help them get on the right track. We have planted a lot of seeds to influence youth and God has watered them, and for that I am very thankful.

I want to add value to the Players Coalition when it comes to education, relationships and the vision for how we can continue to broaden the scope of education not just with children, but with adults and professionals. I believe with more education, more dialogue and better communication, that together we can develop some key strategies to make a difference in the world.

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