PHILADELPHIA, PA– After a successful 12-year National Football League (NFL) career, where he earned two Super Bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboys, Darrin Smith has become a national champion for children. A former Big Brothers Big Sisters mentee (“Little Brother”), Smith will serve as a celebrity ambassador for the nation’s largest mentoring organization.
Smith has joined Big Brothers Big Sisters’ national Speakers’ Bureau and African American Advisory Council. During appearances for Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies over the years, he learned that while nearly 40 percent of the organization’ mentees are African American, only 15 percent of the mentors are black. In addition, African American and Hispanic boys represent the largest numbers of children waiting to be matched with mentors.
“By serving on the national advisory council and serving as a celebrity ambassador, I can share my story and perhaps inspire and encourage more volunteers to come forward, particularly men of color,” Smith said. “I’m honored to support an organization that us proven to help children overcome adversity to achieve in school and make choices that can set them on the path to become champions both on and off the field.”
Smith, who also supports youth development through literacy programs, is the only player in the history of the NFL to have earned two NCAA National Championships, two Super Bowl Championships and a Master’s in Business Administration degree.
“My Big Brother taught me the life lessons that I still carry to this day – the value of hard work, dedication, and setting achieving goals,” Smith said.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Smith, the youngest of five siblings, lost his father to violence when he was three years old. When he was eight, his mother enrolled him in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. In 1978, the agency matched Smith with a Big Brother, Seymour Marksman, with whom he has remained close ever since.
Recalling his first outing with his Big Brother, Smith says his Big Brother handed him a rake and some trash bags and put him to work in his backyard, making Smith wonder what this mentoring relationship was going to turn in to.
“Actually, what we created together turned out to be a good representation of our relationship—a heart-shaped flower bed for Seymour’s wife. The flowerbed and our friendship are still going strong today,” Smith said.
Now a husband and a father himself, Smith is grateful to his Big Brother and the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization for helping to shape him into the man he is today.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course. The first-ever Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Summary, released in 2012, substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth, areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency and college or job readiness.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often those of single or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 100-year history. With about 350 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 630,000 children, volunteers and families. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer at BigBrothersBigSisters.org.