For the second year in a row, former Alabama defensive line standout Marcell Dareus has made a significant contribution to the country of his heritage, Haiti.
A story by John Reid of Jacksonville.com documented Dareus’ recent offseason journey back to Haiti, where last year he visited and donated $25,000 to Hope For Haiti. This time around, Dareus donated five times that amount, to the tune of $125,000, which will go toward a new school building at Christ-Roi Primary School of Cammy.
The building will hold three classrooms, and other parts of Dareus’ donation will fund “teachers’ salaries, school supplies and, some of the necessary infrastructure to sustain education,” according to Reid.
“I promised my mom that I would support Haiti in any way I could, and now I am using my platform to keep my promise,” Dareus said. “It’s a beautiful country with incredible people and children who need help. I want to make sure I do everything I can to lift them up.
“This is just the beginning of what we’re looking to accomplish here. I plan to come back after next season to see the new school and decide what else I can do to continue to build a legacy of hope for Haiti.”
Dareus’ father, Jules, was born in Haiti and lived there until he was a young adult, when he moved to the United States. He passed away from prostate cancer when his son was just 6 years old. Dareus’ mother, Michelle, passed away from heart failure while he was in college at Alabama.
The new school building Dareus’ donation is funding will be named after him. Attending the groundbreaking was a part of his trip, as was meeting scores of children excited for what was to come.
“It is one thing to give money to something and hope for the best; it is quite something else to witness your efforts and see the gratitude and thankfulness of not just the children, but the whole community, for doing what you’re doing,” Dareus said.
“To receive their blessings and hear their words of appreciation directly was something I could have never imagined several years ago. Their gratitude and happiness was overwhelming and showed me that what I am doing is going to have a tremendous impact on their lives.”
Dareus is perhaps best known among Crimson Tide fans for his interception return for a touchdown in the national championship game against Texas in 2010. That score helped Alabama earn its first national title of the Nick Saban era. It began the Crimson Dynasty that is still going.
Now Dareus is at the forefront of another impactful moment, one that will hopefully help generation after generation of kids in Haiti.