During his second trip to Haiti in the past two offseasons, Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus attended the groundbreaking for a school that will be named after him, according to John Reid of The Florida Times-Union.
Dareus, whose father was Haitian, donated $125,000 through Hope for Haiti to help fund a three-classroom building at the Christ-Roi Primary School of Cammy, according to The Times-Union. Along with the actual building, Dareus's donation will also help fund teachers' salaries, get school supplies and establish some of the necessary infrastructure for sustaining education, according to The Times-Union.
"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 according to The Times-Union. "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."
Last year, Dareus donated $25,000 to Hope for Haiti when he visited the island and met with more than 800 children, according to The Times-Union. Dareus's father Jules died of prostate cancer when the All-Pro was only 6, and Dareus has been using these trips to reconnect with his father's native nation, according to The Times-Union.
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According to The Union-Times, in addition to getting closer to his roots, Dareus is also keeping a promise to his late mother Michelle Luckey by donating to Haiti, which is still recovering from the effects of a 2010 earthquake as well as 2016's Hurricane Matthew.
"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 according to The Union-Times. "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, 28, is entering his eighth year in the NFL next season and his second season with the Jaguars. He was drafted with the No. 3 pick in 2011 by the Bills.