Marcell Dareus returns to his childhood field of dreams this weekend, Wahouma Park, in Birmingham, Alabama, to bestow a generous gift that will impact the lives and aspirations of local youth for years to come.
“I want the kids who play here to know that they have the same opportunities to succeed as I did,” says Dareus. “And what better way to do that than to give them a safe and clean environment in which to play.”
With 113 parks within the city limits, Birmingham Park and Recreation is uniquely positioned to provide accessible recreational opportunities to families throughout the area. A neighborhood park is often the place where athletic prowess is first tested and a dream imagined, lifelong friendships and memories made, and an appreciation for nature is kindled by a bird’s soaring flight.
“I’m really excited to come back to Birmingham and revitalize the park I played in as a child,” added Dareus.
The third overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and the highest-selected defensive lineman in University of Alabama history, Dareus played on the 2009 and 2010 BCS National Championship squads and was a multi-sport star at Huffman High School. He began to showcase his gridiron talents early on as a youth playing at Wahouma Park for the Wahouma Seminoles. Dareus has achieved numerous honors during his young career – MVP of the 2010 BCS title game, Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-Rookie of the Year in 2011; First-Team All-Pro in 2013 and selected to the 2013 and 2014 Pro Bowl teams.
The opportunity to revitalize Wahouma Park came to Birmingham Park and Recreation through the vision of Chris Rogers, CEO of Together Assisting People (TAP). A former University of Alabama football standout, Rogers established TAP in 2010 as a non-profit organization to prepare athletes to be successful in life outside of athletics. TAP develops and institutes programs catered to the unique issues facing youth and young adults, which helps them to find purpose and direction.
“We are truly excited to partner with Marcell on the Wahouma Park Revitalization Project. We applaud Marcell’s commitment to the Birmingham community and TAP is here to help him achieve his goals of making the city he grew up in and calls home a great place to live, work and play,” says Rogers.
Since its founding, TAP has sponsored educational symposia focused on building life plans, personal branding, leadership, social media etiquette, interview skills and financial literacy. Through partnerships and fundraising, such as the annual Chris Rogers’ Paintball Tournament and Tap’s Celebrity Golf Tournament, TAP continues to expand its reach and meet the needs of young athletes.
“Birmingham Park and Recreation and the families who enjoy Wahouma Park are blessed to be the recipients of the generosity of Mr. Dareus and TAP,” says Kevin Moore, Director of Birmingham Park and Recreation. “Our commitment to providing exceptional recreation opportunities throughout the city continues, park by park.”
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