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Brown experiences Haiti "first-hand"


JACKSONVILLE – This was no one-time deal for Sergio Brown.

To Brown, the impact was real, deep and lasting. And as the Jaguars' free safety sees it, a recent trip to Haiti was more than one trip in one week in one NFL offseason. A lot more.

Brown, a safety who signed with the Jaguars an unrestricted free agent this offseason, was part of a group of players representing the Jack Brewer Foundation and the United States Federation for Middle East Peace on a recent Worldwide Global Ambassadors trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

"It was a chance to experience the Haitian experience first-hand," Brown said. "The purpose of the trip for me was basically to spread hope for the youth, and see what was going on myself."

The goal of the trip – which was supported by the Ministry of Sport and the Ministry of Tourism – was to raise awareness and support for philanthropic efforts in Haiti.

Former NFL players Clinton Portis, Sidney Rice, Takeo Spikes, Tommie Harris, Lee Evans, Marvin Austin, Carlos Emmons, Ramses Barden, Brian Williams and Barrett Green were also part of the trip, as was two-time welterweight champion Andre Berto.

The group participated in philanthropic endeavors with Starkey Hearing Foundation, Project Medishare and Healing Hands for Haiti.

"I definitely feel a passion – for spreading hope, mostly – and using the power of sports to create something," Brown said. "My main intention going on the trip was to spend time with the kids. We had a sports day and were out hanging out and teaching them football."

Brown said the group also visited the Haitian Sports Complex, laying stone there for a planned baseball facility.

"They already have a soccer field, but they don't have any baseball fields at all," Brown said.

Brown, who graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in marketing, is pursuing a master's degree in business administration at Miami. It was there he met Brewer, a former defensive back at UM and former NFL defensive back also pursuing his MBA at the school.

Sergio Brown recently visited Port-au-Prince, Haiti on a Worldwide Global Ambassadors trip as part of a group of players representing the Jack Brewer Foundation and the United States Federation for Middle East Peace.

"He has a strong connection, and they go there every year," Brown said. "They're taking small steps, little by little. I'm curious, scratching the surface and trying to figure this thing out. I want to do things that are more impactful than just sending some money and saying, 'Oh, well.'

Brown, who said he plans to work more with Brewer, the foundation and Haiti, said his primary interest was in working with children with groups such as Starkey Hearing Foundation.

"They're doing remarkable things with their technology and hearing aids," he said. "I saw a kid who was able to hear sound for the first time. They have people who come and assist, people from outside, but they don't have enough people in-house who are their all of the time. People come for month or a couple of weeks, then they're gone. They need people who actually able to go down and help or who can train Haitians to be there."

Brown said it's difficult to participate in such a trip and not be significantly affected by it.

"I feel like the trip was more for me than them," Brown said. "I've been to Haiti before and I've seen all parts of Haiti, but I hadn't been to the hospitals and I hadn't been with the children. I've given away shoes and had people follow me, but I hadn't seen the real Haiti like I saw this time."

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