Now a partner at real estate firm esrp, he shares his childhood experiences and the reasons behind his involvement with Rainbow Days in this new series from D CEO.
D CEO (June 15, 2020) – Dallas Cowboys’ all-time leading tackler Darren Woodson says he knows what it’s like not to have hope. The three-time Super Bowl champion grew up in inner-city Phoenix with a single mother who worked two jobs to provide for him and his brothers and sister.
He will share his story as the keynote speaker and honorary chair for Rainbow Days’ Pot of Gold virtual event on June 25.
Now a partner at commercial real estate firm ESRP, Woodson has a rich history of philanthropic involvement, with organizations like Make A Wish, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and C5 Youth Foundation of Texas. He says he got involved with Rainbow Days after the nonprofit’s CEO Tiffany Beaudine asked him for a favor.
“Her spirit and mine totally aligned,” Woodson said. She told me a story about her father growing up and what kind of man he was, and I immediately thought, ‘I can make time. Just wake up early, and you create time.’”
His commitment grew after visiting one of the Rainbow Days camps to speak to some of the youth the organization serves.
“When I got there, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I noticed a lot of those kids looked like me when I was 8 years old, and I saw myself. Those kids are me, and I am them.”
Walking in, Woodson said he had an idea about what he would speak to the youth about but quickly learned to be effective he had to get down to their level and talk about the small things. The message, he said was simple, reiterating stuff like “listen to your teachers” and “make sure you eat.”
“A lot of people in this world won’t understand that message, but I remember when I went to school, and my mom would leave for work at 5 a.m., breakfast was already out,” because she knew he had to feed his brain to be successful at school, Woodson said.
“Those are the littlest things I was telling these kids,” he continued. “It is heartbreaking that I say this, but for some of those kids, their first meal is at school. It just breaks me up cause it hurts that there are so many children that go through this every day.”
Woodson said he also spoke to the children about competing in the classroom the same way one would on the football field or basketball court.
For his keynote at the Pot of Gold event, he will speak about he will talk and share some of his childhood experiences.