Diaspora

Native Haitian, Pitt defensive end Deslin Alexandre gives back to homeland through NIL – TribLIVE

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The smiles on the Pitt football players after they won the ACC championship a year ago were born of hard work and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Some time after this season — regardless of whether Pitt is able to bring home another ACC trophy — senior defensive end Deslin Alexandre hopes to wear a similar facial expression after another period of diligence and sacrifice.
But for a reason far removed from football.
Alexandre’s smile will surface the day he returns to his native Haiti with a five-figure check that will represent money raised through his 5th Down Campaign.
After the NCAA eased regulations on what players can do with their name, image and likeness, Alexandre joined many of his teammates — most notably Kenny Pickett in 2021 — in launching money-raising and promotional initiatives.
Alexandre, who wears jersey No. 5, decided to partner with the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation and create the 5th Down Campaign to focus on raising money for the town of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, where he was born 24 years ago, spent part of his childhood and where many family members reside.
Alexandre’s campaign supports a community development organization in Haiti called IDADEE, which includes a children’s home, community schools that service more than 300 students, a hospital, vocational school and an agricultural project on its campus.
The project has raised $9,220 that will be used for meals, clothing and education.
Where did such a benevolent project take root with Alexandre, who went to high school in Pompano Beach, Fla., before enrolling at Pitt in January 2017?
“Just the heart to give back,” he said Wednesday after practice. “Allowing us to use our platform for good. I’ve been blessed in so many ways. To be able to give back to the kids in Haiti is a great opportunity for me and the kids in Haiti.”
Alexandre is one of several Pitt players who donate their free time to the community inside and outside the Pitt campus — endeavors supported by coach Pat Narduzzi.
Alexandre has been involved with Make-A-Wish, supported veterans and advocated for literacy and voter registration.
He recently visited Sacred Heart and Dilworth elementary schools in Pittsburgh, where students helped him raise funds for Haiti.
Thank you to @PPSDILWORTH and Sacred Heart Elementary School for joining me in my Fifth down mission. #H2P #kidshelpingkids @PKFtweets pic.twitter.com/SWrHPb0Sg4
— Deslin Alexandre (@_Deslin) October 17, 2022

“Kids helping other kids,” he said. “Just to see that gives me a lot of hope for the future. We have a lot of good kids just doing good for the community.”
Alexandre, a sixth-year senior who has appeared in 52 games with 29 starts, said part of his inspiration was the charitable work done last year by former Pitt long snapper Cal Adomitis, who raised more than $120,000 for cancer programs at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Overall last academic year, Pitt players spent more than 800 hours in community service, the most of any Division I football program.
That record might fall this year. Since August, players have donated 628 hours of service, said Pitt’s director of community engagement Celeste Welsh.
“I just hope I can inspire somebody else,” Alexandre said. “It takes everybody. We all help each other and be there for each other.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at jdipaola@triblive.com or via Twitter .
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