Recognized as often for his hard work in the community as he is for his hard hits on the football field, Brooks remains one of the most community-minded players in the NFL. Through his foundation, Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc., Brooks has made it his life’s mission to positively impact the lives of youth in the Tampa Bay area.
The Brooks Bunch program served as the cornerstone of Derrick Brooks’ community involvement leading the way for the formation of Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc. The Brooks Bunch was founded in 1997, and consisted of youth from the Wilbert Davis, Ybor City, and Brandon Boys & Girls Clubs. As a rookie, Brooks began to visit the Boys & Girls Clubs as a way to encourage and motivate the children to excel in the classroom. During one visit, Brooks realized through conversion with a young girl that the kids at the club had not experienced things that average Americans take for granted. Thus, the idea behind the Brooks Bunch was born.
What started as a day trip on an airplane to Fort Lauderdale has blossomed into a program that incorporates a classroom element, a panel presentation, and behavior and grade assessments, all while leading up to trips around the country and around the globe. Brooks has accompanied his Bunch on seven educational journeys altogether, including a college tour to New York, Chicago, and Tallahassee, and trips to Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and the western United States. In 2000 and 2005, Brooks Bunch members who earned their way traveled with Brooks to South Africa where they visited Johannesburg, Cape Town, Robben Island, and Sabi Sabi safari camp. In 2014 Derrick has once again decided to get back on the road with the educational field trips, the next one will take place in June of 2015.
In addition to the Brooks Bunch program, Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc., includes annual programs such as the Brooks Bunch Business Boot Camp in partnership with Fifth Third Bank teaching high school students financial literacy, and our Lego Robotics STEM Program in partnership with Spring Hill Community Center and the Science Center of St. Petersburg. The Brooks Bunch Scholarship Program providing Semester Stipends for the students that have successfully completed the First and Goal Program and qualify with program minimums of 12 credit hours and a minimum GPA of 2.5, Rites of Passage Program, a mentoring program for young ladies, as well as the annual Thanksgiving Feeding, and Christmas Party. The most recent addition to Derrick Brooks Charities educational programs is the Train Up Tuff Talk Program which is serving 140 students in area Boys and Girls Clubs and Springhill Park Community Center. The Train Up program offers High School and Middle School students an engaging alternative to the traditional academic and life skills training.