The As One Foundation
The As One Foundation was created by a young Bahamian seeking to make a difference. Devard Darling, in loving memory of his identical twin brother, Devaughn Darling, seeks to change the world by giving underprivileged youth more opportunities through athletic endeavors, educational programming, and spiritual enrichment. Their vision has developed from the ideals and truths already known to many Bahamians; it is a little known secret, about to be revealed to the world through the As One Foundation.
What is this huge secret which drives the formation of an organization focused on youth?The answer is because of people like Edwin Smith, Devard Darling, Alex Smith, Rick Fox, Mychal Thompson, Tonique Williams-Darling, Pauline Davis, Chandra Sturrup, Sevantheda Fynes, Debbie Ferguson, Avard Moncur, Dennis Darling, Nathaniel McKinney, Christopher Brown, Frank Rutherford, Troy Kemp, and Roger Smith; just to name a few!
What do all these people have in common?
They are all athletes; very good athletes, who were blessed with the opportunity to compete on the highest level in their respective sports. In football, Edwin Smith was drafted in the 13th round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos; Darling was drafted 82nd overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens; and Alex Smith was drafted in the third round in the 2005 NFL Draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the NBA, Thompson was drafted #1 in the 1978 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers and Rick Fox, actor and professional basketball player, was a starting player on the 2000, 2001, and 2002 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. He was drafted in the first round of the 1991 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. Williams-Darling is the 2004 Summer Olympics Gold Metal winner in the women’s 400m; Davis, Sturrup, Fynes, and Ferguson, better known as the “Golden Girls,” won the first Bahamian Gold Metal in the 2000 Summer Olympics in the 4x100m; Moncur, Darling, McKinney, and Brown were the 2003 World Championships Bronze Medalists; Rutherford was the first Bahamian Olympic medalist, earning a Bronze medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics; and Kemp the 1995 High Jump World Champion.
But that is not the only thing they have in common; as you may have guessed, these athletes are also ALL Bahamian. Granted there are 732 islands in the Bahamas; but what people don’t know is there are only approximately 306,000 people living in the country of the Bahamas. Yes, 306,000 people constitute the population of one country! That is the equivalent of a modest American city like Toledo, Ohio, which has 313,000 people; the 57 th largest city in the United States according to the 2000 U.S. Census. That means all of the athletes described above are from a country which is equal to the size of a small city like Toledo, Ohio. Can you imagine having eight Olympic medalists, three NFL Draft picks, and two NBA Draft Picks come from this one small city? What’s more, the list above is just a few examples of recent success stories; this list is not even scratching the surface of all the Bahamian athletes excelling on the professional level!
What does this have to do with the As One Foundation?All of the athletes described above had to take their athletic ability out of the country of the Bahamas to seek additional opportunities in other countries. The facilities, coaching, programs, and support is not always available to young, talented Bahamians. There are the few lucky ones who may get some support; but, unfortunately, there are thousands of young Bahamians with amazing talent and ability, but will never have the opportunity to exercise that talent because of the lack of opportunities afforded to them.
The As One Foundation seeks to meet the needs of these young people who do not have an outlet to pursue athletics, who do not have a spiritual support group, or are not receiving the educational support they need. Our goal is not only youth living in the Bahamas , but youth in underprivileged communities in America , as well as countries and communities around the world. Just image how many extraordinary young people would be developed if given the right opportunities! Devard, the As One Foundation founder, seeks to make that a reality. And, if given the opportunity, what was once two young island boys’ dream will become a reality!