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Deslin Alexandre “Blessed” to Give Back to Native Haiti Through NIL Work



The contestant who is awarded the most points on the popular ESPN roundtable discussion show, Around the Horn, is offered the opportunity to take about 30 seconds at the end of the show to talk about an issue — sports-related or otherwise.

Harry Lyles Jr. ‘won’ Around the Horn earlier this month, and he decided to touch upon the times when name, image and likeness deals are put to good use. Specifically, he gave a shoutout to Deslin Alexandre and his 5th Down Campaign.

Alexandre started his 5th Down Campaign earlier this year, partnering with Pittsburgh Kid’s Foundation as a way to provide an extra ‘fifth down’ for the kids in his native Haiti. Alexandre’s foundation set a goal to raise $50,000 to provide basic needs, such as meals and education, for children in Cap-Haitien, Haiti.

The campaign has raised just about 10% of its $50,000 goal so far, and while the national recognition for the 5th Down Campaign has been great, Alexandre appreciates the recognition far more than the publicity.

“I just hope I can inspire someone else to continue to help,” Alexandre said Wednesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “I think it takes everybody to just help people. We all help each other and be there for each other in every way we can.”

The decision to give back to his native Haiti, where he spent the first four years of his life before moving to the United States, was an easy one. And the national recognition has only further shone a light on an area that most Americans aren’t typically aware of or following.

“It means a lot,” Alexandre said. “Just to be able to help people outside of our circle. When you talk about outreach, reaching people outside beyond where you’re located. I had some people reach out social media saying how they appreciated it. Even people in Haiti. Just being able to have some people not know about Haiti learn a little bit more about Haiti.”

The Alexandre family moved to the United States when he was just a young child himself, and he considers it now to be his own ‘fifth down’ opportunity. With the opportunity to give back to those back in Haiti, where he still has family, he considers it a blessing that he’s able to give back where he can.

Alexandre hasn’t been back home to Haiti in some time now, not since he was a grade schooler in Florida, but he plans to finally make it back once the season is over. In between his NFL Draft preparations, he plans to spend some time back in Cap-Haitien.

And Alexandre’s efforts to give back to the younger generation with the 5th Down Campaign have grown to include local efforts in the Pittsburgh area. He’s been to Sacred Heart Elementary and Dilworth Elementary this month to help fundraise. And in seeing the kids raise money to help the kids in Haiti, Alexandre has felt truly blessed.

Alexandre has also spent time with the local Homewood youth football team and, along with Calijah Kancey and Brandon Hill, volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in the Children’s Hospital to serve lunch to families.

The arrival of NIL in the realm of college athletics has fueled a lot of turbulence around the country, but Pitt has been one of the most opportunistic teams in college football when it comes to giving back to local and national causes. Alexandre took notice of ‘Cal’s Kids’ — former Pitt long snapper Cal Adomitis’s campaign to raise $94,000 for the UPMC Children’s Hospital.

Adomitis’s campaign was Pittsburgh-centric, as he grew up in Pittsburgh and attended Pittsburgh Central Catholic in high school, and Alexandre’s own campaign arose from his own upbringing in Haiti and the desire and opportunity to give back.

“Being from Haiti and with the NIL platform, just allowing us to use our platform for good,” Alexandre said. “So, that’s where that started.”

Alexandre is very excited to be able to head back to Cap-Haitien upon the conclusion of the season, but there’re still six games left this season. It’s his final opportunity to finish a season at Pitt, and after missing a few games over the first half of the season, his push for the NFL continues.

With seven tackles (two solo), a tackle for loss, a sack and a pass breakup through two and a half games this season, Alexandre has worked to be an impact player — in addition to his role as captain — and now he just needs to stay healthy.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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