Deslin Alexandre is preparing for a second Senior Day, a homecoming of sorts, as Pitt travels to Miami Gardens for the season finale against Miami this weekend.
His family was in Pittsburgh for the official Senior Day against Duke last weekend, but he grew up in Pompano Beach, Florida. He spent the first few years of his life in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, though. And it will always hold a special place in his life.
So, when Alexandre was able to use name, image and likeness deals to give back to the community, he decided he wanted to give back to where it all began. He wanted to give back to the children back in Cap-Haitien who needed it.
Alexandre started his Fifth 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.
Pitt’s 28-26 win over Duke was a big team accomplishment, but it also coincided with a $22,500 donation from PGT Trucking to the Fifth Down Campaign. It pushed the donation total to around $40,000, just off the goal set by Alexandre in the offseason.
“I think it’s a blessing, man, just to come out with Thanksgiving, just really being thankful, for all that I have and my brothers and my team and also just thankful for PGT Trucking helping out Fifth Down with our efforts,” Alexandre said.
The Alexandre family moved to the United States when he was just a young child himself, and he considers the chance to give back 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 Fifth 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 charitable efforts from Alexandre have been both the continuation of Pitt football’s NIL efforts and the inspiration for what it means to really utilize NIL efforts going forward.
“It does, and you can go back to Cal Adomitis, and really go back to some of the foundations with Coach’s Program, one of his pillars really is to give back,” Partridge said Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “And relationships, getting degrees, winning, all those things really are the foundation of coach Narduzzi’s program. And Des is just the kinda person who’s taken it and run with it.”
With just about $10,000 left to reach his overall goal, the finish line is within sight, and an opportunity to play Miami in the season finale gives him one more major opportunity to give back. And the only word to describe the feeling of even being close to his goal is thankful.
“For everyone, even Marcus Minor’s mom has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes helping people get out, so I’m thankful for that,” Alexandre said. “I’m thankful to all of you guys for helping to get the story out, Ms. Celeste helping me get this together, everyone who has had a hand in it, who donated. If you hear this, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to help people, thank you to them for helping people also, it takes us all.”
Alexandre has racked up 28 tackles (12 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and two pass breakups this season, bouncing back from missing three games due to injury.
With just Miami and a bowl game appearance left in his college career, Alexandre is determined to make his impact. But he’s also determined to reach the goal of $50,000 for Fith Down.
Donation to Fifth Down can be made here: https://www.pittsburghkidsfoundation.org/5thdown