“Living in the precious present”
It’s certain that how we see ourselves is likely not how the rest of the world sees us- unless, your name is Derek Anderson, and everyone sees the same thing- a kind, thoughtful and empathetic human being. For most of his life, Derek Anderson made his mark in basketball, first as a member of the 1996 Kentucky Wildcats that won an NCAA championship, then as an NBA player for 11 seasons, where he later won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006.
Based on that, it’s likely that you think that Derek Anderson has always been a winner and that life was always easy leading up to a successful 15 year career as a basketball player, accomplished author, successful entrepreneur, dad, dedicated husband, and committed philanthropist with his foundation called Stamina and their foundation mission objective called A.O.K, teaching young adults the benefits of random “acts of kindness”.
In fact, nothing could be further from that scenario!
At an early age, Derek was forced to learn the art of survival and by age eleven, he was abandoned by his parents- his mom a drug addict, then watching his dad leave, too never return. It took three days being left alone in a cold apartment, no electricity, and no food, that the fear of realizing that he was all alone was now his worst reality. At the age of twelve, Derek was forced to enter the system, where he moved from one temporary housing shelter to the next.
By the age of fourteen, Derek had already become a dad and begun working two jobs in order to take care of his son, all the while trying to survive while growing up in a drug infested housing project. Derek’s final awakening came after surviving a brutal stabbing from a neighborhood street fight. For many, there would only be failure if survival was even an option.
Derek’s story should be one of dismay and how we lost another child to the worst that life offers anyone forced to survive in those conditions, especially a child. Derek’s opponents in life consisted of poverty, loneliness, disappointment, starvation, and lacked any familiarity of a family dynamic.
“I’ve had to endure my sister being killed by our father’s best friend while her two-year old daughter was in the home. I had to stand by helplessly as my mom would lose her fight with substance abuse and endure my father walking out my life for more than 15 years”.
Those hardships for anyone are inconceivable, but Derek knows that it’s more familiar than it is a rare occurrence. Enter the Stamina Foundation and his A.O.K. mission, based on the premise that aided his survival; it’s a long approach, but one Derek feels speaks to the foundation of these young boys and girls that one simple, singular jester of a good deed such as an “act of kindness” to a perfect stranger could help change the world if not their personal lives.
Your singular act of kindness by donating to “Stamina” will assist Derek and his mission in his continued objective of doing something today that he knows will impact someone’s life tomorrow. Won’t you help?
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