The Bahamian Connection
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 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!
These people are all athletes – very good athletes – who were blessed with the opportunity to compete on the highest level in their respective sports. These athletes are all Bahamian. There are 732 islands in the Bahamas, but with a population of only about 306,000. That is the equivalent of a modest American city such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the 60th largest US city with 310,000 people. That means all of the athletes listed above – eleven Olympic medalists, three NFL Draft picks, two NBA Draft picks, and a World Ranked tennis player – would come from the equivalent of just one US city. And these athletes are just a few examples of recent success stories, not even scratching the surface of all the Bahamian athletes excelling at the professional level!
All of these athletes had to take their athletic ability out of their country of the Bahamas to seek out additional opportunities. The facilities, coaching, programs, and support are not always available to talented young Bahamians. There are thousands of these young Bahamians with amazing talent and ability that will never have the opportunity to exercise that talent because of the lack of opportunities in their homeland.
The As One Foundation seeks to meet the needs of these young people who do not have an outlet to pursue athletics, 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 the United States as well as countries and communities around the world. Just image how many extraordinary young people would be developed if given the right opportunities! The As One Foundation seeks to make that a reality, and what was once two young island boys’ dream will become a reality!
Edwin Smith: drafted in the 13th round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos
Devard Darling: drafted 82nd overall in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens
Alex Smith: drafted in the third round in the 2005 NFL Draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Mychal Thompson: drafted #1 in the 1978 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers
Rick Fox: actor and starting player on the 2000- 2002 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. Drafted in the first round of the 1991 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
Tonique Williams-Darling: 2004 Summer Olympics Gold Medal women’s 400m.
Pauline Davis, Chandra Sturrup, Sevantheda Fynes, Debbie Ferguson: better known as the “Golden Girls,” won the first Bahamian Gold Medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics in the 4x100m
Avard Moncur, Dennis Darling, Nathaniel McKinney, Christopher Brown: 2003 World Championships Bronze Medalists
Frank Rutherford: the first Bahamian Olympic medalist, Bronze medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics
Troy Kemp: 1995 High Jump World Champion.
Roger Smith: World Ranked 98 in men’s singles tennis 1988, World Ranked 95 and 78 in men’s doubles tennis 1989-1990