Criminology Alumnus and Former NFL Player Gives Back to the Community and to the College
Henri Crockett is not your average College of Criminology and Criminal Justice alumnus. Where many criminology students go into law enforcement, corrections, government agencies, or something similar after graduation, Mr. Crockett found himself in the National Football League (NFL).
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and a successful collegiate football career with the Seminoles, which included being part of the 1993 National Championship team, Mr. Crockett went on to a seven-year career as a professional football player with the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings.
Though his football career was impressive in its own right, how Mr. Crockett used the resources from his time in the NFL to develop philanthropic efforts may be even more so.
Shortly after being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, Mr. Crockett founded Team 94 (his jersey number), a not-for-profit organization designed to assist at-risk youth with after-school tutoring and mentoring in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Through Team 94, Mr. Crockett was able to help several local adolescents make their dreams of going to college a reality.
After seeing the impact of Team 94, Mr. Crocket wanted to expand the reach of his philanthropic efforts. He co-founded the Crockett Foundation with his brother Zack, another FSU alumnus and NFL player. Since its inception in their hometown of Pompano Beach, Fla., the Crockett Foundation has been committed to improving the quality of life for children and adolescents and building strong communities for families locally and across the country.
Mr. Crockett credits his own mentors for his philanthropic work, particularly Dr. Daniel Kanell, Sr., father of former FSU Quarterback Danny Kanell. Crockett’s father died when he was in high school and Dr. Kanell kept Crockett on the right path.
“Dr. Kanell stood in for me as my father and he did all the things that a father would do. He gave me a lot of advice and made sure I passed the SATs, paid for my SAT prep classes, and was there on graduation day,” said Mr. Crockett. “We still have lunch every week. Now we talk about how to be a better husband and how to be a good father, things we can do with our kids. He has always been that father figure for me and now I’m trying to do the same thing with the youth that I serve today.”
Mr. Crockett initially pursued criminology to provide him with the background for a career as a United States Marshall. But based on his own personal experiences and his involvement interning with the State of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice Office of Probation and Community Intervention, Mr. Crockett discovered that he found more fulfillment by directly helping at-risk youth.
“As you work with the Office of Probation and Community Intervention you start to see that those youth have a lot of potential . . . you start to see the that these are some good kids that have just been lead down the wrong path. They just need a little guidance, need a little help,” said Mr. Crockett.
Because people like Dr. Kanell had been there for him, being there for local youth seemed like the perfect way to pay it forward. “It is important for me to give those kids the same experiences that I had that opened doors for me, that made me think outside the box, that challenged me and so that’s what I wanted to do for the youth that we serve today,” said Mr. Crockett.
Mr. Crockett believes the best time to turn kids to the right path is at the formative adolescent years and that providing positive role models decreases the likelihood that kids will make poor choices. This is why the Crockett Foundation uses of a diverse set of tools to engage adolescents, including after-school programs, peer-tutoring, technology-based health programs, and a Life Skills & Football camp. Through these programs, the Crockett Foundation aims to help build character, develop leaders, and improve communities – one child at a time.
To ensure youth have the financial resources to get an education and become leaders in their communities, the Crockett Foundation has also donated over $150,000 in scholarships to local high schools, college students, and recreation centers since its inception. In 2016, the Crockett Foundation will also be sponsoring a scholarship through the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the Crockett Family Fund for Excellence. The scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student majoring in criminology and criminal justice. Priority will be given to a graduate of Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, FL who is majoring in criminology and criminal justice. If there is not a graduate from Blanche Ely High School who qualifies for this scholarship, then consideration will be given to a resident of Broward County, Palm Beach County, or Miami-Dade County, FL.
To learn more about Henri Crockett and The Crockett Foundation click here.