It was the year 2000—a brand new millennium. N*SYNC and Backstreet Boys were topping the charts, Survivor was a brand new show, and the Bush vs. Gore campaign was in full swing.
It was also the year tragedy struck for a young Florida State athlete named Jenn Brown. In August, Jenn’s 14-year-old sister Carrie, along with her sister’s best friend, were both killed in a car accident.
A terrible tragedy, to be sure, but one that sparked action.
Shortly after, Jenn began a mentoring program called Pleasant Place for girls living in foster homes. The home had girls that were under the age of 18 and were either pregnant or had children of their own. Jenn, along with her fellow athletes, came to the home once a week to help the girls with life skills, tutoring, college applications and taking care of their children. Jenn was also instrumental in creating a Guardian Angel Program that enabled other athletic teams, corporations, and individuals to sponsor a girl and her child at Pleasant Place.
It is here that Jenn learned how to be the “big sister” she could no longer be at home.
Today, Jenn is a two-time Emmy Award winning sports broadcaster—currently she works as a host for NFL Network, NBC, UFC and Direct TV.
More importantly, she is the founder of the Carrie Brown Foundation, which was created to continue her sister Carrie’s spirit of giving, with all proceeds going towards less fortunate children through scholarships and grants. Every 4 years following the Summer Olympics, the foundation hosts the Olympian and Celebrity Gala, gathering athletes and celebrities to inspire and motivate children to pursue their dreams.
Tragedies are never welcome, but beauty can sometimes burst forth from ashes.
How have difficult times provoked you to improve the world for others?