Humanitarian Impulse Drives Dyroff
Published: Sunday, April 10, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Athletics can inspire people on many levels. The commitment, passion, and dedication of athletes can drive us in our own work. Simply seeing a game-winning shot or a devastating playoff loss can affect us on the deepest level.
Then there are athletes like Brooks Dyroff.
The Boston College forward was honored with the 16th annual BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award on Friday for his non-profit organization, CEO 4 Teens. In a class of worthy causes, Dyroff's dedication shined through, as he received his honor at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
While his individual work with the program has been beyond admirable, Dyroff remains humble.
"I am so deeply honored to have won this award on behalf of Boston College, my team, and my organization," he said. "There are so many people who have helped me achieve this honor I don't know where to start.
"I couldn't have won the award without the help of my coaches and teammates, and especially my friend Kenny Haisfield. This honor has motivated me to keep trying to advocate the importance of education, and what better place to do that than Boston College? I am humbled, and I want to thank everyone who has helped me along this journey so far."
While only a sophomore, Dyroff has already accomplished so much. As a forward on the men's hockey team, he has won a national championship and been named an All-Hockey East Academic honoree. It's the forward's work off the ice, however, that has set him apart from many and made him a true role model for all.
"We also do a lot of stuff in Boulder, Colo., which is where I'm from, working at community food shares, making lunches for homeless people, and breaking down cardboard boxes at this place, just giving back anyway you could," Dyroff said of he and Kenny Haisfield's passion for charity. "And we loved it, but we kind of wanted to take what we loved out of that and make our own thing."
Dyroff, along with Haisfield, one of his closest friends from home, founded CEO 4 Teens, a project that has sent over 40 impoverished Indonesian students to school since its creation. The pair created this group when Haisfield returned to Boulder from an eye-opening trip to Indonesia. He came to Dyroff with stories of the people's struggles, and the inability of children to attend college.
"We also knew how important education was," the Phillips Andover graduate said. "Kenny had been over to Indonesia and came back with all these stories about what a different world it was basically. So we wanted to take what we gained from our parents, them teaching us to give back to our community, to give back to others and kind of combine that with education. That's kind of how the birth of CEO 4 Teens came about."
Dyroff, a constant figure of service in his hometown, saw this as another opportunity to help. He and Haisfield constantly looked for ways to make an impact on the community, even at a young age. Whether it be working in homeless shelters, or assisting in food drives, the two always looked to lend a hand in the community and the issues seen in Indonesia were just another chance to help others.
Never one to praise himself, Dyroff solely credits his parents for his great acts of generosity, and also has used hockey as an outlet for his desire to help other.
"It sounds so cliche but the spirit of giving has always been in my family," he said. "My parents have been huge supporters of giving back to your community. Kenny and I first started with teaching little kids how to skate and when I was old enough, we'd go back to our local organization and hang at practice with some of the younger guys and do drills and help them with their shots. However we could help was awesome."
This passion is the catalyst behind CEO 4 Teens' creation. Standing for Creating Educational Opportunities For Teens, this group works with underprivileged youths in Indonesia to help them pay for college. The hope of Dyroff and Haisfield was to raise enough money to support the education of 10 students at Campuhan College in Bali, Indonesia.
"We raise money for underprivileged teenagers to go to school, mostly in third-world countries," Dyroff explained. "We're working in Indonesia right now and so far we've raised anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000, and we've been able to sponsor a class of 10 students for the past four years to go to an English and computer skills college in Indonesia. What we've done, for example, in the first year we raised roughly $10,000."
The friends looked for students who had both a passion for learning and a financial need. They wanted to find students who would truly appreciate the opportunities brought by these scholarships. There was, of course, an application process in which Dyroff and Haisfield had the chance to fly to Indonesia and meet the candidates.
"We said that we were coming over and asked if there was any way he could get the applications out to a bunch of prospective students," he said. "And so he did and we received about 50 applications. We narrowed it down to about 20. Kenny and I went over in the summer of 2007 and we met with those 20 students and we picked 10 of them for the scholarship."
The opportunities opened by these scholarships have already impacted the lives of not only the selected students but their families and communities as well.
"They're getting jobs working for brochure companies, because of the computer background," he said. "They were doing a lot of graphic design and working closely with a lot of companies in Australia, which is really close to Indonesia over there and English-speaking. Overall, they're getting jobs that increase their income anywhere from three to six times, and with that they're able to improve their quality of life, support themselves and support their families."