The excitement of American football has come to China, and fans are gearing up for NFL’s Super Bowl Sunday (Monday morning live) with the only official party at the Kerry Hotel. Beginning with the pre-party on February 2 at Kerry’s Centro, followed by the big event on February 4 in the Grand Ballroom, this promises to be the best Monday morning ever for football fans in Beijing.
Former New York Giant Jack Brewer is one special guest on hand for the festivities, although his interest goes far beyond the game. Brewer is Founder and Executive Director of the Jack Brewer Foundation, an organization with many facets of charitable work. He partners with several organizations providing support for education and other basic needs in underprivileged areas. One group he backs whole-heartedly is Montessori Model UN, an organization for which he was recently named Chairman of the Advisory Board.
beijingkids sat down to talk with both Jack Brewer and Kerry Hotel Resident Manager Alan Ang about their joint event efforts to make sure the celebration includes helping those less fortunate. Excerpts from Brewer’s interview are below:
Tell us about Montessori Model UN, a charity that will benefit from the event silent auction proceeds:
It’s a UN-based organization, encompassing all of the Montessori schools internationally. We take the top students from all over the world and bring them to the United Nations, honoring them at the general assembly and giving them the opportunity to interact amongst each other. There are kids from all different communities, rich and poor. It’s a great platform for the Montessori schools, which emphasizes a global vision of looking at the world as one and accepting different cultures and communities.
How does your work with MMUN relate to other charitable parts of your foundation?
It goes right along with what we already do in regards to education. My first attraction to the Montessori schools was when I started making plans to build schools in Africa. We do a series of trips called Global Ambassador trips and during our next trip to Malawi we’re actually going to meet President Joyce Banda about building a Montessori school. I also want to build a university there that teaches Montessori school teachers, who then go out throughout the continent. I’ve tried to always use sports as my catalyst to really teach and educate on various issues, whether it’s education or medical aid and relief, whether it’s peace, culture exchange programs or basic food security. We try to find those issues that really affect people living in extreme poverty.
What is your goal for this fundraiser?
I’ve never been one for monetary goals. My foundation is small and growing, but we take a grass roots approach. Our mission is to empower from within, and so we reach out and build awareness for Montessori schools so that we have something to build off of. Hopefully next year we’ll announce that we’re building a Montessori school free for kids in some of the poor provinces of China. It’s all about getting people engaged and educated on some of these issues. If you keep it simple, you normally accomplish great things, and if you try to shoot for the stars right away, you’re not really doing it for the right purpose. I want it to be real, and I want it to be long lasting, so that’s my goal.
What else are you hoping to accomplish while in China?
We’re also working on some culture exchange programs. I really want to use American football as a vehicle to teach American culture, an exchange of American culture with the Chinese. I’m working with the State Department, with NFL China and with other organizations to accomplish that. We have two countries that are powers of the world, and it’s important that you understand each other. I think that’s really lacking in the U. S., so I’m getting engaged in those activities and I’m putting together my own plans on how I think we need to better teach each other and learn from each other.
Why are these objectives near and dear to your heart?
Education at its core got me where I am. I came from a background of a family and other people who were uneducated. Some of my family members to this day can’t read or write, so being the first to go to college, the first to get a master’s degree, the first to go to an Ivy League school — those are things that helped make me into who I am today. People that are deprived of an education really don’t have a chance. You talk about equality, you talk about human rights — what bigger human right is there than education? To deprive someone who wants to learn is unthinkable, so I’ve always pushed and strived to get as many people as I can access to education who would never otherwise have it.
And your own children?
I have a five-month old son and I can’t wait for him to be in Montessori school! Growing up, I didn’t go to Montessori schools, but in doing research over the past and reading what they’re about, I’m excited about their approach.
You also have a 14-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter. How do you instill hard work ethics and morality in your children?
I’m a pretty tough disciplinarian. I don’t sugar-coat things; I keep it real. I do that because I’ve been around, I’ve traveled the world, and I’ve seen the poorest people. I don’t want my kids to grow up with any sense of entitlement. I want them to understand first that through hard work you can accomplish whatever you want; and second, the most important thing is that if you don’t have a purpose in life, you’re going to always be searching. My purpose in life is to leave this place a better place, and I’ve tried to instill those same values in my kids.
Do your kids travel with you and get involved?
They can’t do everything with school schedules, but they do get engaged. I get them really involved in the community with turkey drives to the homeless around the holidays and toy drives for kids, and I had them start their own junior ambassador program at their school. I always encourage them to take leadership roles. They’re just getting to be at the age where they can really understand and appreciate it, but it’s all about exposure. What’s better than them seeing daddy run off and help feed orphans. You don’t need much more motivation than that!
What message do you have for kids today?
It’s a different message for different kids. All of us are born with certain advantages over others. Life isn’t fair in that sense. If I’m talking to a kid who is fortunate, my message would be that if you don’t give back, you’re really not living. I really truly believe that anything that you do, you’ve got to have a sense of giving back to those who are less fortunate. For kids growing up in underprivileged situations, I think setting examples and being a leader in your community is most important. It’s easy to be like everyone else, especially when you don’t have a lot. I just like to tell my story, and hopefully I can find one or two people in those communities and empower them. When they go on to great things, I’ve done my job on this earth.
Kerry Hotel’s Ang explained a little more about the Super Bowl event silent auction, and how proceeds will go towards both MMUN and Children’s Hope Family.
Throughout the event, a fabulous silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia will be up for bid. Whether you’re an NFL fan, or you happen to enjoy golf, soccer, basketball and more, there is something unique for every sports fan. Also up for grabs? A ticket package to a 2013 regular season NFL game of the winner’s choice, courtesy of NFL China! The auction promises to be a tremendous draw and will no doubt raise generous funding for MMUN and Children’s Hope Family.
The Kerry Hotel has been supporting Children’s Hope Family, an orphanage for disabled children, since 2010, hosting events and fundraising opportunities for the entire community. The hotel staff visits the orphanage regularly so that employees embrace the emphasis of giving back. There are charity drives, toy and clothing drives, and many events throughout the year focused on families and community so that all can work in partnership to give back to those less fortunate. Half of the proceeds from the silent auction will be given to Children’s Hope Family to aid in surgeries and daily necessities.
This spring Kerry Hotel will display an Easter Egg Tree, where children can paint eggs and hang them on the tree. Kerry Sports will launch in May when renovations of their impressive fitness center and gym are complete, and Adventure Zone for kids will open in August.
Reserving your tickets for the Super Bowl event is highly recommended due to limited space. However, there is the possibility for late-comers to enjoy the festivities – don’t not come if you find you are able to make it Monday morning! For specifics, click here.