HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Darryl Gaines grew up in a poor Baltimore neighborhood. He said as you could imagine in any project community there was violence and drugs.
Even then, he knew he wanted to grow into a man who could speak to the youth and be a positive role model in their lives. "It`s important that kids understand that it`s really important for them to dream big, to set goals, and to follow their passion," Gaines explained.
Gaines credits his parents as being positive role models in his own life. His parents influenced Gaines into the right direction.
He went off to college and played football at Mississippi State University and eventually went to play in the NFL with the Kansas City Chief's. He has since traded the gridiron for the launchpad. He's been employed with NASA for 25 years.
"Getting your education is one of the biggest things that you can do for yourself in making sure that your able to take care of yourself. Your able to take care of your family, and then you`re able to help others as well if you focus on getting a good education," Gaines said.
He's currently the assistant to The Center of Director at Johnson Space Center. It's an impressive resume he's hoping will inspire and empower 21st century dreamers.
He made a pit stop at J.E. Williams Elementary to speak with STEM students there. He talked about his career and how anything is possible with hard work. "When they see someone who's actually done it, it makes that much more real for them," Gaines said.
Students asked questions about space and Gaines NFL career. He hopes students left hearing the message anything is possible.
For more information on Gaines and his message of empowering the 21st century click here.