One man is an island

    Sixers center Samuel Dalembert makes millions of dollars playing basketball in the United States. He recently became a citizen of Canada.

     But a big part of his heart still resides in Haiti, the place he was born and spent the first 14 years of his life..

     So it was with a heavy soul that Dalembert watch the devastation reaped as Hurricane Gustav, and Tropical Storms Fay and Hannah slammed the impoverished island nation during a two week period in September. More than 100 people were killed and thousands were left homeless and without food and fresh water.

     The images of the suffering in Haiti were heartbreaking.

     "The thing that bothers me is that I am a forward-looking person," Dalembert said. "I don't only help when something happens. I want to prevent what is happening. When you look at the history, it is always the same area, places where people barely had anything and now they have nothing at all."

      Dalembert wants to help. He did not give specific details, but it sounds like that in addition to immediate aid,  he would like to create some kind of community and educational center for children in Haiti.

      He believes that children are the key to the future and that they and their dreams must be protected and allowed to flourish.

     "I've already talked with the Sixers and we are working on putting together some kind of fundraiser just to help out a little bit - to go and help the children," he said. "There parents have no homes, so if we can help the kids maybe they can continue on and have a safe place to be."

      ."Sometimes you want to do so much, but sometimes you have to focus on a small group. And if you can help them, then hopefully that group can go back and help make things better for more. That's why purpose has been to help the children. You can try to help adults but their minds are already made up. Kids are the ones who all they have to look up to is the mistake their elders are making."

     Throughout his career Dalembert has donated over $72,000 to benefit relief efforts in Haiti. He is actively involved in the Sixers Drive for Kids community initiative, and participates in the NBPA and WNBPA's ""Feed the Children" and ""Operation Rebound.""

    He and former Sixers teammate Kyle Korver and two the NBA's most reliable participants in "Basketball without Borders" - the league's premier international basketball and community relations outreach program.

     "I think one man can make a difference on a small scale," Dalembert said.