Before becoming the 11th overall pick to the Buffalo Bills in the 2009 NFL Draft last April, Aaron Maybin knew he was going to make an impact beyond his work on the football field.
Before leading the Big Ten with 12 sacks during the Nittany Lions' 2008 football season and becoming a consensus All-American in the process, he knew it.
Even before earning Freshman All-Big Ten status as a redshirt in 2007, Maybin had an idea that one day he would pay back the community that molded him into the young man he'd eventually become.
As the founder of his personal charity, Project Mayhem, the 21-year old former Penn State star is doing exactly that.
"I was planning this out when I was still young, when I was still just leaving high school," he said. "The first day somebody motivated me and made me really realize that I could really accomplish the goals that I set out for myself, I said that I wanted to be able to pick that up for somebody else later in life.
"Now with me being at that level where I have the notoriety and I have the people that I know that are in certain positions that can make those things happen, and having a lot of people that also have notoriety that are willing to stand behind what I'm doing and lend their support for the work that we're trying to do, it's always a beautiful thing."
Next Friday and Saturday, Maybin's next official charity event will come to fruition in the Washington D.C./Baltimore area for the first-annual Aaron Maybin presents 'A Celebration of the Arts' weekend.
An opportunity to at once raise money to help art programs in the Baltimore public school system as well as directly interact with artistic-minded children during a free workshop, the weekend is jam-packed with events.
Beginning with a big kick-off party in Washington on Friday night Feb. 19, Maybin is bringing together celebrity guest hosts including Avatar star Laz Alonso, Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis, Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, and supermodel Amber Rose, among others.
Saturday, the event continues with a free art workshop for kids in the Baltimore/Washington/Virginia region to spend time with Maybin and his celebrity guest hosts and artists at the Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center in Baltimore.
Later, an art exhibit and silent auction at the Tremont Grand in downtown Baltimore open the night's festivities from 6-8 p.m., featuring several prominent artists including former Penn State teammate Matthew Rice, close family friend Larry "Poncho" Brown, plus Charles Bibbs, Randy Walters and others.
Immediately following, Maybin will host a private banquet, and ultimately cap the evening with a red carpet after party at The Velvet Rope.
"The proceeds for the dinner and the weekend in general are going to different charities and movements in the Baltimore area that are trying to inspire some new legislation in the art department because they've taken I think a third of the art programs out of the Baltimore city public school system," he said. "A lot of kids that really want to pursue that as their passion and their career, they just don't have that opportunity available to them anymore.
"Being as that was one of my majors at Penn State that I'm still pursuing that degree right now - I'm finishing it up as we speak - and that was something I've always wanted to continue to give back with, so that's one of the initiatives I'm really trying to push heavy right now. So, we're donating the proceeds of the money to that."
Meanwhile, proceeds from the silent auction, including some of Maybin's own sports memorabilia along with a limited-edition piece done by both Maybin and Rice, will be used as a fundraiser for Haiti relief.
Understanding just how fortunate he was to be surrounded by the people who would help him get to where he is now, Maybin seems to realize the positive impact he can have on those around him.
"I feel like I would be doing those folks and myself a disservice if I didn't try to provide that same opportunity to a lot of the kids that need it, especially in the same city, neighborhoods and state that I grew up in and the state that I'm playing in now," he said. "I knew that I wanted to find some way to try to give back and to try to do what I can to help those young kids accomplish their dreams.
"It's a real beautiful thing and it's always something that I dreamed of being able to do. I guess that's the one surreal part of it, the fact that I'm being able to realize a lot of my dreams and aspirations now. I always wanted to be able to build my parents a house. I always wanted to be able to help kids the same way certain people helped me.
"I know for a fact that I can name some folks that if I had never met and I had never had introduce me to certain things, I wouldn't be where I am right now. I wanted to be able to give that same support to somebody and give that same opportunity to somebody in some way shape or form."
To purchase tickets and learn more about the first-annual Aaron Maybin presents 'A Celebration of the Arts' weekend, click here
THE LINE UP:
Friday, February 19th
The Official Kick-Off
Time: 9:00pm Tix: $25
Where: The Park at Fourteenth
920 14th street NW, Wash, DC
Saturday, February 20th
Art Workshop Free w/Registration
Time: 12:30pm- 3:30pm
Where: Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center
1100 E. Fayette Street, Baltimore MD
Saturday, February 20th continued
Where: Tremont Grand Tix $125.00
225 Charles Street, Baltimore, MD
The Grand Showcase Party
Time: 10:00pm- 2:00am Tix: $40
Where: The Velvet Rope
200 E. Redwood St Baltimore, MD