Derek Hough (Dancing With the Stars, ABC)
One Life at a Time and Sophie’s Place
On the dance floor, Derek Hough is the perfect lead. He has tangoed and quickstepped with famous folks like Amber Riley to a total of six first-place wins on ABC competition series Dancing With the Stars—and earned two Emmys for Outstanding Choreography. But when it comes to his charity work, “I try to follow in my dad’s footsteps,” Hough says. “He always taught me the importance of service.”
His father, Bruce Hough, is the vice chairman of the board of One Life at a Time
, which teaches self-sufficiency through education to young-adult students in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. In exchange for free lessons in English, computer skills, graphics and entrepreneurship, students volunteer at places such as orphanages and hospitals.
“It’s that philosophy, ‘Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach him to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime,’” says Derek, who supports One Life at a Time by helping with fundraising and donating money from personal appearances. He plans to get a firsthand look at their work in Peru on a family trip this Christmas.
But that’s not all the busy Houghs do to help out. Derek and his sister, DWTS
judge Julianne Hough, are also involved with Sophie’s Place
, which creates dedicated music-therapy facilities in children’s hospitals. The siblings have attended opening ceremonies for the centers, where they cheer up young patients suffering from pain, chronic illness or serious injury with song, play and a little fancy footwork.
“Success is more than just gaining and obtaining,” says Hough, who has returned to DWTS
and soon stars in NBC’s Hairspray Live
! “It’s finding what brings purpose and value to your life. For me, that’s drawing attention off yourself and toward others.”