Miami Dolphins: Helping Students Change Lives & Graduate With City Year
Life is precious.
That’s why as soon as we’re born it begins the countdown.
What we’re counting down is the seconds, minutes and hours until we pass away and move on from Earth. That’s why during those valuable moments while we’re alive, we should act as our brother’s keeper. It’s in those moments in which we give back to our family, our community, and our world that will leave a lasting impact on Earth long after we’re dead and gone.
In a cold world that’s set up for people to fail because of an only the strong survive type of attitude, there are others that have based their life principles on the quote that Michael P. Watson shared. “Strong people don’t put others down… They lift them up.”
That’s why it’s essential that we give back. That’s also why it’s such a blessing that the Miami Dolphins decided last year to partner up with City Year, an education-focused non-profit organization, to help children in inner-city schools to graduate high school. During the 20th year of the Dolphins annual Fins Weekend, the organization held a golf tournament at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne where the proceeds from the event went to help benefit City Year Miami.
What City Year does is place young idealists throughout schools to serve as tutors, mentors and role models in high-need schools. Their focus is to help students improve on behavior, class attendance, and course performance. They serve as the gap between schools and students to help children reach their goals.
The partnership between the two organizations has been a match made in heaven and continues to help give children throughout Miami-Dade county hope for a bright future.
“What’s really cool and what speaks volumes about the authenticity of not only the Dolphins commitment to the community, but very much so is that you’ve got players, coaches, and executives at all the events really committed to the cause. That’s how the Dolphins act with City Year all year round. The City Year investment goes beyond the check. It’s a year-long investment. They’re at the schools. They’re helping with report card commentating. They’re judging talent shows. They’re running internship programs. They’re so integrated into the schools because that’s what the Dolphins are all about. It’s a transformational partnership” said Keith Fletcher, who serves as the Executive Director and Vice President at City Year Miami.
Although City Year is prevalent throughout Miami-Dade County, the two schools that the two organizations have been working on improving are Miami Carol City Senior High School and Miami Norland Senior High School. So far the proof has been in the pudding and the hard work that City Year puts in has equated to success for their students. Furthermore, in 2011 Carol City had a 62.9% graduation rate, and in 2015, they jumped up to 79.8%. Additionally, Norland was at a 72.2% graduation rate and in 2015, they jumped up to an 86.3% graduation rate.
“Mentorship is a key. Sometimes it could be as informal as a quiet whisper in your ear telling you can do it when no one else seems to believe that you can. City Year has become an ambassador for storytellers of a future that a lot of these kids cannot yet see. We help them vision what their future can be and we help them remove the obstacles” said Fletcher.
The core members who serve in the schools is young. The work of the 107 core members of City Year has equated to well over 181,900 hours since 2012. The core members do more than just help after school with homework. They meet students right at the bus. They’re there during the first bell and they stay later for after school tutoring.
“There is no arguing that one of the blessings and the curses of Miami-Dade is that there’s really hyper-concentration of severe poverty. We have some of the most beautiful buildings in neighborhoods in the country and in the shadows of those we have some folks who come from fragile homes and fragile neighborhoods…So we know to be better as a South Florida community, that the rising tide has to raise all ships. We know that education can be a great equalizer” said Fletcher.
Gotta love them #MiamiDolphins cheerleaders 😍😍😍 A photo posted by Trey Magazine (@readtreymag) on
Furthermore, even the players on the team have found a heart to give back as well.
“It’s very important. The ability for all the players to come back and give as much as we can…..It made me realize how much people rally go through around this world and how fortunate we are that we can give back and raise awareness for different situations. It’s very important” said Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins.
City Year is making sure that those children would be making mistakes for the rest of their lives.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey