Overtown Youth Center’s Save Our Sons initiative receives $25,000 donation from AT&T
L to r: Lyle Grandison, president, Respect for Life; Stephen Marino, OYC board chairman; Cristal Cole, AT&T external affairs; Tina Brown, OYC executive director; Shawn Blanchard, SOS Youth Summit keynote speaker; Kevin Vericker, City of Miami mayor’s office.
L to r: Stephen Marino, OYC board chairman; Yance Torres, OYC program director; Tina Brown, OYC executive director; Cristal Cole, AT&T external affairs director; Shawn Blanchard, SOS Youth Summit keynote speaker. Front row l to r: Jacob Caldera and Aaden Banks, SOS program participants.
By Starling Kelly
The nonprofit will use the AT&T contribution to support the Save Our Sons initiative. SOS was created to develop and enhance the lives of young men primarily in the Overtown community. It was established with an immediate emphasis to address low male achievement factors by linking mentoring and training programs with male youth and their families. The ultimate goal of SOS is to establish mentorship opportunities and create lifelong partnerships that will transform failing support systems for young men living in urban communities. SOS seeks to provide an influx of positive male role models that will help teach young Black men how to excel at home, in school and in their careers, while providing a mess-age of peace and unity in hopes of mitigating youth violence.
“AT&T believes it is critical for students to have access to the tools and support systems they need to graduate high school, and succeed in college and they enter the workforce,” said Cristal Cole, AT&T Florida external affairs. “We are proud to support community programming provided by organizations like the Overtown Youth Center, who help foster a safe environment where children can dream big and access the resources they need to be successful in life.”
The mission of the Overtown Youth Center (OYC) is to inspire and empower youth and families by fostering hope through enrichment services. Co-founded by real-estate developer Martin Z. Marguiles and NBA Hall-of-Famer Alonzo Mourning, OYC is a year-round youth development program providing in-school, after school and summer program services, a parent enrichment program and post-high school support to over 400 students in the Over-town neighborhood and surrounding areas. The program offers a full range of services including educational enrichment, recreational activities, mentoring, literacy initiatives, performing arts, prevention and life skills/training for at-risk youth. For more information, visit www.overtownyouth.org.
“The SOS Initiative was designed to address issues that impact the positive trajectory of the lives of young men growing up in urban areas”, said OYC Board of Directors Chair Stephen Marino. “Save Our Sons is one of my favorite events be-cause not only is it designed to empower young boys, but it provides men an opportunity to inspire and bond with each other.”
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we’ve passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.