Without a doubt this year was the biggest Fins and Kids Holiday Toy Event in quite some time as running back
Bush and Hartline were joined by most of their teammates and coaches after they had finished a day of practice and team meetings. The result was countless smiles from young to old. This was a chance for foster children, kids from military families and other deserving elementary school students to experience something truly special. Students came from Hollywood Hills Military Academy, Child Net, Biscayne Elementary School Lillie C. Evens Elementary School, Royal Palm Elementary, Shenandoah Elementary and Lauderdale Manors Elementary.
“This is probably the highlight of their Christmas,” said Mark Zaher, Director of School Operations for Miami-Dade schools. “Not only will these kids receive the gifts that they’ve asked for, but I think even more importantly it was just to spend a day in this bubble with players that probably in their lifetime they wouldn’t get to. I think it also sends a message to those kids that people do care about them and that people that are on that field every day also care about them in school and what they do out of school.”
There was a dance contest emceed and judged by the players and a bounce house and other fun activities to keep the kids busy for almost two hours.
After the dance contest, the kids received their holiday toys that they chosen from a wish list and were donated by players, coaches and the Miami Dolphins Women’s Organization (MDWO). There were was an abundance of bicycles, video games and clothes and a whole assortment of items handed out, much to the delight of Bush, Hartline and everyone on hand.
“I think it means a lot and this is the most rewarding part about being an NFL athlete, is that we get a chance to give back and do special events like this,” Bush said. “Being able to give them bikes and see them smile and be all excited about getting them means so much to me. I remember when I was a little kid I always wanted a bike and just to get a bike as a kid, that’s like the best present you can get. I think all these kids are happy and I think they’ll enjoy all of the gifts.”
Hartline joked that he trained all year with Bush just to be able to handle some of the emcee duties during the dance contest and he got a kick out of some of the moves the kids broke out in their attempt to win the big prizes. His quarterback,
Overall, Hartline knew the most important message about the event had to be shared and that had to do with giving all of these kids something to really smile about at this time of the year.
“It’s a great event and we all chipped in money to go shopping for kids,” Hartline said. “It’s just about giving back to the community and this is one of my favorite events of the year. We get to enjoy it as much as they enjoy it and sometimes you get to a stage in your life when you start to grow up and you realize that giving is so much more fun than receiving. That’s kind of where a lot of us players are in our lives.”