DAVIE – Miami Dolphins players Cornell Armstrong, Kalen Ballage, Jalen Davis, John Denney, Mike Gesicki, Connor Hilland, Mike Hull, Jamiyus Pittman, Jason Sanders, Kenny Stills, Durham Smythe and Vincent Taylor, cheerleaders, T.D. and the Miami Dolphins Women's Organization hosted 150 students for their annual holiday toy event presented by Petland. Elementary school students from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties received holiday toys and participated in activities including creating teddy bears, decorating cookies, playing games, taking photos as well as petting puppies provided by Petland.
"I remember going to events like this when I was a kid and it really made my Christmas special," Ballage said. "It's my favorite part of the year every year. We try to get out there and reach the kids and have them look up to us as role models. Seeing the kids' eyes get all big when we pulled the presents out the back seeing them get whatever it is they asked for, I think that was the most important thing."
More than 1,000 kids from the Dolphins partner schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have participated in the event over the years. This year, Dolphins players, coaching staff and Petland purchased holiday toys for preselected students from Bel-Air, Pinewood, Rolling Green, Sunshine and Scott Lake Elementary School.
"It was a privilege and pleasure to team up with our Miami Dolphins to make the holidays a little brighter for children and families in our community," Petland Florida Owner Luis Marquez said. "Like the Dolphins, Miami is our home. We care very much about our neighbors, but especially about the kids who wait all year for the holidays to arrive."
"My favorite part is everything specifically the bounce houses, this has been really awesome and thank you for the presents," Scott Lake Elementary Student London Wright added.