MIAMI – Miami Dolphins players Myles Gaskin, Durval Queiroz Neto and Christian Wilkins, cheerleaders and staff spent the day exploring Allapattah and Wynwood alongside local youth, community leaders and law enforcement at the Dolphins' second FOOTBALL UNITES™ Cultural Tour Presented by Baptist Health of the season to experience the richness and diversity of South Florida on Tuesday, October 15.
"When I was a little kid I really wanted to meet an NFL player; I think that was really huge for me and being able to do that for these guys here I think that means a lot just being friendly and having regular conversations with them," Miami Dolphins Running Back Myles Gaskin said. "I learned how much history Florida has. Coming from across the country, you don't hear much about it and being out here learning about these churches, restaurants and Wynwood, I think that is the biggest part. On my day off I might work out a little but you obviously want to see something new and that was big for me today, I really enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one."
On arrival, the group participated in a #DolphinsHuddleFor100 service project packing hygiene kits as part of a Hurricane Dorian relief effort to experience working together in a teamwork setting.
The tour, in partnership with History Miami, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, started with a guided exploration through La Merced Church. Participants received a history lesson of the colonial site and its significance on the heritage of Miami. The team then visited Club Tipico Dominicano Restaurant, the oldest Dominican restaurant in Allapattah, to enjoy traditional Dominican dishes and experience Merengue dancing. The day concluded with a visit to Wynwood Wall to explore the colorful street murals from artists around the globe.
"My favorite part has been coming to the restaurant. We are experiencing stuff and they are telling us about the Dominican cultures, what's going on and how long it's been here," student participant Stephanie Pineda said. "It's good because they (Miami Dolphins) are interested in it, and they actually talk about it. Most people don't worry about it but I appreciate how they actually do."
"This is a legacy that we, here, would like to leave. This is very important for all kinds of people and coming to visit such a place is like going to the past so this is very important cultural wise," Colonial Heritage of Florida Project Director Ray Zamora said.
These initiatives align with the organization's goal to level the playing field through the power of teamwork to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community. Dolphins Chairman of the Board & Managing General Partner Stephen Ross and Dolphins players created the FOOTBALL UNITES™ program as a way to bring positive social change. The Miami Dolphins organization believes it is important to be inclusive of the diversity and aware of the intersections that make up South Florida, uniting groups of different races, genders, sexual orientations, identities, abilities and faiths around the power of football.
These programs connect to the NFL's Inspire Change platform, showcasing the collaborative efforts of players, owners and the league to create positive change in communities across the country and work with RISE – the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality – to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations. Information on the FOOTBALL UNITES™ program can be found here. To learn more about RISE, visit here. Fans can join the conversation with the NFL'S Inspire Change program by clicking here.