DAVIE – The Miami Dolphins FOOTBALL UNITES™ program partnered with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (N.O.B.L.E.) South Florida Chapter to host its second backpack distribution for the youth of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University on Thursday, July 25.
Following their first training camp practice of the season, Miami Dolphins players Jerome Baker, Kalen Ballage, Matt Haack, Raekwon McMillan, Jordan Mills, Durval Queiroz Neto, Tyler Patmon, Jamiyus Pittman, David Rivers, Jason Sanders, Zack Sterup, Vincent Taylor, Laremy Tunsil, Mark Walton, Christian Wilkins and Albert Wilson joined forces with N.O.B.L.E. to distribute 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for the upcoming school year.
"I think it's important for me to put myself in these kids' shoes and for us to give back, give these backpacks and school supplies to help kids continue being kids and go to school and enjoy their lives on a daily basis," Miami Dolphins Running Back Kalen Ballage said. "I was that kid 15 years ago wanting to speak to an NFL Player, get an autograph, and it was cool to me so it has a special place in my heart. I think its special for them to get backpacks from us it gives them a special feeling and I think it really makes their day."
"With school coming up it's a very important thing and we take it seriously to get them started and excited about getting backpacks and getting ready for school," Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver Albert Wilson said. "We want them to just be positive about it and be willing to learn and try to absorb everything they can. I didn't meet my first NFL player until I was inside the locker room so for me to get around the kids that look up to me and being able to be a positive role model to them is awesome."
The youth, ages 3-18, were preselected by the Miami Dolphins and N.O.B.L.E. which included FOOTBALL UNITES™ community partnering organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County Florida, Mavuno Project, Miami Gardens Police Department, Trayvon Martin Foundation and the Urban League of Broward.
"The Dolphins are a part of this community, not just the owners but the players who might not have originated from the South Florida area but they are currently a part of it so it's awesome that they are here representing the community and giving back," N.O.B.L.E. South Florida Chapter President Stephanie Daniels said. "We want to show the community that we are one, we are in this together, we can't do it alone and so we partner with FOOTBALL UNITES™ so we can do it collectively."
This event is part of an ongoing series of the #DolphinsHuddlefor100 service projects as part of the NFL's 100th celebration. The NFL has invited fans, players, clubs and employees to join Huddle for 100, an effort to inspire 1 million people to volunteer 100 minutes of their time to make meaningful contributions to their communities.
These efforts and 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.