MIAMI – The Miami Dolphins FOOTBALL UNITES™ program, under the organization's "Teamwork At Work" initiative, announced its partnership with the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department on a series of initiatives designed to promote positive interaction between youth and law enforcement on Friday, April 19, 2019.
"We are excited to expand our partnership with the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department through our FOOTBALL UNITES™ initiative," Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President of Communications & Community Affairs Jason Jenkins said. "The Police Explorers is an amazing program that inspires youth and bridges the gap between law enforcement and the community. We are deeply committed to helping these young men and women level the playing field so they are successful in life and appreciate the platform we have to help them on their path to greatness."
Miami Dolphins player Charles Harris attended the event to welcome the 80 students of the Miami Dade Police Explorers from Miami-Dade County Public High Schools including Barbara Goleman, Felix Varela, Hialeah Gardens, Homestead, Law Enforcement Memorial, Mays School of the Arts, Miami Central and Southridge, as they arrived to Hialeah Gardens High School to kick off the partnership. Harris and Miami Dade Schools Police officers participated in a series interactive drills and stations followed by a character talk with Miami Dolphins Youth Programs Ambassador Twan Russell.
"It is an exciting time to reinvigorate the partnership between the Miami Dolphins and the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department," Miami Dade Schools Chief of Police Edwin Lopez said. "Our agency is tasked with protecting the community's most valuable asset: our kids in schools. The recalibrated partnership and incorporation of our Police Explorer Program will afford students with the opportunity to experience another leadership vantage point aligned with sports, teamwork, community and health. We are ecstatic."
Through this partnership, the Dolphins will fund a scholarship for those interested in serving the community as a Dade Schools police officer. Chief Lopez announced Miami Central Senior High School Senior Emily Santana as the 2019 recipient for this scholarship at this event. Additionally, participants in the Police Explorers Program will be fully integrated into FOOTBALL UNITES™ programming, including The Captains Program, cultural tours and CommUNITY Tailgates. Furthermore, the Dolphins will provide uniform shirts to Police Explorers.
Photo gallery: FOOTBALL UNITES™ Miami-Dade Explorers partnership announcement.
"Having the Miami Dolphins give me this scholarship was shocking and amazing it's like I am part of their team now it feels like I'm home," Miami Central Senior High School Student Emily Santana said. "When they had told me I had received a full scholarship to the academy it's a blessing. Coming from a family of a single mother, I could tell that this will cover so much already and pursing my dreams, I have a passion for law enforcement it runs in the family. My uncle is a police officer as well as my older sister so I am just trying to get the next step of becoming a police officer, getting my Bachelor's in criminal justice as well as getting into the police academy."
The Police Explorers Program is a volunteer program sponsored by MDSPD and governed by the rules of the Learning for Life Organization. The program is designed to provide high-school age youth ages 14 to 18 with a minimum of a 2.0 GPA the opportunity to learn about a career in law enforcement. For more information on the Police Explorers Program, visit here.
As part of the Dolphins' "Teamwork at Work" platform to level the playing field through the power of teamwork to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community, Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross and Dolphins players created the FOOTBALL UNITES™ program as a way to bring positive social change. 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.