Dolphins, City Year part­ner­ship cre­ates grad­u­a­tion ex­plo­sion

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By DAPHNE TAY­LOR Spe­cial to South Florida Times

The Mi­ami Dolphins, along with City Year Mi­ami, are poised to make a huge dif­fer­ence in two in­ner city Mi­ami high schools. The Dolphins have pledged a whop­ping, $1 mil­lion do­na­tion to help keep stu­dents on track to grad­u­ate from Mi­ami Carol City Se­nior High and Mi­ami Nor­land Se­nior High, which are two pre­dom­i­nantly black schools in Mi­ami Gar­dens. City Year Mi­ami is an ed­u­ca­tion-fo­cused non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that part­ners with public schools to help keep stu­dents on track to grad­u­ate. The Dolphins are amidst the third year of a four-year com­mit­ment to do­nate the $1 mil­lion dol- lars to help out the stu­dents and schools.

Last month, pro­ceeds from the Dolphins' an­nual "Fins Week­end," the team's sig­na­ture char­ity event, went to­wards the do­na­tion.

Fins Week­end, which is the Dolphins sig­na­ture char­ity for its foun­da­tion, was a huge suc­cess again this year, and Dolphins and ex­ec­u­tives as well as staff are proud to con­trib­ute a siz­able amount raised dur­ing the week­end, to­wards their $1 mil­lion do­na­tion to the schools.

Thus far, the multi-year com­mit­ment is mak­ing a big dif­fer­ence at both schools. Mi­ami Carol City Se­nior High School's grad­u­a­tion rate was 62.9% in 2011 and in­creased to 80.6% by 2016. This is an in­crease of 17.7% in the time that City Year has part­nered with this school. Mi­ami Nor­land Se­nior High School's grad­u­a­tion rate was 72.2% in 2011 and in­creased to 88.2% by 2016. This is an in­crease of 25.3% in the time that City Year has part­nered with this school.

“Fins Week­end is about the Dolphins as an or­ga­ni­za­tion com­ing to­gether -- all of the play­ers, coaches, staff, alumni and cheer­lead­ers -- to sup­port ed­u­ca­tion,” Mi­ami Dolphins Foun­da­tion Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Jen­nifer Jehn said. “City Year Mi­ami is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the lives of young peo­ple in Mi­ami Gar­dens, and we’re proud to sup­port this com­mu­nity. Amid the golf­ing, fish­ing and par­ties, the event is cen­tered around a greater cause of mak­ing a true im­pact in ed­u­ca­tion."

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the time, tal­ent and trea­sure gen­er­ously do­nated by the Mi­ami Dolphins, which demon­strates their com­mit­ment to City Year Mi­ami’s im­por­tant mis­sion,” City Year Mi­ami Ex­ec­u­tive Direc- tor & Vice Pres­i­dent Keith Fletcher said. “The Dolphins in­vest­ment in our work at Carol City and Nor­land Se­nior high schools has helped City Year sup­port teach­ers and bol­ster stu­dent achieve­ment over the past three years. It is an all-in com­mit­ment for the Dolphins. Not only are they our home­town team, but they're rolling up their sleeves and get­ting it done. The Dolphins get it that ed­u­ca­tion is the great equal­izer." They're help­ing young peo­ple achieve what they didn't think was pos­si­ble."

Ja­son Jenk­ins, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Com­mu­nity Af­fairs, said choos­ing the two schools was a nat­u­ral. "When we looked at the col­lab­o­ra­tion, we chose two schools nearby that could use our help. It was a nat­u­ral fit for us." Jenk­ins also said the play­ers are in­volved as well.

"Over­all our play­ers are very in­volved in our com­mu­nity pro­grams. Some have even toured one of the schools. They want to be ac­tively in­volved. I would im­plore oth­ers to get in­volved with such pro­grams and with youth to see that they are in­spired, en­gaged and have a bright fu­ture. The Dolphins are happy to have done that."

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MI­AMI DOLPHINS

Fins Week­end Golf Tour­na­ment raises funds to sup­port their four-year mil­lion dol­lar com­mit­ment.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MIAMIDOLPHINS.COM

Dolphins golf tour­na­ment par­tic­i­pants check in on game day.

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