Larry Blustein

GIVING BACK: Dolphins Surprise Area Schools With Equipment

Larry Blustein
May 08, 2019 - 12:21 pm

As spring football unfolds across south Florida, there is something else that is happening that frankly doesn’t get the spotlight it deserves.

As we have known for decades, when it comes to giving back to the community and the many high schools and youth programs in and around the state, the Miami Dolphins do more than their part to step up and make a difference.

What the Dolphins, along with Baptist Health South Florida have done the past months for the football programs is make dreams come true in and around Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

By surprising selected schools with equipment to help create a safer and healthier environment for their program, the bar has definitely been raised. The donated equipment included Junior Dolphins and Baptist Health branded shirts, shoulder pads reconditioned by Riddell, down markers, tackling pads and dummies, a sled, cleats and Gatorade product.

On Tuesday, it was South Broward High that received the gift as head coach Anthony Collins and his Bulldogs got all the goodies – and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the first year head coach, who is in the process of building this team back into a contender. The girls’ flag football program benefitted as well.

“I cannot say enough about what the Dolphins and Baptist Health South Florida are doing for so many programs,” said Collins. “We have a very youthful team, and when these young men see someone care about them – by giving equipment – it is a huge confidence builder.”

South Broward is just one of several schools to benefit so far this spring. Pahokee, Miami Felix Varela, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan and Doral’s Ronald Reagan High received their gifts – as will Lantana Santaluces and the Miami Beach Hi Tides.

“This is a big confidence boost for our program,” said Reagan longtime Head Football Coach John Lopez. “There have been some years where we’ve had low numbers and it seems like we needed something to get us going. What a great thing this was for us and our program and our school.”

The reconditioned pads are essential for many of these programs who need as much protection as possible. The new tackling pads – besides helping out football-wise – is a boost every time these teams go out to practice – and see the Dolphins logo on it – along with Baptist Health.

The teams that are awarded the gifts also have the opportunity to hear from Dolphins alum and Youth Programs Ambassador Twan Russell about overcoming adversity.

Russell, who grew up in Broward County, attended St. Thomas Aquinas, the University of Miami and played for the hometown Dolphins, is indeed the face of many endeavors – including his passion for education.

In 2018, the Dolphins made donations to Miramar High in May, Pompano Beach in July, Miami Booker T. Washington in August, Boca Raton’s Spanish River, Key West, Marathon and Coral Shores High Schools in September, and Belle Glade Glades Central in November.

This event is one of the Dolphins Huddle for 100 service projects as part of the NFL’s 100th celebration.

The NFL has invited fans, players, clubs and employees to join Huddle for 100, in an effort to inspire 1 million people to volunteer 100 minutes of their time to make meaningful contributions to their communities.

These activities connect to the Miami Dolphins “Teamwork at Work” initiative to level the playing field through the power of teamwork to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community.

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Monday night (7-8) on WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). For the past 11 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!