Friends and Neighbors

Teen shares his sport with inner-city kids

I am always amazed at the compassion and thoughtfulness of young people, especially teenagers. We live in a word where most of the information about our youth is negative, so I'm happy to tell you about Jordan Karp, 16.

Jordan, a senior at Miami Country Day School, will spend his summer months teaching inner-city youths about the game of lacrosse. He is the leader of the program geared to teaching the game to underprivileged and at-risk youths who are being tutored at the school. The program is in collaboration with Breakthrough Miami, a nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged students with the tools they need to reach their goals.

Jordan made lacrosse's Elite Team Florida as well as Team Miami and competed against about 500 youngsters in his category to make Elite Team Florida, which represents the state in two national tournaments -- one in Princeton, N.J., and the other in Hotbeds at the University of Delaware. The latter is the most prestigious of the two tournaments. The Florida Lacrosse News recently mentioned Jordan "... as someone to keep an eye on" from his performance at the Team Florida All-Star Competition.

At the camp, he will use his expertise to teach the youngsters how the sport is played, its rules and the team-building skills that will help them not just in the sport, but also in life.

Jordan was able to get beginning lacrosse equipment from major manufacturers. He said he hopes what he is doing will inspire similar programs for other sports to include underprivileged children throughout the nation, while promoting the expansion of lacrosse and encouraging kids to play the game. Jordan also used his own money to buy the lacrosse sticks for the youngsters in the program.

Jordan started playing lacrosse when he was in the sixth grade and fell in love with the game. As a junior, he was this season's junior attackman and was honored as the leading scorer on the Miami Country Day School's varsity lacrosse team. He was named by the Miami Herald as an All-Dade Lacrosse Player. In the fall, he will be the captain of his team.

"I realized when I tried out for Team Florida, I noticed there wasn't a lot of diversity. Since I grew up with a lot of different cultures I wanted to teach the sport to the underprivileged. It's a great way to learn about other cultures," Jordan said. "In lacrosse, most of the kids grow up in privileged homes. I hope to mentor more kids in the future. I appreciate that I'm playing the sport and teaching it to others, while seeing them improve (their game)."

According to a press release, Breakthrough Miami is a tuition-free academic enrichment program that provides motivated middle-school students from underserved communities with the tools they need to achieve their most ambitious goals in life. The program serves more than 1,000 students from throughout Miami-Dade County on sites at five independent schools and one public charter school. Lacrosse will be offered as a part of the program through July 26.

For more information call Elissa Vanaver, CEO of Breakthrough Miami, at 305-646-7210.

Summer Concert

Series to open

The Community Arts Program Summer Concert Series "then Swings My Soul" at Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ will present pianist Orli Shaham in concert at 8 p.m. Thursday at the church, 3010 DeSoto Blvd.

Shaham, recognized as one of today's most-gifted pianists, is also praised for her grace, subtlety and vitality. She has collaborated with her brother violinist Gil Shaham on many recordings. At Thursday's concert, she will perform a recital of Chopin, Brahms and a presentation of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

To order tickets call 305-448-7421, ext. 153, or visit

Other summer concerts will feature Pepe Romero on July 11; Brubeck Brothers Quartet on July 25; Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra on Aug. 8; and John Pizzarelli on Aug. 22.

Also, the Young Musicians' Summer Master Classes will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Fridays following the artists' concerts. The class provides an opportunity for students to perform for the artists or audit within an up-close and personal setting. The program is for the young-at-heart, too. All ages can register to audit or perform in master classes. Up to five who have registered will be chosen to perform. The cost is $15 per master class; register by calling 305-448-7421.

Banquet to help

Jamaican families

Angels From Heaven, a nonprofit organization that helps the poverty-stricken communities of Jamaica, will have its annual Black and White Affair Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on July 20 at Rose G. Price Park, 9011 NW 208th Ave. in Pembroke Pines. Tickets are $45 per person.

Angels is made up of young women from throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties who are trying to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children and their families, hospitals and orphans in Jamaica. The group makes two trips a year to the island, bringing medical and school supplies, clothes and shoes.

The banquet will feature music by Mark Sawby. For tickets and more information call Cecile at 954-593-6520 or Nesta at 954-913-6094.

AT&T gift helps high schools

Kudos to AT&T for its $37,633 donation to Communities in Schools of Miami, Inc. to help support site coordinators at North Miami Middle School, North Miami Senior High School, Miami Edison Middle School and Miami Edison Senior High School. The company will present the check at 11 a.m. Friday at Edison Senior High.

According to a press release, the gift is part of AT&T's $2 million contribution to the Communities in Schools network across the country.

The network provides school-based coordinators to help connect struggling students with academic support, mentoring, counseling, after-school programs, career development and healthcare services. The resources will increase the chance of high school completion and reduce dropout rates.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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