About 80 boys and girls, who attend the PEAR Program Camp in Aventura, participated in a basketball clinic at the Aventura Recreation Center.
The clinic was conducted by Mentoring Valuable Proteges Inc., a 501 c organization based in Miami Gardens that conducts mentoring programs for kids in five core areas: athletics, academics, career & development, health & wellness and leadership. The basketball skills clinics are led by its CEO and Founder Jason Gilliam-Alexander.
Jason has been honored by Dwyane Wade Sr.’s Propops Foundation with the Dedication Award and by Legacy Magazine 40 Under 40 Leaders. His non-profit conducts basketball and volleyball skill development programs for kids, age 5-17, in more than 15 municipalities in South Florida. His partnership with PEAR began nine months ago.
The Aventura event kicked off with insight about Mentoring Valuable Protégé’s mission, vision and how their initiatives develop lives. Kids received T-shirts sponsored by City Bikes, and Wasserman & Thomas Attorneys at Law answered questions about bullying, healthy foods, study habits, desirable occupations and the sport they love.
Boys and girls were assigned to baskets, based on age and ability. The MVP and PEAR coaching staffs teamed to offer six skill development stations: dribbling, rebounding, passing, shooting, lay-ups and defense. The coaches rotated baskets clockwise working and teaching participants in 15-minute intervals.
The clinic closed with an exciting game of Knock-out between MVP Inc. and PEAR coaches.
Coconut Grove cheerleading, football
Rick Klein, president of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove, presented a check for $39,000 to Tony Golden, president of the Miami Youth Sports and Education Association, Inc., in support of the Coconut Grove Titans youth football, cheerleading and tutoring program.
Golden said: “The dedication of the coaches. Many of the boys in the program do not have fathers actively participating in their lives, and the coaches have become surrogate fathers to the boys. They do so much more than just coach a sport. They help the boys with homework, feed them, teach them right from wrong, instill discipline in them, talk to them about having positive goals for their lives. The coaches are the real heros.”
When MYSEA took over the sports program a year ago, there were no programs for girls. MYSEA enlisted the help of well-known cheerleading coach, Nikenna Benjamin, to start a cheerleading, dance and gymnastics program. Nearly 70 girls participated in the program, and one team of 12 (age 13) qualified for the Florida state championships in Orlando, an unprecedented accomplishment for a first-year program.
Last year, more than 200 children participated in the program. This season a substantial increase in children is expected because of fewer programs in the area. Many of the children come from difficult family and financial situations, and the goal has been to keep the cost very low so that no child is turned away. To keep the cost down, additional fundraising is needed.
“The Rotary Club was looking for an organization in the West Grove to focus our fundraising efforts on, and when we met Tony and his volunteers, we knew this was where we wanted to direct our attention,” said Klein.
MYSEA, founded by Golden, an estate planning attorney; Jonathan Walker, a veterinary assistant; and Steven Arch, a wealth manager for Wells Fargo Advisors, is a non-profit organization dedicated to using sports as a means of providing a positive outlet for inner city children.