The needs of conservation and society aren’t mutually exclusive; they require a thoughtful balance in order to determine the greater good.
I was encouraged recently at the joint meeting between the city of Miami and the Village of Key Biscayne about the future of the Miami International Boat Show.
Mahogany Youth Corporation began in 1994 with the mission of empowering children through fishing.
We have programs in school, out of school, after-school and customized from Homestead into Broward County.
Our marquee program is Teach a Child to Fish, which teaches sport fishing, life skills, critical thinking and boating safety to children throughout our local area.
We use fishing as a tool to keep children in school, off drugs and out of gangs.
We fish almost every month on the Old Rickenbacker Causeway, right across from the proposed site for the boat show.
We have a vested interest in this area, particularly because more than 3,000 children participated in our program last year.
The boat show means many things to our youth. We are a small nonprofit and depend on donations.
Each year the boat show helps us raise money so that we can supplement the grants we receive.
By operating a booth at the Boat Show every year, we are able to teach children crucial job skills, fundraise to support future programs, fund our summer youth employment program and inspire youth to pursue a career in the marine industry.
The Boat Show ignites their imaginations, and by keeping them involved in the program we are able to stoke the flames of their dreams to keep them focused on their future.
Over the last five years, I have seen the Miami International Boat Show’s commitment to this community, the environment and the impact it has on the economy.
The balance is a compromise between each side so we can achieve all goals.
The Boat Show is so much more than dollars and cents.
The Boat Show is much more than a boost to the economy; it’s about inspiring, dreaming and achieving.
Kathleen Elliott, vice president, Mahogany Youth Corporation, Miami