Archive for September, 2019

Kenyan Drake Making Global Impact, One Smile at a Time

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

Dolphins fans, far and wide, were all smiles when Kenyan Drake sprinted into the end zone as time expired to stun the Patriots last December. Over the summer, the fourth-year running back capitalized on the lasting popularity of the play since hailed as the “Miami Miracle” to put smiles on the faces of hundreds of children who may have never seen him play a single down.

Drake has served as an ambassador for Smile Train, a nonprofit organization that provides free cleft and palate repair surgery in more than 85 developing countries, for the last two years. During that time, he’s visited hospitals and local homes in Mexico and Brazil, hosted a cocktail dinner in downtown Miami, and led a three-mile walk in Long Island, N.Y. to raise awareness for the charity.

During his recent trip to Rio de Janeiro treatment centers, the 25-year-old, in conjunction with Smile Train, came up with a way to utilize his elevated NFL platform to get more people involved in the cause. He posted an offer to his 150,000-plus Twitter followers: anyone who’d donate at least $15 to his fundraiser over a five-day span would receive an autographed photo of his biggest football moment.

With Week 2 bringing the Patriots back to Miami for the first time since Drake’s miraculous score, Dolfans NYC is using the opportunity to assist his philanthropic initiative. On Sep. 15, Slattery’s Midtown Pub will hold a pledge drive and raffle off memorabilia, collect unused dental items and make “get well soon” cards that will be distributed to children who’ve recently undergone cleft operations. All proceeds will go directly to Smile Train.

Drake, who also wore custom shoes representing the charity during the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign last season, was inspired to join Smile Train after learning about its mission and recognizing how he could make a difference.

“A smile is the first thing you notice, and I just like to use my opportunity to go out there and really help people see their potential,” he said. “I feel like I’m a champion for the vulnerable and for people who don’t have a lot of the things that people in other countries may have just because of the circumstances they were born in.”

Drake, a Smile Train ambassador, hosted a Miami event to help raise awareness and funds for children with untreated clefts. (Photo credit: Kenyan Drake / Twitter)

While touring international medical centers, he observed surgeries first-hand and helped spread positivity to children and their parents.

“When you go out there and give time and effort,” he said, “it gives them the ability to have a great (experience).”

In the days following his social-media campaign, the contributions, from the minimum $15 to over $250, kept pouring in, so Drake stayed busy signing in his free time, inscribing his name across stacks and stacks of 8×10 prints. There were too many to count, he said, but consider that just last week, he prepared the final 500 photos for delivery.

Drake set a $10,000 goal, enough to cover up to 40 surgeries; he raised nearly $14,000, and proceeded to personally match the total.

“I wanted to do that with my own funds to just show how invested I am in it,” he said. “I feel like my (position) definitely gives me the ability to impact the world.”

Among the prizes in Dolfans NYC’s upcoming raffle is a Dolphins mini helmet signed by No. 32. In addition, for every donated item and made card, members will receive a separate raffle ticket for a chance to win a football signed by Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas at the end of the season.

“It’s pretty cool to just be involved in that,” Drake said. “I feel that it’s definitely something worthwhile.”

Dolphins Promote Harmony, Inclusion Though Football Unites Program

Monday, September 9th, 2019

It’s just past 10 o’clock on Sunday morning, three hours before the Dolphins will kick off the 2019 season against the Ravens, and the North East plaza at Hard Rock Stadium is bustling with activity.

At the team’s fourth-annual Football Unites CommUNITY Tailgate, large overhead fans are whirling at full capacity, while a DJ shuffles between mid-1990s and early 2000s hip-hop classics – 2Pac and Ja Rule are the biggest crowd-pleasers – and radio-friendly Drake hits.

A behemoth foosball table in the right corner clicks and clacks, and to the left, an assembly line of young members from Davie Police Athletic League (PAL) and 5000 Role Models packs kits with hygiene supplies to distribute to those affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

Hot and cold food stations on the opposite end of the plaza are stocked with hamburgers, salads, chips and an assortment of sugary treats, and adjacent refrigerators are crammed with water bottles and soda cans.

“Our owner, Stephen Ross, our players and coaches paid for this tailgate with the idea of bringing four to five groups that would’ve never thought of connecting in their regular walks of life,” said Jason Jenkins, Dolphins Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs. “South Florida is a melting pot of a lot of intersections, and we want to make sure that we’re reflective of all the groups that are coming here.”

The initiative is part of a series of community service projects planned for the 2019 season, which also include ride-along programs designed to foster positive communication between police and youth, as well as cultural tours through a partnership with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

While some of the Dolphins’ previous social-progress leaders, including Kenny Stills, a three-time Nat Moore Community Service Award winner, are no longer on the team, Raekwon McMillan, Bobby McCain, Jerome Baker, Albert Wilson and Xavien Howard are among the players who’ve carried on the legacy of their predecessors.

Dolphins alumni, including tailgate attendees Nate Garner, an offensive tackle from 2008 to 2014, and Ed Perry, a tight end and long snapper from 1997 to 2004, have also continued to be prominently involved in efforts to unite people of different races, genders, sexual orientations and identities through sports.

“Our players have been extremely supportive and active, not only financially, but with their time to the program,” Jenkins said. “We’re stewards in this community and this brand. We have this commitment and responsibility to make sure we can make South Florida united, make South Florida healthy and make South Florida more educated, as well.

“Our owner has been there every step of the way. (Vice Chairman, President and CEO) Tom Garfinkel really gave us the opportunity to lay out this vision, and it’s great that (we’re) seeing it come to fruition each and every day.”

Since its inception in 2015, the tailgate has grown organically, primarily through word of mouth, from 10 participating organizations to over 60.

Jenkins believes that’s only the beginning.

“Our capacity is limitless in what we want to do,” he said. “We believe in humanity, we believe in football having the ability to bring people together and we’re very fortunate to be able to provide these platforms to bring our youth together.”

Football Season Begins, 10th Anniversary Merch & Giving Back

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

This is a very different Miami Dolphins team from the last time we updated our website. The Dolphins have had a full 25% roster overhaul in the short time since we first put #MetLifeTakeover tickets on sale. The team that is suiting up this Sunday vs the Ravens is going to have a lot of new faces and may not be the juggernaut we expect from the Miami Dolphins, but we’ve been through tough seasons once or twice before and I am hopeful that looking back in a few years this will be the best thing to happen to us since we drafted Dan Marino.

The reason we started Dolfans NYC is because football is more fun when you are watching it with other people. The wins are better, but maybe more importantly, the losses are a lot better. You get to commiserate (and perhaps get very drunk) with people who know what you are going through. There aren’t a lot of places where you can make new friends as an adult but I know there are Dolphins fans that I will talk to for the rest of my life because of this club.

10 years ago when we founded Dolfans NYC we expected a few dozen people to walk into our bar Third & Long but by kickoff there was a line out the door. A few years later Third and Long sadly closed and we moved to Slattery’s Midtown Pub and once again on week one we packed the place despite being three times the size of our old home. The #MetLifeTakeover started with 35 people and grew to 70 and then 200 then 750 and it’s averaged over 1000 for the last 5 years. It’s been one hell of a ride and despite the team on the field I am very excited for our 10th season.

To celebrate our 10th season we have a BUNCH of new merch designed by one of our members Jackie who moved upstate and as a going away present made a bunch of stuff for us. You might have seen our 10 Years logo already but you haven’t seen these new shirts. We created a MIAMI NORTH shirt and tank top in the Miami Vice colorway that will look as good in your all white Air Force Ones in NYC as it will walking down South Beach in flip flops. We also have a 10 Years iron on patch for your jerseys and we have two new hats that are in the works.

Miami North

For one week only (well more like 10 days) this stuff will be available to purchase online. Our regular merch store is closed while we are selling #MetLifeTakeover tickets because it’s impossible for us to deal with both at once, but next Sunday I am going to bring everything I need to ship home from Slattery’s and mail it out the next day. I don’t have time to be shipping constantly, but I can dedicate and afternoon to it. So if you want some of our new merch and you don’t live in the area here’s your chance to get some of our merch. We have our normal Dolfans NYC stuff in the shop as well. And remember, all proceeds go to charity. SHOP HERE.

Speaking of charity, for our 10th anniversary season, our goal is to donate $10,000 to charity and we will be making a donation to a different charity every week of the season. This Sunday we are doing a huge fundraiser for the Jason Taylor Foundation. They sent us a full sized Hall of Fame helmet signed by Jason that we will be raffling. We also have a signed ball that we will be auctioning off at Slattery’s. If you can’t make it to Slattery’s we are selling raffle tickets online as well. If you want a chance to win the helmet send $20 for every 5 tickets to DolfansNYC@gmail.com using PayPal. We will be drawing tickets during the 4th quarter of the Ravens game live on our Instagram so you can watch at home to see if you win.

Jason Taylor Signed Helmet

Lastly, I wanted to mention that after emailing them for months we finally heard back from the Giants about trying to buy group tickets. We don’t have anything set in stone because they have been very slow responding, but it looks like we are going to be able to buy a small block of tickets in the lower level. We will be selling them for $150 which is a lot more than our Jets seats, but at least we get to be near the field for a change. If you don’t have your Giants tickets yet, you might want to hold off for a bit. Feel free to email us (DolfansNYC@gmail.com) to get on our email list when the tickets go on sale. For now, get your Jets tickets here!

Okay, that’s it! Sorry for the longer than normal post, but just so excited for our 10th season of Dolfans NYC! See you guys on Sunday! Phins up!

 

 

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