Posts Tagged ‘michael thomas’

Dolphins Aim to Unite Community Through Football

Monday, September 10th, 2018
Dolphins executive Jason Jenkins (center) greets members of NOBLE at Sunday’s Football Unites Tailgate.

Two hours before the Miami Dolphins kicked off the 2018 season on the field, the organization proudly launched the third year of its Football Unites Tailgate – a Stephen Ross-led initiative aimed to fortify relationships between local community leaders, youth and law enforcement – outside the Hard Rock Stadium gates.

Hip-hop music blared through the speakers as a throng of young fans skipped their way past the Joe Robbie Statue, around a decorative white picket fence and inside a reserved section at the North East Plaza. With a backdrop of colorful murals overlooking the festivities, early attendees lined up for lunch at the hot meal stations before spinning the knobs at an oversized Dolphins-themed foosball table.

Each year, the camaraderie, food and entertainment have brought together diverse groups to the pre-game celebrations, which also provide educational components intended to spark conversation and build positive relationships between fans of different races, genders, sexual orientation and identities.

“Our owner, Stephen Ross, created RISE – Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality – and with that, his goal is to use sports to drive social progress and make meaningful change,” said Jason Jenkins, Dolphins Senior V.P. of Communications and Community Affairs. “So, there’s going to be a lot of fun, but there are also educational opportunities designed to bring people together and learn about each other. They’re going to do a scavenger hunt, they’re going to have discussions and they’re going to talk about themselves. We want to bring all these diverse groups together that make up the culture of South Florida, with sports as that backdrop.”

Over a dozen organizations have partnered with the Dolphins, including 5,000 Role Models, North Miami Beach Police Athletic League, Urban League of Broward and NOBLE, whose leaders have recognized the program’s immense impact on their community.

“This initiative is great because it gives the kids an opportunity to come out and mingle with each other, and also meet with officers,” said Timothy Belcher, who serves as President of NOBLE, P.A.L. Coordinator and a mentor with 5,000 Role Models. “We’re trying to bridge the gap between the officers and the youth, to make this a better [community] for everybody. We want to teach our kids responsibility and direction as far as being successful in life.”

The tailgate is one of a handful of initiatives that culminated from a 2016 town hall co-hosted by the Dolphins and R.I.S.E., during which players – lead by Kenny Stills, Michael Thomas, Arian Foster and Jelani Jenkins – and local leaders addressed ways to combat issues of racial inequality and community discord.

“We brought in community members, law enforcement, our players and our executive staff,” Jenkins said. “It was really about, what can we do to bring about positive change and maybe serve as an example for others throughout the country? Everyone came in with a positive vibe and an open mind. They listened to each other’s points of view, and asked, ‘What are some actual things that we can do?’”

At the suggestion of law enforcement officials, Dolphins players – most recently, Davon Godchaux and Kenyan Drake – have participated in ride-alongs throughout the community with local officers as a sign of unity.

In addition, the Dolphins have arranged cultural tours and created scholarship programs, while continuing to welcome organizations championing human rights and community justice each gameday.

“It’s really about this theme that football can unite people,” Jenkins said. “We all want the same thing. The police officers, all they want to do is come home to their families. All the community wants is to live in a society where they’re not judged by their race, sex, gender orientation or identity … We want to make South Florida healthier, educated and more united. We feel events like these can help us with that goal.”

2014 Web Weekend

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

This past weekend was amazing. Not only did we help organize a group trip for fan clubs around the country but it was also the Dolphins annual Web Weekend a conference of Miami Dolphins web masters that I have attended 11 years in a row.  Also the Dolphins played one of their most dominant games in the history of the franchise so that was nice too.

Dolfans NYC was founded because of Web Weekend. Michelle and I both ran Dolphins fan sites and realized we both lived in NYC and started watching games together. A few years later we abandoned our former sites and started Dolfans NYC. This is the 6th time we have attended as Dolfans NYC and the weekends keep getting better.

This year we donated $5000 to the Miami Dolphins Foundation beating our $3000 donation last year after giving $1000 in both 2011 and 2012. That’s $10,000 to the Foundation thanks to you guys. To celebrate we are holding a FREE raffle this week at Slattery’s Midtown Pub for the Lions game. All you have to do is show up and you get a ticket! We should have some cool prizes including a Dolfans NYC shirt signed by AJ Duhe.

Speaking of AJ Duhe, he and Chris Chambers came and spoke to us during Web Weekend. We also had GM Dennis Hickey and CEO Tom Garfinkel in attendance as well. It was pretty great. Plus Jordan Tripp, Michael Thomas and the Finsiders joined us at a party on Friday. Coach Philbin was supposed to speak with us but unfortunately he was out of town because of the death of his father. As always Michelle stepped up and bought a condolence card that we all signed.

The last event of the weekend (aside from the game!) was the Dolphins Webby Awards which are given out to Dolphins Websites. It means a huge amount to me that we have now won the Eddie Jones Community award all three years of its existence. This club has become as much about giving back as it is about football and so that award means a ton to me. We also won the social networking award which I take a bit of pride in considering I do 90% of the social networking for Dolfans NYC. Our third award was the “Most Informative Site” award which is kinda silly considering I haven’t updated this site in a month. That being said our Twitter account and Facebook page serve as great newswires and it still means a great deal because the awards are voted on by our fellow web masters.

Anyway, check out the pictures in this Flickr gallery below. I took all the pictures with our logo watermarked on the images. The other shots are courtesy of the Miami Dolphins. See you guys Sunday!

[tylr-slidr]http://www.flickr.com/photos/dolfansnyc/sets/72157648718752277/[/tylr-slidr]

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