Written by Luis Sung | Twitter: @FLSportDebater
The Miami Dolphins players and their families, Dolphins cheerleaders, and mascot TD came out yesterday afternoon to Dave & Busters in Hollywood, FL and made a lot of elementary school students very happy. As kids from schools from Dade, Broward, as well as Palm Beach County made their way inside the private room, they were greeted by several players who walked them in.
Over 100 kids were in attendance. The players had the opportunity to interact with the kids and also talk about the importance of a good education and staying active, something the players recognize as a very important cause, and one they were going to try and take advantage of in the short time they were there.
"There is only so much we can do in the short time we're here with them," said long snapper John Denney, "We're trying to spark an interest and spark motivation for them to start making positive choices and being more active."
As a surprise to all the kids in attendance, after eating an early dinner with the players that consisted of cheeseburgers, mini-pizzas and fruit (gotta stay healthy), they got to go and play in the arcade with all the Dolphins players before they actually received the final gift of the day, which of course was the backpacks stocked full of necessary school supplies.
"I think it's great, you know, it's just about the Dolphins players, the wives, girlfriends, and everybody just coming out here and giving back to the community and giving these kids what they deserve and that's backpacks and school supplies," said linebacker Jason Trusnik, "But also letting them have some fun and run around here and play some games."
Trusnik also brought his family to the event, his wife Nicole and their young son and daughter went around playing games and had an opportunity to connect as a family, but they also enjoyed being able to give back to the community with this Dolphins event.
"It's great, it's a great time," said Nicole Trusnik, "So to be able to come here and see these kids have fun with football players and wives and other kids, it's just a lot of fun to see them excited, get them out and play games and to give them backpacks with school supplies is just awesome."
What's amazing is that the Dolphins have been doing this sort of thing for over a decade, and they've made it a point to try and help out the kids who really need help in their communities.
"This event started several years ago, it was a conversation that we had with Dade and Broward County school boards," said Senior Director of Community Affairs and Miami Dolphins Foundation and former Miami Dolphins linebacker Twan Russell, "One of the things, there's so many backpack events and they said 'can we wait for a couple of weeks and let school start so we can see who really needs it.
"So we actually wait and find kids whose parents after three or four weeks have not been able to afford buying backpacks, so the backpacks and the school supplies that we're giving away now are to the higher need kids, kids that truly cannot afford it. And for us, we show them a good time, they get to meet the players, play videogames, but then they go back to school and they're well-equipped to start their day, and they have a backpack that are nice and looks like everybody else's."
To say that the event was a success would be an understatement, as kids from all over the Tri-County area not only had an incredible time in the arcade with the Dolphins players, but they can now go back to school with a backpack and school supplies that they can use to get a much greater headstart in life.
The Dolphins players also had an amazing opportunity as well as they were able to interact with the kids, teach them the importance of making good decisions in life, and the players also got to have a great time with their families.
Sometimes we need that fresh look at people to remind us all that even though they were there for the kids as Miami Dolphins football players, they were simultaneously there as husbands and fathers for their own families, and for them to be able to give back to the students clearly meant something to them as people as well as athletes, and that in and of itself is an incredible experience to enjoy and be part of.