Alonzo Mourning Charities (AMC) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public fundraising foundation.

Alonzo Mourning Charities creates platforms for youth to excel.  AMC supports programming with proven results that deliver resources to students and families in need.

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Tuesday
Apr122011

Zo Wants To See His Youth Programs Expand (Miami Herald)

BY Thomas Johnson

TJohnson@miamiherald.com


Miami - Fifth-grader Paul Dunbar wants to be a pediatrician.

Lavontay Thompson is in fourth grade now, but dreams of majoring in engineering at the University of Miami.

Through programs at the Overtown Youth Center, many inner-city children like Paul and Lavontay are one step closer to reaching their goals.

Alonzo Mourning’s newest initiative, the Support-A-Student campaign, aims to expand programs like those at the Overtown Youth Center to other areas of the county to help other students improve academically and socially.

“We provide support from a standpoint of making sure we identify any of the social, family and physical obstacles that may keep a child from walking through the doors of the school,” Mourning said Wednesday.

At the Overtown Youth Center, students receive tutoring, play sports, take dance and art classes, and go on field trips. High school aged kids recently took a tour of Florida universities.

“For many of the students, it was the first time they had stepped foot on a university campus,” said Fred Rosario, the high school coordinator. “It’s great motivation for them.”

Mourning hopes that by changing the fundraising method to the Support-A-Student structure, more people will be able to contribute to the effort, thereby enabling the program to expand.

You can sponsor a student for a donation of $4,800 a year. The money will be directed toward each OYC student’s programming costs, which includes tutoring and test preparation, enrichment courses and health and wellness instruction.

The Overtown Youth Center also provides a summer program and offers Tracy Mourning’s Honey Shine mentoring program for girls.

There are currently 275 students in the Overtown program, with a long waiting list.

“These particular facilities need to be placed in every community so that we can support the school system and do the things that public schools don’t have the manpower to do,” Mourning said.

One requirement of the program is that students maintain at least an 85 percent attendance rate at both the school and the center.

For many students that doesn’t seem to be an issue.

“I love coming here, it gives me stuff to do instead of just staying home,” said Lavontay, who attends Frederick Douglas Elementary School.

The results have been encouraging.

One hundred percent of the graduating seniors who attend the Overtown Youth Center went on to college or a vocational school.

In comparison, the graduation rate in Overtown is 50 percent.

Mourning has been involved in community outreach programs since he first came to Miami in 1995.

“Back when we played at the old Miami Arena, I drove through here to get to work everyday back,” said Mourning. “I identified many of the issues that the community was facing.”

For Mourning, motivation is all around him at the center.

“The reward is watching these kids graduate,” said Mourning. “It’s something that motivates me to expand efforts.”

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/24/2132535/zo-wants-to-see-his-youth-programs.html#

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