MIAMI GARDENS, FL. – The Miami Dolphins in partnership with Pepsi brought together 20 local community groups for the third annual Football UNITES™ Opening Kick presented by Pepsi to discuss the program’s overall community impact, workshop and network at the Baptist Health Training Complex on Tuesday, March 28.
The Miami Dolphins Football UNITES™ program strives to connect the intersections of the community to create a more inclusive South Florida. By working with over 50 community partners and allies the program focuses on improving relationships, fostering understanding and experiencing culture throughout South Florida.
Over 40 participants engaged in educational programming and breakout sessions to discuss the progress of Football UNITES™ at Opening Kick. After the breakout sessions, the Dolphins recognized select community partners for their outstanding work within the South Florida community.
Selected for its innovative programming that helps develop meaningful relationships in the local community, Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBS) of Broward received the Football UNITES™ Unity Award presented by Pepsi. With additional support from Smirnoff, National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment (NVEEE) received the Smirnoff LGBTQ+ Ally Award in recognition of their commitment to inclusive programming.
“Pepsi is proud to mark the third year of Opening Kick, partnering with the Miami Dolphins to celebrate the outstanding work of our community allies who create a more inclusive culture in South Florida,” said Heather Hoytink, President, South Division of PepsiCo Beverages North America. “We deeply value and appreciate everyone at Miami Dolphins Football UNITES™ in furthering our shared mission to foster understanding and bringing the South Florida community together.”
After the event, participants were given the opportunity to network at the Miami Open presented by Itaú as they explored the tennis campus and enjoyed matches at Hard Rock Stadium.
“We are elated to team up with Pepsi in support of this year’s Opening Kick as we gather our community partners to review the success of our 2022 Football UNITES™ community programing and discuss how we can continue to create an impact in 2023,” Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Community Relations & Youth Programs RaShauna Hamilton said. “With a shared commitment towards supporting diversity and inclusivity, we worked to create an event that would recognize the exemplary work done in the previous year and plan for the year ahead by creating opportunities of collaboration, feedback and engagement with the community members involved.”
Participants of this event included representatives from Football UNITES™ community partners including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Asian-American Advisory Board, Aqua Foundation For Women, BBBS of Broward, BBBS of Miami, Breakthrough Miami, Broward County Public Schools, Circle of Brotherhood, Dan Marino Foundation, Fathers M.I.A, History Miami Museum, Jason Taylor Foundation, Lotus House Women’s Shelter, Mission United Broward, North Miami Beach Police Department, NVEEE, Safe Schools South Florida, SAVE Foundation, SunServe, and the Trayvon Martin Foundation.
Founded in 2018, the Miami Dolphins launched Football UNITES™ as a vehicle for social change that would leverage the power of sports and entertainment to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community. Through targeted year-round programming, Football UNITES™ creates opportunities of interaction and experiences that unite groups of different races, genders, sexual orientations, identities, abilities and faiths around the power of football.
Stephanie Fonseca – Miami Dolphins communications contributed to this column