MIAMI GARDENS - The Miami Dolphins hosted the NFL’s HSPD (High School Player Development) Leadership Program presented by the National Guard at Sun Life Stadium this past weekend. The two-day event featured select high school athletes from around South Florida who participated in classroom, community and the leadership competitions as part of the program.
The classroom portion was led by the NFL’s Player Engagement Department and consisted of character development and life skills training. NFL ambassadors Donovin Darius and Pete Mitchell spoke to the athletes about the importance of having an education to fall back on and making choices that will have a positive impact on their future.
“One of the most important components to success in life is experience, knowledge and the ability to have a mentor. We want to help the next generation to make better decisions,” Darius, who is an NFL Transition Coach, said. “Hopefully, this makes a tremendous impact because we’re hoping to put more information into their understanding and to give them something else to consider when making decisions.”
The community portion of the program allowed the students to give back by volunteering their time at a local children’s home called His House. The students, in conjunction with the Miami Dolphins Special Teams Department Driven by Chevy, painted the building, cleaned up the outside area and sorted through donations.
The final facet of the program was the leadership competition, which had students participate in a variety of team building and leadership activities.
“The HSPD program is an excellent time for students to learn and understand that education is the most important thing,” Youth Programs Director Twan Russell said. “I think between helping out in the community and hearing from former pros the importance of school, this program makes a true impact on them.”
The inaugural HSPD Leadership Program was held in four cities during the summer of 2012. The mission of HSPD is to provide high school football players with an opportunity to enhance their leadership skills through participation in interactive character building, community service activity and competitive activities.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS