Featuring the Gwen Cherry Park Foundation
“It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men” – Frederick Douglas.
This statement holds true for the work of the Gwen Cherry Park Foundation, a charitable support organization for the NFL Youth Education Town (NFL YET) at the Gwen Cherry Park in Liberty City, Miami, Florida.
Established in 1997 as a tax exempt 501(c ) (3) organization, The Gwen Cherry Park Foundation continues its mandate to impact and change lives for the children as well as families living in the neighborhood, providing first-class park programming and facilities. The Foundation is led by a Board of Directors that sets policies for raising and disbursing grants and financial assistance to support the work on behalf of the youths who are provided services at the NFL YET Center.
Under the leadership of H. T. Smith and with the strong support of the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee as well as additional donations from local businesses, the NFL YET Center was constructed by Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins player Dwight Stephenson and was dedicated on December 16, 1996. The state-of-the-art facility with its various amenities is located on 38 acres of land at Gwen Cherry Park and includes two computer rooms, a library, an arts and crafts room, a game room, a multi-purpose area, and a 9000 square-foot air-conditioned gymnasium.
Providing first-class park programming and facilities, the Miami-Dade County Parks Department is responsible for the general facility operations and management of the NFL YET Center and along with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami Dade County provides sporting competitions and other quality programs for the youths and their families. Back to School Bash, Black History Month Celebration, Conflict Resolution Training, End of Summer Family Night, Entrepreneurship, Graduation Ceremony, Gwen Sawyer Cherry Day are just some of the many programs offered by The Gwen Cherry Park Foundation.
Last year, as the country reeled from the impact of Covid-19, the dedicated staff at Gwen Cherry Park along with community partners and volunteers went beyond the call of duty in ensuring that the children and families of the park were provided much-needed food, water, supplies, information, online educational and organizational services. The highlight of 2020 was the dedication of the park’s new state of the art $1.5M Synthetic Athletic Field, this event was held during the Super Bowl festivities and was attended by many dignitaries, community members, and children from the park.
The academic, health, cultural, social, athletic programs, and activities at the NFL YET Center expose our children to a world of possibilities. The different sporting and recreational activities provide several important physical and mental health benefits and enhanced social skills. Children learn the value of teamwork, improved self-confidence, responsibility, and leadership.
Let us celebrate with the Gwen Cherry Park Foundation for 25 years of supporting positive programs for the children of Liberty City by giving of our means and time, to enhance the lives of the children whose families rely on the after-school programs. The life-changing experiences reinforces the words of the Gwen Cherry Park Foundation’s Chairman, H.T. Smith …. “Life is Good”.