On Friday, January 30, University of Miami Athletes participated in the Fun 4 Kidz Mentoring Program at the Game Works of Sunset Place. The program is sponsored by former UM track star and current United States Track Team Member, Lauryn Williams. The program involved 35 local children and 35 UM student athletes from Football and Women's track and field.
Since May of 2005, President and CEO of Fun 4 Kidz, Andrew Post, has been growing this event that helps students in local middle schools achieve greater accomplishments in the classroom, directly allowing them to pursue a greater role in sports. Post, a past UM graduate, works as a teacher as well. "I found out that I have a lot of students with great talents, a lot of interest in sports, but no real home life, so we joined up with Lauryn Williams, and she had this idea to do a mentoring program and UM has been outstanding with it", says Post.
The student-athletes were each paired with a child as they ate appetizers and enjoyed the arcade games. This program is not only an exceptional experience for the kids, but for the mentors as well. "I wish when I was growing up, I had people to mentor me like this. I'm just hoping to make a positive influence for someone's life", says freshman wide receiver, Laron Byrd.
Kristy Whyte, a junior and the 2008 ACC Indoor Track Most Valuable Performer, was also in attendance. "It's good to be setting an example of where they can go and what they can be. Just show them that when you stay strong, dedicated, and work hard, you can one day end up in our position", she stated. The key to an event like this is to stress the importance of staying motivated in school and keeping a positive outlook on achieving success.
Post, who is heading Fun 4 Kidz into its fourth full year of production also stated, "If you don't perform in the classroom, you won't even be allowed to perform on the field. It's that simple". The message is made clear and the effects this event had on the children and the student-athletes will surely go a long way.