MIAMI – Founded in 2003 by former Miami Heat superstar Alonzo Mourning and his wife Tracey Wilson Mourning, along with real estate developer Martin Z. Marguiles, the Overtown Youth Center is a safe haven for the children who live in the area.
The center has graduated 100 percent of its high school seniors since inception and continues to send a majority of its students to college.
Tauheeda Huggins is in the 10th grade at Booker T. Washington High School and she comes to the youth center everyday. She told Local 10 News that one field trip in particular changed her life.
"We went on a field trip to a hospital one day and I met a pediatrician and that's what I want to do," Huggins said.
Huggins is just one of the 400 children that OYC serves in two centers in the Overtown community. Students get daily hot meals, help with homework, dance classes, cooking classes, sports and so much more.
Jaquan Benjamin said he came to OYC three years ago with bad grades, mostly D's & F's. A counselor connected with him and convinced him to work harder.
"He saw the struggle I was going though, he helped me pursue my goals. I didn't have one until I started coming here," Benjamin said.
For fifth grader Joshua Aleman, having a place like OYC is helping him make better choices for his future and avoid the distractions in the neighborhood.
"It's better to be here than be out in the streets, because my friends do really bad things, " Aleman said.
The Overtown Youth Center is funded by grants and the generosity of the community.
Click here to learn more about the youth center or to donate to the cause.