MIAMI GARDENS — Deborah Sands was happy that Nat Moore and current and former NFL players, accompanied by some cheerleaders, visited her hometown of Miami Gardens. The grandmother of 23 was delighted that the Nat Moore Foundation hosted a football and cheerleading clinic in the city, giving youth something to do.
Four of Sands' grandchildren — Taira Pope, Alexis Rembert, Nathaniel Henderson and Christain Russell, aged between 10 and 14, attended the event with two childhood neighbors.
“I was happy to see my grandkids be a part of the experience,” said Sands. "The girls love to dance and the boys play Optimist football, so this was a great experience for them to be out and interact with Miami Dolphins alumni players and cheerleaders.”
Moore’s foundation hosted the event July 30 at the Betty T. Ferguson Community Center for youth between the ages of 9 and 17, in partnership with the Miami Dolphins. Hands-on training in football fundamentals, dance and cheering techniques and life-skills training was offered.
The former Miami Dolphins great started the foundation in 1988 with a mission to “help kids help themselves.”
Through organizing community events, providing scholarships to graduating high school seniors and grants to non-profit youth-oriented programs, the foundation has generated about $2 million for young people.
Moore said he uses the foundation as his vehicle for giving back to a community that has supported him throughout his football career and beyond.
“The football and cheerleading clinic provided youth in the community with a fun, safe and productive summer activity at no cost to the families," said Moore. "It also brought attention to the assets that are available in Miami Gardens, which is the backyard of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, as well as a vehicle for the Miami Dolphins to be a presence in their home community."
Former players who showed up for the clinic included Keith Byars, Jeff Cross, Troy Drayton, Lorenzo Hampton, Sam Madison, Louis Oliver, James Pruitt, Derrick Rodgers and Leon Searcy.
They signed up with Moore to teach football fundamentals and encourage team building activities to young men. Dolphin cheerleaders including Samantha Ruiz, Candi Wood, Carolina Diez and Jenny Fernandez taught girls dance steps incorporated into their game routines.
The city of Miami Gardens and Chick-fil-A co-sponsored the event.
Jenny Larson, marketing director for the restaurant chain, said the partnership was a good fit because the clinic provided an opportunity to engage with families. The company handed out coupons for free sandwiches.
Overall, Sands, the grandmother, couldn’t have been more pleased with the day’s activities.
“I always said that there is nothing going on in Miami Gardens,” she said. “This is one time that I did not mind eating humble pie.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSE PINEIRO/BANCROFT CREATIVE GROUP. Kids cheer along with the Chick fil-A mascot at the Nat Moore Foundation's football and cheerleading clinic in Miami Gardens.