aar-corp_web.jpgMIAMI — Celebrating its 10th year serving the neighborhood, the Overtown Youth Center launched a new summer program last week. A partnership with aviation company AAR and Miami-Dade County Public School’s Office of Academic & STEM Transformation puts 11- to-18-year-old students through an intensive, six-week STEM curriculum.

AAR CORP. Chairman and CEO David P. Storch’s donated $350,000 to support the Center’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program for three years. The program kicked off June 25 at the Overtown Youth Center with AAR employees helping students to launch rockets. The center was cofounded in 2003 by former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning who was on hand to show support and interact with the students.

The center – an educational and social enrichment center – provides a safe haven for underprivileged children in Overtown, up to age 25. Over the last 10 years, more than 3,000 youth from in and around the Overtown area received service, the center said.

On a daily basis, more than 400 students participate in programs. Since 2007, more than 90 percent of the program’s high school seniors successfully graduated from high school and about 80 percent of all graduates have enrolled in colleges/universities.

“AAR believes in investing in the communities we work in, and I am really impressed by what is being accomplished by Alonzo and Tina at Overtown,” said Storch. “This type of investment is mutually beneficial as it helps AAR to create a pipeline of aviation talent to make sure we have the workforce we need in the future.”

AAR provides products and services to the global aerospace and government/defense industries. The company is connected to Miami by its two facilities in the county – Landing Gear Services and Aircraft Services – that employ more than 1,000 residents.

The company’s focus on STEM education for youth and community improvement has included giving Miami Central High School juniors and seniors their first glimpse of aviation education and careers during “Taking Flight,” a day-long STEM excursion to AAR’s 226,000-square-foot aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Miami International Airport.

“The three-year commitment and support of STEM programs provided by David and his aerospace company will motivate and inspire children,” said Mourning. “Today we will teach and feed kids here at the OYC; our goal is to ensure they’re contributing members of society 10 years from now.” 

Mourning was back at the center where he was inducted an ambassador for the  Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, which uses the power of sport to address social problems.

 “I’m proud to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Overtown Youth Center. I’ve been dedicated to this center and have seen its impact grow. I’m joining the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA as an ambassador to bring the success we’ve seen in sport for development in Miami to other communities around the globe.  I believe in the power of sport to change communities,” Mourning said.