In The News

Mourning’s Thanksgiving Dinner a Hit

Thanksgiving came early for 33 families Monday night in Miami, thanks to former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning and his charity.

“If you have blessings, try to use those to bless others,” Mourning said.

  This is the 12th year Alonzo Mourning Charities has fed families in need. The lucky guests this year were from the Overtown Youth Center.

“All of the families are real excited,” guest and grandmother Loretta Ward said.

The families didn’t just have Thanksgiving dinner at Santa’s Enchanted Forest, but they got complete access to the park.

“It’s kind of hard to create that holiday feel with all of these palm tress and warm weather,” Mourning said.

That’s why he said the Miami spot is perfect for an early Thanksgiving dinner under the stars, or in the case, under thousands of Christmas lights.

By Christina Hernandez |

Path to change never easy, Obama tells Miami crowd

Special to South Florida Times

The 22 students from former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning’s Overtown Youth Center in Miami didn’t take their eyes off President Barack Obama Monday night as he told a mostly friendly audience why he should be re-elected.

Sitting in the large theatre at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami gave the children an opportunity to see the man they had heard and seen on television and know as “the first black president.”

Lydona Lewis couldn’t contain herself afterwards. Dressed in a blue Overtown Youth Center t-shirt, like the rest of the group, she excitedly grabbed the chance to tell about her experience.

“It was so cool!” Lydona, 11, of Miami, exclaimed with a big grin. “It was the greatest!”

Keno Tate, 13, was also beaming with excitement, after displaying his youth center’s t-shirt for the cameras. “It was nice – fun and exciting. I really enjoyed it,” he said.

Tina Brown, the center’s interim executive director, credits Mourning for the opportunity the children had to see and hear their president in person. Mourning was on the stage Monday night rallying the crowd to support Obama in his bid to remain president. Last fall, the ardent Obama supporter hosted a pricey fundraiser at his Miami mansion, raising more than $1 million for the campaign.

Dynasty Hopkins, 12, got the message.
“Obama needs to be re-elected,” she said. “I think he can make a change.”

That was the basic message of the two-hour major fundraising program.

“There are some of you who probably have felt at times during the last two and a half years, gosh, why isn’t this happening faster? Why isn’t this easier? Why are we struggling? And why didn’t health care get done quicker? And why didn’t we get the public option? I know the conversation you guys are having,” Obama told the gathering.

“There have been frustrations and I’ve got some things to show for it over the last two and half years. But I never said this

Overtown’s 13-Year-Old Crooner Gibbor Green Has a Crush and He’s Gonna Sing About It

Gibbor Green may be only 13 years old. But this little crooner knows what he’s doing and where he’s going. With 8,961 likes on Facebook, this eighth grader is not your typical middle-school kid. Green is more stylish than a tiny Andre 3000, he’s got a sweet set of pipes, and he’s on the fast track to stardom.

Next week, he’ll be launching an adorable video for his song “Crush.” It’s directed by photographer Maicol Diaz and co-stars kids from the Overtown Youth Center, a nonprofit organization that empowers children and provides them with resources and education. Green also likes to give back and he’s building a foundation to provide kids around the world with an education.

We sat down with the future superstar to chat about his cool look, bright future, and Aretha Franklin.

Crossfade: What’s your favorite thing about singing?
Gibbor Green: My favorite thing about singing is I see other people do it and then it empowers me to do it more. I always liked singing, I don’t know why, but that’s why I kept doing it.

Have you been singing since you were a little kid?
Since I was two.

Does anyone else in your family sing?
My whole family.

What is the first song you learned?
“I Want You Back” by Michael Jackson.

Do you dance, too?
I’m getting more into the dancing. I’m just practicing more and doing it every day.

Who wrote the song “Crush?”
Teflon. But I wrote some of it, the hooks.

Do you actually have a crush on the girl in the “Crush” video
We picked from the school [Overtown Youth Center]. It wasn’t a girl I had a crush on. It was the director’s choice.

Where’d you grow up?
I grew up in Overtown. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things. But for me, going through that past life makes me enjoy this life even more.

Do you want to be really famous one day? How do you feel about the business you’re entering?
I feel pretty good about it. I see me on the stage and millions and millions of fans are screaming my name. That’s what I’m trying to get to.

And why not? Are you the mastermind behind the cool outfits you wear?
Not entirely. I get the clothes and then I put it together. (His manager, “He’s got style!”)

It’s a good look. Do you have any contemporary artists you listen to?
Neo and Chris Brown.

Do you have a favorite musical memory, someone you met?
I met Bootsy Collins and Aretha Franklin, and that was pretty cool. I met Aretha at her concert. I was able to go backstage, and she was like, “Who’s this?” And then she was like, “Come in!,” and she pulled me in the dressing room with everybody else. I just sang and she was amazed and she really liked me.

That’s truly an honor!


Our House – OYC Newsletter Volume 2

Business School and UBS host carnival for kids

On Saturday, the School of Business’ Eighth Hyperion Council and United Black Students joined together to hold a carnival for young students at the Overtown Youth Center in Miami.

The youth center’s parking lot was filled with UM volunteers and young students who enjoyed bounce houses, music and even sumo wrestling.

The purpose of the event was to teach the kids the fundamentals of financial literacy and teamwork. Throughout the morning, there was tutoring for kids of all ages who wanted help with their schoolwork.

The experience touched many of the UM student volunteers.

“I remember one student answering an essay prompt which stated what they wanted to change this world and he wrote, ‘I want to change violence in my community,’” said senior Jordan Chadsey, a council member.

The 18 members of the council who attended were all busy working with kids at the educational booths that were set up around the carnival.

“The council is really committed to transferring the information they are learning in the classroom to communities in the real world,” said Ellen McPhillip, assistant dean of undergraduate business programs and adviser to the Hyperion Council. The group, made of of top business students, has been involved in off-campus community projects for years.

To council members, financial literacy is a mindset. In teaching the kids at the youth center what it means to have a budget, they learn important lessons at a young age and can pass them on to future generations.

“Our goal is to start teaching Peter how to fish rather than giving Peter a fish,” McPhillip said.

The council set up two booths at the carnival, one with a game closely resembling the game-show Jeopardy and another called the “human knot,” which encouraged teamwork. Jeopardy covered various topics and allowed the young students to explore more topics such as ethics, applying to college and starting a business. The human knot promoted accomplishment through teamwork, with students coming together in a circle and untangling themselves without letting go of each other’s hands.

“By providing these kids with early exposure to these topics, we can help them make the right financial decisions and help the communities in our area,” said senior Kyle Harke, the council’s student coordinator for this event.

Gabriel Baca may be contacted at

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