(WSVN) - Back in May, we brought you a story about a Miami Police officer coaching a group of underprivileged kids — working hard with few resources. That story got South Florida’s attention. Now, as the nightteam’s Robbin Simmons tells us, people are coming together to help keep the kids on the right track.
Working hard in the South Florida heat, it’s what the Miami Overtown Tornadoes do.
When we first met them in May, the team was at practice with their coach — Miami Police officer Malcolm Moyse. Our story showed how Coach Moyse started the team to keep these kids off the streets. Many of them coming from single parent and low income homes.
Officer Malcolm Moyse, City of Miami Police: “You lean into the curve and you dig in.”
Some ran without shoes and had no money for equipment or out of town track meets. But now, that’s changing.
Coach Moyse: “The story made a huge difference. It made a huge impact. I got phone calls for monetary donations. A lot of people just wanted to show their love.”
People like Paralympian Natalie Bieule. She’s competing for the gold in discus this summer in Rio.
Natalie Bieule: “When I saw this story, it was just an automatic (snap fingers) …this is it.”
Natalie is sponsored by Kellogg’s. She’s now helping the Tornadoes, and the breakfast giant is too.
Natalie Bieule: “Kellogg’s wants to — whatever way you need help, they’re going to meet me halfway with a contribution.”
Natalie Bieule: “I want to give them a chance to dream. A chance to dream and know that you can get there too.”
Miami Police, city leaders and members of the Overtown community also came forward — celebrating the Tornadoes at a recent community cookout, and welcoming new sponsors and board members like attorney Alan Alvarez.
Alan Alvarez: “That story pulls on your heartstrings. I’m contacting law firms of folks that I’ve dealt with before. People that I know that have kind hearts and we’re trying to get some money together for these children. It’s as simple as that!”
Tornadoes board member Maddie Cartagena is stunned at the response.
Maddie Cartagena: “People were just pouring in on e-mails. ‘How can we help?’ ‘I saw it on the news.'”
Coach Moyse: “The kids actually became local superstars. It motivated them and motivated other people to get into the program.”
The kids have new uniforms and starting blocks, and Natalie is donating new discuses and coaching them on how to throw.
And, the Tornadoes have their first out of town track meet in Orlando this week.
Working hard and competing is great, but Coach Moyse says the most important thing is the love and support they’re getting from the community to keep them on the right track.
The kids who qualify at the Orlando track meet this week will have the opportunity to go to Houston, Texas for another big meet in August.
If you’d like to make a donation, go to the Overtown Tornadoes track and field GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/MiamiTornadoesInc.
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