Miami HEAT and Carnival Scholarship and Mentoring Program
The Miami HEAT and Carnival Scholarship and Mentoring program was launched in 2007 with the help of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. The program, also known as School to Work, serves alumni of the HEAT Academy and offers Miami-Dade high school students with the opportunity to form relationships with established professionals within the HEAT and Carnival.
School to Work pairs qualified incoming high school freshmen with a member from management at either the HEAT or Carnival after a comprehensive interview and evaluation coordinated by Big Brothers Big Sisters. Students visit the AmericanAirlines Arena or the Carnival Cruise Lines headquarters once a month for four hours during the school year. The high schoolers are able to participate in informative workshops and seminars—from college preparation and job interview skills to finance and “dressing for success”—while shadowing their mentors to get a first-hand look at the business world.
“This program is worth it and I like it because my mentor teaches me a lot,” said freshman Alejandro Wilson, first year participant in the program. “You also have fun, but you get to learn a lot.”
This year, 99 members of HEAT and Carnival management are participating in the program mentoring 99 Miami-Dade public high school students. In addition to the mentoring component, these students are eligible to earn full four-year college scholarships to an accredited Florida state college, university, or trade school.
To date, Carnival has purchased 165 college scholarships through the Florida Prepaid College Foundation worth an estimated $1.9 million. So far, 60 students have been presented with scholarships at special in-game ceremonies during HEAT games in which the recipients, their families, and their mentors are guests of honor. All students who earn the scholarship also receive laptop computers to help them prepare for college. One hundred percent of students in the program have graduated high school and 99 percent have attended college or trade school.