Arron Afflalo Joins Youth on the Historic Eatonville Walking Tour
By Josh Cohen
Feb. 2, 2018
ORLANDO – It didn’t take long for Arron Afflalo to develop a strong bond with the people of Orlando and the city’s neighboring communities after he originally joined the Magic in 2012. In fact, Afflalo decided to return to the Magic this past summer when he was a free agent partly because of that special connection.
Afflalo’s allegiance to Central Florida is so profound that he’s developed an interest in learning more about the culture and history of this region.
As part of the many activities the Magic and their players will take part in to celebrate Black History Month, Afflalo spent a portion of his Friday evening learning about one of Central Florida’s most legendary towns. Along with 20 students from Empower Every Kid and the Valencia Promise mentor program, Afflalo went on a tour to learn about the rich history of Eatonville, the country’s oldest African-American municipality.
A history buff and someone who greatly appreciates what those before him accomplished to help pave the way for his success in life, Afflalo acquired a great deal of knowledge and was delighted to participate in the tour with so many students striving for excellence in their own lives.
“It’s an amazing feeling, especially during Black History Month, to come to this historic site and learn a little bit of history,” Afflalo said. “Orlando has been a happy place for me, so it’s good that I’m learning about the culture through the inside and out.”
“It’s exciting, you get to see the excitement in their (students) eyes,” he added. “It’s a very historic day for them as well so I’m glad that I was able to share that with them.”
Afflalo and the entire tour group explored several sites, including Robert L. Hungerford Normal and Industrial School, Hungerford Elementary, The Hurston, Lawrence African Methodist Church and Moseley House and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole wrapped up the tour outside Town Hall by speaking to the children and encouraging them to continue chasing their dreams.
All the students were so extraordinarily attentive to the facts presented to them. They jotted down notes during each stop, and they asked plenty of questions to the tour guide.
“It was certainly a dream come true I think for a lot of our students to simply be able to walk around and be able to experience some history,” said Lindsay Smith, Mentor Recruitment and College Success Coordinator for the Valencia College Take Stock in Children program. “Experiencing it with the Magic is just that much more special. Having opportunities like this don’t necessarily come around all the time for them so it is certainly special."
The Valencia Take Stock in Children program helps low-income students in grades 8-12 effectively transition from high school to college. All of the children are given a mentor to work with while in high school, meeting with them approximately 15 times each academic school year. They participate in a variety of workshops and community service projects, and are given a two-year Florida prepaid college scholarship if they maintain a particular GPA.
The Black History Month celebration will continue on Saturday when the Magic host the Washington Wizards. As part of the festivities, Afflalo will meet with students from Jones High School’s Project Success program. At halftime, the Magic will honor long-time Eatonville resident, 99-year-old Ella Dinkins. The Magic will also host members of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida along with local African American community leaders at the game.
For more information on Black History Month, please visit www.OrlandoMagic.com/blackhistorymonth.