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$30,000 in scholarships awarded - from left, Stephen Kelly, middle school essay contest winner (first place); Carnival Foundation's Linda Coll; Ladarrius Blackman, middle school essay contest winner (second place); Martin Menard, high school essay contest winner (second place); Carnival Corp.'s Arnold Donald; BBBS's Lydia Muniz; Crystal Proctor, high school essay contest winner (first place); BBBS evp Gale Nelson; Amaya King, high school essay contest winner (third place) Photo: Carnival

Big Brothers Big Sisters get big boost from $5m Carnival Center for Excellence

Carnival Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami celebrated the grand opening of the new BBS headquarters, the Carnival Center for Excellence. The center was made possible by a $5m gift from Carnival Foundation.

In addition, the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat Charitable Fund donated a $350,000 Miami Heat Big Fitness Room to the facility to promote health and wellness to BBBS participants.

The Carnival Center for Excellence will house more than 50 BBBS staff members, as well an array of new tools and services. These include a 'You Media' creative area for music, video and creative digital learning; a computer lab; space for homework and tutoring; and life-skill classes.

Further services will be phased in, and tutoring and family classes will be introduced during the first year of operation in collaboration with several corporate and nonprofit partners.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and news conference took place at the facility at 550 NW LeJeune Road in Miami on Monday. The event featured executives of Carnival, BBBS and the Miami Heat as well as local elected officials and student essay contest scholarship winners.

'Carnival Corporation has been a longtime supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami through Carnival Foundation and our Scholarship and Mentoring Program, and we are proud that the Carnival Center for Excellence bears our name,' Carnival ceo Arnold Donald said. He added the facility will help BBBS of Miami to have a 'profound and positive impact on the lives of young people in South Florida for decades to come.'

The center 'marks a new era for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, enabling us to provide more facilities, services and assistance to local children and families than ever before,' said Lydia Muniz, president and ceo of the Miami BBBS chapter. She called the center an 'inspired hub of mentoring and innovative creative services.'

At the ceremony Carnival Foundation executive director Linda Coll announced the winners of an essay contest asking students to describe how mentors have impacted their lives. A total of $30,000 was awarded in scholarships and educational resources on behalf of Carnival Foundation to three high school and two middle school students. The winners also received laptop computers.

 

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