Cool Gear for the School Year provides disadvantaged children the opportunity to participate in a "Back to School" shopping experience at an Old Navy clothing store. By building a child’s self-esteem and eliminating an unnecessary distraction, the child can focus on learning and not attire while at school. This year, nearly 60 children from His House Children’s Home, Overtown Youth Center and the Urban Leagues of Broward and Greater Miami, were welcomed with backpacks and school supplies, donated by Community Back-to-School Bash, Cool Gear t-shirts and a party complete with décor and delicious food, courtesy of Chick-Fil-A and Old Navy. DJ Big Al and Power Parties provided live music for the evening, as the children danced their way into the store.
Each child received $300 to shop for back-to-school clothes at Old Navy and they were paired up with a South Florida celebrity to assist with their shopping experience. In addition to the newest inductees into the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll, Jason and his brother-in-law Zach Thomas, a star-studded group of celebrity guests participated in this year’s Cool Gear. Miami HEAT legend, Alonzo Mourning and current Miami HEAT star, James Jones once again showed their support. Heisman Trophy winner and current ESPN college football analyst, Desmond Howard, as well as MMA competitor and professional boxer, Kimbo Slice, joined this year’s group of celebrity shoppers. Florida Panthers’ Tyson Strachan also took part in the festivities along with members of the FAU football and University of Miami baseball programs.
A host of current and former Miami Dolphins players, including Chris Chambers, Troy Drayton, Joe Rose, Ed Perry, Shawn Wooden, Derrick Rodgers, John Offerdahl and Jed Weaver were all in attendance. Miami Dolphins current players Dan Carpenter, John Denney, Brandon Fields, Kevin Burnett and Anthony Armstrong as well as a spirited group of Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders and TD also showed their continued support for the cause. Miami HEAT sports broadcaster, Jason Jackson, and Miami HEAT dancers also shopped and the Police Women of Broward County’s Det. Andrea Penoyer and Det. Julie Bower returned as veteran shoppers.
As the cash registers began to sound and countless bags of Old Navy clothes and accessories were distributed, the children gathered their final autographs and pictures before embarking on another school year "in style." The Jason Taylor Foundation looks forward to continuing the profound impact of this program on South Florida’s youth during next year’s back-to-school season for the ninth annual Cool Gear!