Tribe Sponsors Hit the Books Campaign

Miami Dolphin Jason Taylor Attends

By Chris Jenkins

HOLLYWOOD — The Hit the Books campaign is yet another reminder of the importance of education. On Sept. 25 it took center stage making its way to the Hollywood softball fields for a music and march gathering.

Chairman Mitchell Cypress was joined by the Miami Dolphins star defensive end Jason Taylor. Together they took another important step in promoting the new program, which is all a part of the Chairman’s Initiative to focus on educating Tribal youth in the community.

The main goal and objective of the program is to motivate students to continue their education through high school and into college. Sign up in the campaign will also be encouraged as each participant will be monitored by the Education department. Students that sign up will receive special recognition from the Chairman’s office and Taylor as they reach certain educational achievements while enrolled in school.

One supporter of the program is the Boys & Girls Club for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Assistant Director Thommy Doud says the program is a positive building block.

“It is a positive way to kick things off with what we have planned for our own reading program,” Doud said.

The agenda for the day consisted of a walk for sobriety, greetings from Chairman Mitchell Cypress and Hollywood representative Max B. Osceola Jr., musical entertainment by the band Hybskus, followed by a message from guest speaker Taylor.

Osceola says education and guidance begins at an early age.

“Anytime we can do anything that supports education, it’s a good event. And anytime we can do that with our children it has a double effect because the children can learn a lot while they are young,” he said. “To me this is the best investment in the Tribe, and in them. And it’s going to make our Tribe better and stronger the more they learn.”

The four-time Pro-Bowler Taylor says the Tribe’s support of the Jason Taylor Foundation and the ability to further help tribal youth made this a great opportunity to be a part of.

“With seeing the dropout rate and the rates of kids that are no longer going to school and taking the money that they get from the Tribe and not really doing much else with themselves at an alarming rate, Mitchell wanted to do something about it, Taylor said. “We’re trying to encourage these kids to stay in school and make more of themselves then what they are just being handed.”

Osceola said outside resources and influences can definitely help in the cause.

“Everyone has an impact on a kid so Jason is a real positive impact that the kids will remember,” he said.

Boys & Girls Club Director Robert C. North said their prepared to offer as much support as needed and says he is excited about the program.

“I hope it is everything I am dreaming it can be,” he said. “Personally and professionally and as a Native American we have got to get people into reading more.”