Social Responsibility: Education
Through its flagship community affairs initiative, HEAT Academy, the Miami HEAT has embraced the importance of providing children in South Florida with the opportunity to have a quality after-school program with an academic purpose at its core. The HEAT Academy is fully funded by the Miami HEAT and its corporate partners, Carnival Foundation and Florida Blue. The funding for the program accounts for teacher wages, materials & supplies and any special activities planned throughout the course of the year. The HEAT Academy's primary goal is to provide economically disadvantaged students who are most at risk of academic failure or juvenile delinquency with a program of after-school tutoring and academic enrichment. The program is dedicated to strengthening the students' reading, writing, math and science skills so that they are able to increase their potential for success on the Florida Standards Assessment Test (FSA) exam and compete on a national level.
Through a collaborative partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the HEAT Group corporate partners, the Miami HEAT has teamed up to facilitate HEAT Academy at three local inner-city schools:
- Paul Laurence Dunbar K-8 Center (Overtown)
- Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Elementary (Little Haiti)
- Riverside Elementary (Little Havana)
At HEAT Academy students practice reading, writing, math and science, receive assistance with homework, have a safe place to learn after school when their parents are usually not available, and most importantly, learn from positive role models who inspire our students to excel.
The HEAT Academy operates the majority of the school year-round every day of the week, Monday through Friday from 3:30 pm to 5:30 p.m. The HEAT Academy provides educational support to a total of 354 students across the three Elementary schools from the 3rd to the 5th Grade. Although the program is free for students enrolled, students are required to meet certain attendance goals and abide by a strict code of conduct if they are to remain eligible.
The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund and BankUnited are offering $25,000 in scholarship funds to high school seniors attending Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe or Palm Beach schools. Scholarship applications are available each school year and recipients are awarded between April and May. This year's application deadline is Saturday, January 29, 2022. This will be the 26th year that the Miami HEAT has offered scholarships. Scholarships are awarded based on academic performance and outstanding community service. Scholarships include the following:
- Three (3) $5,000.00 HEAT Scholarships
- One (1) $5,000.00 Dr. Jack Ramsay Scholarship
- One (1) $5,000.00 Alec Kessler Student-Athlete Scholarship
The Miami HEAT realizes that fundraising is necessary for schools to keep programs properly funded. To help your school, we have created an opportunity for faculty, students and their families to enjoy the experience of a Miami HEAT game - LIVE, while simultaneously helping the school to meet its goals. In a fun and exciting alternative to a raffle or chocolate sell-off, etc., schools have the opportunity to receive money for every Miami HEAT ticket the school is able to sell through the Miami HEAT FUN-raiser program. For additional information on this program, please call 786-777-DUNK.
Program Duration: School Year
HEAT Learn and Play Center
The Miami HEAT along with Florida Blue, have teamed up to create Learn and Play Centers throughout South Florida. As part of this incredible transformation, the HEAT renovates an existing room into a HEAT-themed area with fresh paint and then supplies it with new computers, furniture, books, audio/video equipment and games for children to enjoy & learn from. The concept behind the Miami HEAT Learn and Play Centers are to provide a safe place where children can spend time reading a book, working on their homework, or just having a good time playing video or board games. To date, the HEAT has established Learn and Play Centers at twenty sites:
- Each of our three HEAT Academy schools - Paul Laurence Dunbar K-8 Center, Jesse J. McCrary Jr. Elementary, and Riverside Elementary
- Community Partnership for Homeless, a Miami based homeless shelter which helps men, women and children transition off the streets of Miami-Dade County and on their way to attaining greater stability and self-sufficiency in their lives.
- Bucky Dent Gymnasium in Hialeah
- His House Children's Home, a shelter and child-placing facility dedicated to restoring the lives of children and families.
- Miami Rescue Mission
- Grapeland Park in Miami
- Shake-A-Leg Miami
- Miami Springs Community Center
- Chapman Partnership
- Joe Celestin Center in North Miami
- Little Haiti Cultural Complex
- The Learning Experience School
- Robert King High Park
- Moore Park
- South Dade YMCA Family Center
- Jose Martí Park Community Center
- HANDY, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale
To be considered for a Miami HEAT Learn and Play Center, all requests MUST meet the following criteria:
- Submitted on Organization Letterhead
- Thorough description of the organization and its mission
- Thorough description of why your site should be considered for renovation
- Location of the site
Please mail to:
Social Responsibility Department / Learn and Play Center
601 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132
HEAT Black History Month Challenge
The Black History Month Challenge is a game show-style competition held at the FTX Arena during the month of February where two teams of students from two local schools test their knowledge of Black history for a chance to win a HEAT prize pack, which includes HEAT tickets and a $4,000 grant to the winning school. Both attending schools are also provided a pizza party provided by Papa John’s. 2021 will be the twelfth year of the event hosted by HEAT Television Host and Courtside Reporter Jason Jackson and also incorporating two HEAT legends as captains on each of the opposing teams. The series between Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools is currently tied with five wins apiece.
HEAT Back To School
HEAT Players, Xtreme Team, Burnie and HEAT Dancers welcome students and teachers of a local elementary school back to school to help kickoff the school year. With a little encouragement from the HEAT players as they distribute school supplies to the children and the added excitement of the HEAT Experience, the event serves to alleviate any first day jitters the students might be feeling.
HEAT School To Work Program
For the past twelve years, the Miami HEAT has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami in providing former HEAT Academy students with the educational and life skills necessary for a successful future. The HEAT School to Work Program has provided hundreds of students with different life skill workshops along with pairing them with the front office staff at the HEAT to help prepare them for college and future employment as well as for consideration of one of fifteen Carnival Scholarships.
Mindfulness Champions Initiative
The importance of mental health, eliminating the stigma surrounding it and providing the education to achieve a more resilient and healthier state of mind has never been a greater need in our society than it is today underscored by the recent pandemic and the affect that will remain with us long term. In an effort to address some of these needs as students and teachers return to school after an extended period of isolation and to further challenge other entities in our community to help join the effort and meet the mental health needs of those living in South Florida and beyond, the Miami HEAT alongside Florida Blue will be announcing and underwriting the costs of a unique program in collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Schools – the Miami HEAT Mindfulness Champions Initiative (MCI). MCI will train a total of 354 teachers in mindfulness and mental health education, one for every K-12 public school throughout the school district so they can in turn educate students and other faculty at their respective schools. The training which will take place during the current 2021 summer, will be conducted by Mindful Kids Miami, Inc.