Week 14 Community MVP: Michael Thomas, Miami Dolphins Free Safety
To reach his current place in life – a five-year veteran firmly entrenched in the Miami Dolphins lineup – Michael Thomas needed a fair share of people to believe in him.
Whether it was during his childhood in Houston or when he was an undrafted rookie fighting to make an NFL roster, mentors played a vital part in pushing Thomas to succeed. Now, Thomas is taking it upon himself to fill that role for youth in his local communities so that they too can one day make an impact.
On Dec. 13, the Dolphins safety hosted the Home for the Holidays party with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami for about 100 children and their mentors in South Florida. The event put on by the Week 14 NFLPA Community MVP is part of a year-long campaign called Michael Thomas’ Big Plays for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, which is geared toward raising awareness for the need of youth mentorship, especially males.
“It was great spending time with these children and families,” Thomas said. “This is a special season of giving, and BBBS and I share a passion about giving back to the children in Miami and providing mentorship they need, deserve and seek on a daily basis.”
Currently, the city of Miami has a shortage of Male Little Bigs, creating a waiting list for male children in need of a mentor. To help meet the $1,800 needed to mentor a child, Thomas’s campaign allows supporters to pledge one dollar or more for every turnover caused by the Miami Dolphins defense during the 2016 football season.
“Spending the holiday season with those close to me has always had a special place in my heart and I was glad to have the opportunity to share the same feeling of love with the youth of BBBS,” Thomas said.
Through these admirable efforts, the Dolphins alternate player rep has picked up right where he left in 2015, when he was also named an NFLPA Community MVP. Last year, Thomas helped launch The First Step in Florida with the Van Duzer Foundation. The grassroots program focuses on making lasting connections with kids living in neighborhoods characterized by violence and bad influences.
In October, Thomas made the two-hour trip to Fort Pierce to help The First Step facilitate a discussion between the city’s youth and law enforcement. Initiatives like this have helped significantly decrease crime rates in Fort Pierce and help move the national dialogue about police and race relations in a positive direction.
“It’s important to me to try to inspire kids and offer resources and experiences that they wouldn't otherwise have,” said Thomas, who also hosts free youth football camp in Houston during the summer. “Many of us in the NFL have had moments as a child where someone – a coach, teacher or mentor – took time to believe in us. My desire is that, by getting involved, I am helping change a kid’s life.”