Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas has earned a reputation as one of the most community-minded athletes in all of pro sports. In supporting numerous organizations in South Florida, Thomas was recognized as the Dolphins’ Nat Moore Community Service Award winner and the team’s Byron “Whizzer” White Award nominee in 2015. Both awards were give as recognition for Thomas’s tireless work in the community.
Last year, Thomas and Dreambuilders worked together to provide a $12,000 grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, as well as a $4,500 grant to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
He was also recognized for his off-the-field work when he was named the NFLPA Community MVP for Week 7 in 2015. That award came as a result of Thomas’ trip to Fort Pierce, when he spoke to at-risk youth about making right choices and taking advantage of opportunities given to them.
Thomas had no prior connection to Fort Pierce, but still made the two-hour drive after being contacted by Scott Van Duzer, founder of The First Step. The day included two-hand touch football, pizza and, most importantly for Thomas, a lot of time to connect directly with the young attendees.
“The most memorable part was answering their questions,” said Thomas, who grew up in Houston. “Their questions are so raw and innocent, and it shows that what they hear as a young person actually has a major impact on painting their future,
“The questions they asked brought me back to my own childhood. Playing ball with them in the park was just like playing one of the backyard games that I did in my youth.”
In April of 2016, Thomas teamed with SunTrust Bank’s South Florida President & CEO Margaret Callihan to teach 11th and 12th grade students at Norland Senior High School about the importance of making good financial decisions. As part of Financial Literacy month, Callihan and Thomas led the students through three topical discussions: setting financial goals, renting vs. buying and the pros and cons of homeownership. The one-hour exercise concluded with a game to challenge the students and a raffle for a Michael Thomas autographed Miami Dolphins helmet.