By: Dave DiPino
Former Miami Dolphin great and certain National Football League (N.F.L) Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, is giving back to students interested in poetry with a partnership between Hoffman’s Chocolates in their South Florida stores.
Including the Boca Raton location, the Jason Taylor Foundation will support an after-school spoken word poetry program serving students in South Florida Public Schools and in Boca Raton.
“From day one, we set out to provide assistance to young people in need. What that need is differs from child to child, and some obviously need more than others, but we thought we could use our network and influence to help where we could. We started out with a broad brush, but over the years we really have put a lot of focus into the areas of education and empowerment,” said Taylor.
Hoffman’s Chocolates – Boca Raton at 5250 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton donated 10 percent of all of its Gourmet Caramel Apple sales in April to the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, an after-school spoken word poetry program serving students in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.
“About 5 years ago, a student from our Reading Room named Autumn Williams was motivated to write a poem and a light bulb came on. I won’t sit here and tell you that from that moment I could have foreseen what the bluapple Poetry Network has grown into, but we definitely realized that every kid has a story, no matter his or her circumstance, and providing the platform to tell that story has been invaluable,” said Taylor.
Jared Levan, CEO and President of BBX Capital and CEO of Hoffman’s Chocolates, owned a company called Bank Atlantic five years ago. Bank Atlantic was a big supporter of the Jason Taylor Foundation and from that partnership came an opportunity down the road today with Taylor that Levan and his team restarted.
“All the apples sold in any of our eight stores during April benefit the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network. That’s our stores in Palm Beach County Boca Raton, Greenacres, Lake Worth and Palm Beach Gardens, plus the four stores in Broward County,” said Levan.
“This made perfect sense with our new apples and the bluapple poetry we thought would make a great connection. Education is so important. Whether it’s poetry, after school programs, arts education, we’ve always felt education is so important not only for teenagers but at any age.”
Students from across South Florida appreciated the opportunity including a young poet who just started writing prose this school year.
“It’s really fun to share your poems with an audience. Jason Taylor appreciated me and had nice things to say to me. Plus my Dad is a huge Jason Taylor and Miami Dolphin fan,” said Joshua Bullock, 15, at the kickoff event for the partnership.
For more information visit www.Hoffmans.com and www.bluapplepoetry.org or call Hoffman’s Chocolates at 561-750-0021, or visit Hoffman’s Chocolates – Boca Raton at 5250 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton.