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About Us

Learn more about Mahogany Youth, who we work with & our passion for connecting youth with nature, teaching and environmental education.

 

Fishing is the hook that we use. All of our programs in-school, out of school, after-school, winter, spring breaks and summer camp.

Become a Sponsor of MYC

Help us continue the positive impact of Mahogany Youth and the healing of our youth for generations to come.

Our History

Mr. O'Bryant - Community Father

In 1994, Robert O’Bryant founded Mahogany Youth Corporation, a 501c3 Non Profit, with the mission to empower Miami-Dade youth through outdoor experiences and mentorship. What started as a way to mentor children through fishing has grown into an organization positively impacting tens of thousands of Miami-Dade youth over the past several decades.  We’ve seen our organization reach across several generations of youth as our students have grown up and moved on to pursue college and lead exciting careers. On average we serve 1,500 Miami-Dade youth annually with a variety of outdoors and environmental experiences that expand their minds to new career opportunities and make them better citizens of the environment.

 

Organization Mission Statement

We connect youth to nature. Our mission is to empower kids to expand their possibilities through fishing, the hook that we use to get their attention. Healing youth through nature is the results. Incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math activities into our summer camp, STEAM textbooks come alive in the great outdoors.

 

In 2015 we received a proclamation from the Miami Dade County Commissioners declaring October 12, 2015 Mahogany Youth Day in recognition of the thousands of youth we have mentored. Several Commissioners also make donations to support the summer camp.  In 2016, Bass Pro Shops donated a luxury pontoon in recognition of the work we do with the youth in South Florida. This boat is used for the youth to study science, fishing and to learn safe boating.  In August 2017, Bass Pro Shop donated a Toyota Tundra Truck to us for towing the boat. . In November 2017, the Miami Dade Commissioners  donated a 15-passenger van to use to transport the youth.

 

Featured in the news, MYC has been on Channels 7 Fox News and 10 News and several times in the Miami Herald, and Miami Times newspapers. MYC has partners with the Miami Dolphins. MYC facilitated the youth fishing at Bass Pro Shop in 2008-2010. We are charter members of Florida Youth Fishing Education Statewide Coalition. The true test of success is the satisfaction expressed from our current and past youth, their parents, and our partners.

 

MYC has received funding from: Miami Foundation, NPCA, Peacock Foundation, Guy Harvey, Florida Sea Grant, AD Henderson, Fish Florida, Knight, and Children’s Trust.

 

Many other nonprofit organizations receive environmental education, fishing events and life skills training from us. We have fished with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Girl Power, Overtown Youth Center, YWCA, the Miami Bridge, Boys and Girls Club and others. We also collaborate with Miami Gardens Parks, Diving with a Purpose and YES to name a few. We have been in partnership with: Florida Fish and Wildlife since 1991, NPCA since 2008. Our kids do cleanups in Biscayne National Park.. We also deliver fishing and environmental education programs to youth in Everglades National Parks at events like Everglades Day and March in the Park. The youth receive civic voice lessons to train them to do public speaking and become community advocates. MYC youth have traveled to Tallahassee to advocate for environmental projects for years in partnership with NPCA and Biscayne National Park. The Broward County and Miami Gardens parks have partnered with MYC.

 

Our passion is to connect Miami’s vulnerable youth to nature helping to keep them off the streets and out of gang violence.

Our Story

Our Founder and Directors, Mr. Robert O’Bryant, a licensed drug counselor for over twenty years, founded Mahogany Youth Corporation (MYC) a 501c3 in 1994.

 

Prior to founding MYC, Mr. O’Bryant worked with juvenile and adult drug offenders and recovering addicts. Working with juvenile offenders in prison, he saw firsthand the damage done to the youth because of drug and gang activity. Filled with compassion, he wanted to intervene in their lives before they enter the system.

 

Fishing was a way to get them involved and motivated to stay out of trouble. It gave them a positive outlet for their energy. He started an outdoors, conservation, and a mentoring program titled “Teach a Child to Fish”. This program began changing their lives starting over 25 years ago in collaboration with  Miami Dade Parks in Gwen Cherry Park. The park’s programs expanded to Miami Dade and Broward Counties. The afterschool program expanded to North Dade Middle School in 2007. Then in 2010 grew to include in-school programs in Jose Di Diego, and Richmond Heights middle schools.

 

Those programs continue and in 2016, MYC added two elementary school programs in Bright Futures and North Glade Elementary schools. This year MYC added a new program called Outdoor Recreation as an elective in Jose Di Diego Middle School.

 

MYC has delivered a high-quality science-focused summer camp for 13 years in South Florida that includes fishing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, high-quality science, nature experiences, and intensive scientific research in the fields of Marine Biology and Plant Ecology with an emphasis on Sponge, Fish, and Water Quality research. 7 years ago, we added a STEAM focus building our first underwater robot and adding a diving program. Four years ago, we added sponge restoration and snorkeling. In the camp, the youth learn sport fishing, swimming, and safe boating.

What We Do

Teach Kids To Fish

We teach kids even from a young age the fundamentals that go with being a good fisherman or fisherwoman. They learn to respect the environment, use and maintain their equipment and to leave habitats as untouched as possible.

Teach Kids Life Skills

Many of our participants are from marginalized communities where drugs, gang violence and poverty are prevalent. Our programs fills in the time between home and school to enrich and protect kids from those gaps.

Environmental Education

This includes shark tagging, sponge research and restoration, coral restoration, swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, camping, hiking, fishing, and nature walks.

We Introduce or Expand STEAM for Kids

We believe in the importance of education in addition to life skills. Through lessons in sustainability and stewardship, we amplify youth's knowledge with STEAM opportunities. Fishing just serves as the "HOOK" to get them excited about learning.

We provide in school, out of school, after-school, and Saturday programs in South Florida Parks in City o  Miami and Miami Dade County, Miami Dade Schools and to Non-Profit organizations. The programs are 1 day, 3 days, 5 weeks, 10 weeks, 20 weeks,  4 or 5 weeks summer camp and the entire school year. MYC teaches, “Hooked on Fishing, not on Drugs.” Fishing events reinforce a lifelong connection with fishing that improves family communication, self-esteem, and creates a feeling of responsibility to the community. Teaching life skills and empowering youth to achieve success, stay off drugs and in school. Drug prevention techniques, peer pressure and gang resistance skills are learned. They explore careers and plan their futures. There are over 75,000 jobs in the Marine Industry that the kids can be trained to do. Swimming, Snorkeling and Scuba diving certification programs are also offered by MYC. Our peer-to-peer mentor program promotes mentoring and positive relationships. Lifelong skills are learned that can never be taken away. These programs make the difference in the lives of these children.

Meet the Mahogany Youth Family

Robert O’Bryant

Kathleen Elliott

David Solomon

Instructor 

Secora Jones

Administrative Assistant

Leah Sands

Instructor/Grant Writer

Dr. Glenda Hudson

Tai Chi Instructor/Health Advisor

Devon Dassaw

Webmaster

Anderson Cooper

Marketing and Media Consultant

Kyler Jr.

Instructor

Sergio  Jr.

Instructor

Lilliana Jr.

Instructor

Zavion Jr.

Instructor

Board Members

Brian Person

President

Keith Lindo

Treasurer

Holly Bunn

Marketing Manager

Carolyn M. Cross

PhD Science Advisor

Dee Brightman

Secretary

Become a Sponsor of MYC

Help us continue the positive impact of Mahogany Youth and the healing of our youth for generations to come.