Former FIU football star Johnathan Cyprien '12 partnered with the city of North Miami Beach and Joshua’s Heart Foundation in April to deliver groceries and essentials to 426 families living below the poverty level in Florida.
The deliveries contained items ranging from fresh produce to toilet paper.
“It was actually real, real nice. One thing about the coronavirus is that it is very fatal to the elderly. I remember going to the homes of two women who were at an elderly age. Just going there knowing that I got to bring them something instead of them risking something going to a grocery store, it was heartwarming," Cyprien said.
The group of volunteers focused delivery efforts on those who faced barriers to going outside and getting food themselves, such as people with no mode of transportation or with preexisting health conditions.
"One woman in particular expressed to me and other people that she was more at risk because she had a preexisting health condition, so she was really grateful. We couldn’t hug or anything, but it was really cool," Cyprien said.
Cyprien grew up several blocks from North Miami Beach's city hall. At FIU, he earned a degree in hospitality management and became a standout football player. Cyprien was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He is currently a free agent.
Armed with the resources of his professional career, Cyprien looks to make positive differences in his hometown and around the world through the CypSquad At-Risk Youth Foundation.
"I started my foundation in the North Miami Beach area, and the whole reason for it was to help kids that were like me when I was a kid. [I was] less fortunate and just not able to have as many opportunities as others," Cyprien said. "There’s a quote I heard: 'God distributes talent equally throughout all people, race, culture and color, but opportunity is not distributed in the same way.'"