Atlas Supports Liberty City Optimist Club, a Safe Haven for Youth

The Liberty City Optimist Club youth football team

The Liberty City Optimist Club youth football team in pre-COVID days.

Giving back to the communities in which we live and work, as always been a huge source of pride, joy and purpose for our Company. This year, amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the need for assistance is particularly great.

The Liberty City Optimist Club, just five miles from our Miami Training Center is one such organization that relies on donations to help achieve its mission: to enhance the character and physical growth and development of at-risk children and youth in Miami Dade County.

This year, as a result of funds raised at the Atlas Air Worldwide Charity Golf Tournament, Atlas was able to make two significant donations to the Club.

“Here at Atlas, we believe every child deserves the opportunity to succeed and we appreciate opportunities in which we can play a role in developing tomorrow’s business and social leaders,” said Gary Wade, Vice President, Security.

Liberty City Optimist Club after-school participants listen to a presentation by Miami-Dade police officers.

The LCOC was co-founded by the late Coach Sam Johnson and Luther Campbell, an American rapper (former leader of the rap group 2 Live Crew), promoter, record executive, and actor. Luther has often shared that he and Coach Johnson were highly motivated to provide “a place where Liberty City kids could play baseball and football while learning they didn’t have to sling drugs on a street corner.”

Since its founding, the Club has become the largest in the Miami area, offering not only sports, but also providing academic and computer tutoring, supporting the development of generations of children, who are now hardworking adults in Miami-Dade.

“The LCOC is a very special place and is truly making a positive difference. In its 30 years of programming, it has significantly influenced the lives of thousands of children, young people and families through education and social development,” said Gary, who divides his time between our Miami and Purchase, New York offices and spent significant time in the Liberty City area when he was with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“When John and I initially met with Luther and the Liberty City team, I almost didn’t recognize the neighborhood,” said Gary. “The emphasis the LCOC has put on education has made significant progress in creating a more engaged community.”

The Liberty City Optimist Club youth football team in pre-COVID days.

The Atlas donations will help further develop the LCOC after-school program, which provides children with a safe space outside of school to receive help with homework from tutors who are certified through the Florida Department of Education. The after-school program also offers college and job-readiness programs for high school-aged children and hosts workshops for parents who are seeking employment.

“We are so pleased to support the LCOC’s efforts to improve the lives of those less fortunate,” said Gary. “It is an honor and a privilege to be able to help in the education of future generations.