Watch Another Video:
“Meet Miami’s Cuban Confederate”
<NEVER MISS A STORY! LIKE RISE MIAMI NEWS ON FACEBOOK>
What Do You Think?
About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
You Might also like
This Former UM Basketball Player Is Changing Miami’s Non-Profit Game
What’s News With This Story:
–Brandon Okpalobi has made waves in Miami’s non-profit space with his organization Dibia Dream.
-The non-profit exposes at risk youth to unique opportunities in STEM fields and in sports.
–Okpalobi is a former University of Miami basketball player. He also runs a for profit youth sports training company.
–Okpalobi has big dreams for the organization and hopes to see it expand to more locations across South Florida and other parts of the world.
Giving is a trait that Brandon Okpalobi exercises every day.
This young CEO of a youth training program works with children frequently to unlock their potential through sports.
A former University of Miami basketball player, Okpalobi became an entrepreneur and nonprofit founder after his playing days ended.
And in many ways, Okpalobi has never been part of a more important team than he is now.
Okpalobi, 35, founded Dibia Athletic Development in 2011.
The company, which trains young people in various athletic skills operates in Miami, New Orleans and overseas in Bermuda and the Bahamas.
He also expects to expand the program to Latin American and Nigeria soon.
In 2014 he was able to expand the brand to Dibia Dream, a non-profit that helps underserved youth develop life skills.
Okpalobi said that he gives back to his community because of the example he saw from his father.
“In 2007 my father took me to Nigeria and built a community center for his village,” Okpalobi said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “I saw the impact from it and I realize I need to give back more because that is going to bring the change we want to see.”
Okpalobi grew up in New Orleans to a Nigerian immigrant family.
He was a standout high school basketball player and attended the University of Miami in the early 2000s.
He was a guard on UM’s basketball team from 2001 to 2005 when he went undrafted in the NBA Draft.
When playing in the NBA was no longer his goal, Okpalobi used basketball as a vehicle to pursue other ventures.
“Basketball is my everything,” Okpalobi said. “It brought me to Miami, it kept me in Miami, it allowed me to start my for profit and opened up doors I never had.”
Dibia Dream is Okpalobi’s nonprofit that he launched in 2014.
This venture exposes under-served children to activities like art enrichment, science education and athletic training so they can develop new skills.
It has quickly become established in Miami’s growing non-profit space.
READ MORE: This Millennial Haitian-American Activist Is Not Backing Down From A Fight With Trump
Through this program, Okpalobi has helped expose over 4,000 children to experiences they would have never otherwise experienced and has given out 600 scholarships for summer enrichment experiences.
One of the major features of Dibia Dream is STEM Saturdays.
On Saturdays during the school year, Dibia Dream allows students to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) projects.
Okpalobi designed the program to be a “safe haven” for at risk kids during the weekend.
In 2016 Okpalobi was a recipient of the BMe Community Award.
This is a $10,000 grant given to black men leaders in South Florida who are trying to better the community.
Okpalobi used his grant to expand the STEM and arts program at Dibia Dream.
“We want to give the kids as many options as possible,” Okpalobi said. “When kids have more exposure to these things they tend to look at different career opportunities.”
According to Okpalobi, Dibia means “master of knowledge/wisdom” in Igbo.
According to the Dibia website:
“The term refers to traditional healers, experts and doctors. The process of becoming a DIBIA involves years of training and many levels of initiation. DIBIA means TRAIN TO BE GREAT.”
In July 2017, Dibba Dream partnered with the Nyah Project to bring 10 students to South Africa.
The group worked with three schools on various projects and made an impact in the area according to Okpalobi.
Okpalobi has done a lot to serve the children and he plans to do even more in 2018.
Coming up in January, Diba Athletic Program is organizing the sports clinic for Zo’s Winter Groove, the event hosted by former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning.
He also plans to open two more facilities for Dibia Dream in North Miami and Liberty City.
Okpalobi’s latest act of giving was a toy drive he organized with Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School on December 20th.
The goal was to give toys to the less fortunate and homeless children at the school, but there was a problem.
How do you give toys to poor kids without embarrassing them in front of their classmates?
To keep the privacy of the children who were less fortunate, Okpalobi worked with 14 year old Ransom Everglades High School student Jack Fitzpatrick to provide a lunch from Jimmy Johns and a toy.
Fitzpatrick and his family raised $10,000 on GoFundMe for the kids at Eneida M. Hartner.
Last year, he raised $5,000 for the same cause.
Okpalobi is highly regarded at the school.
“It’s a blessing to have someone within the community to reach out and wants to be apart of the school,” Dr. Derick R. McKoy, the Principal of Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School told RISE NEWS. “He wants the best for children and he helps Eneida Hartner bring the world to the children.”
McKoy drove the point home further.
“You know the African Proverb, ‘it takes a village’?,” McKoy asked during an interview. “Well, I’m happy Brandon is in my village.”
RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!
Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to [email protected]
WATCH ANOTHER STORY: North Miami’s Enchanted Place Is South Florida’s Best Kept Holiday SecretPost Views: 1,623
What Do You Think?
Dashed Dreams: How My “Audition” For A Reality Show Opened Up My Eyes To The Fleeting Fame Of The Genre
We are all inherently narcissistic whether we choose to admit it or not.
The appeal of being famous has crossed our minds, especially mine.
I can remember the first time I saw MTV’s The Real World when I was about 8 years old. At that age, I thought it was a cool idea to be on television and live in Hawaii.
And as I got older, my understanding of the concept of the show, as well as the growing scope of reality television made me think I would be great for reality television.
The realm of reality television is so vast from reality competition programs (i.e. The Bachelor, Survivor) to reality social experiments (i.e. Big Brother, The Real World) to reality docu-dramas (Sister Wives, The Real Housewives) and a mix between reality and scripted (i.e. The Hills, Duck Dynasty).
Lastly, there’s the celebrity driven reality show documenting any given celebrity train wreck (i.e. Lindsay Lohan). You name it, I’ve watched it, binged it, digested them all. I’ve also learned from my countless hours of viewing what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to being on reality television.
When I finally turned 18 years old, the floodgates of reality television applications opened. The possibilities were endless. As I said in the beginning of the story, I was fascinated by The Real World.
I told everyone and anyone that I was going to be on the show. I even won “Most Dramatic” during my senior superlatives.
I had the bumper sticker hanging on my wall at home that said “what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real?” (A phrase from the opening sequence of the show.)
The stars should have aligned right?
I should also note that I take the Jeopardy online test at least once a year, in hopes of winning some big money. Unfortunately I have never gotten past the initial test. I’ll enjoy sitting at home shouting out both incorrect and correct answers from the comfort of my couch, much to the amusement of my girlfriend.
Every season I would fill out my application and hear nothing. I googled casting tips (prior to the ease of access of Twitter and Reddit), then moved my stalking to Twitter for any tidbits from former castmastes, production company employees, even going as far as engaging in borderline harassment to get their attention.
I was a man possessed by a dream.
I was a man possessed by a dream.
I took it another step further and drove two hours to casting calls in hopes of being discovered. That didn’t work out as I had hoped.
I was not going to give up though.
As we entered the Spring of 2014, a new opportunity to apply for the next season arose and a a chance of turning nothing into something was mine.
For three days, I sat and contemplated what I wanted my application to say.
This was my first impression, and I wanted to make it count. With the rise of Vine and Instagram and these “instant-fame” outlets, it was becoming harder and harder to stand out and be unique.
I also knew that as a loyal viewer of the show that I needed to have a voice. One that was definitely out front and center. After a lot of internalization and mini panic attacks, I finally clicked submit and awaited my fate.
Two weeks later I received the most incredible e-mail I thought I could ever receive.
This is the true story of how I applied to be on the Real World, they invited me to a casting and their process was a joke. #onlyme #bucketlist #realworld
A photo posted by Howard Rudnick (@rudnickrants) on
Having received what I assumed was my own version of the “Golden Ticket,” I drove two hours to the casting to what turned out to be the most shoddy and poorly run event I had ever been to.
The “VIP” wasn’t VIP at all. I had to wait around just like everyone else did who walked in off the street. I wasn’t given any preferential treatment. I was treated like a regular person. It was extremely disappointing.
Yes, I was guaranteed to go into the casting room, but it was in a large group setting with 10 other people and they ask you ONE question. In what world does that mean VIP?
Sitting there in that group interview listening to people talk about their strained relationships, drug and alcohol addictions, lavish lifestyles (and how they got them) made me realize I’M TOO NORMAL for reality television.
Reality television is an abyss that sucks it’s cast members and spits them out at a rapid pace. Look at any of The Real Housewives.
Over the course of numerous locales and countless replaceable women, their relationships with their loved ones soured and ended, they file for bankruptcy, get bad plastic surgery, and the list goes on and on.
The most infamous reality television contestant, Richard Hatch, was sentenced to federal prison on tax evasion.
These of course are the most dramatic and most noteworthy of what life is like after reality television. Look at the girls on America’s Next Top Model for instance; did any of them truly become household names? The Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants vie for the opportunity to be the next man or woman looking for love and maybe a summer in a nice house to win some money by being awful human beings.
The cast of Big Brother and Survivor, two staples of the 2000s, have seen their fair share of racists, bigots and homophobes.
If you were to search for any of the cast members from any MTV or ABC reality show on social media, their accounts are filled with them posing for cheesy selfies hocking whatever product they’re getting paid to advertise, or their promoting bar and club appearances.
Many go back to their real lives, the ones they left prior to their television debuts, hoping their time on television doesn’t come back to haunt them.
The most glaring issue with reality television is that it gives people a false sense of security.
For the viewers, it’s an escape from their daily lives by watching other people ruin their own, while those on the programs we watch are hoping to change their lives financially by participating on these shows. They don’t often consider the long-term effects of their appearance.
For better or for worse, reality television will continue to be around, but the men and women who grace our screens will be scratching to extend their 15 minutes of fame. A fame I no longer find desirable, especially if I need to make a mockery of myself to attain it.
The actress Meagan Good said it best: “make sure your desire to do what you’re aspiring to do is deeper than just fame and being a celebrity.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Justin March/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 1,417
What Do You Think?
Why the Olympics Has The Worst Ratings in Years
By Melissa Davidson
Unless Bob Costas gets pink eye again, is there anything that can save NBC’s ratings and coverage of the Olympic games in Rio thus far?
Opening ceremony TV views were less than steller – down 35% among all viewers from London’s opener four years ago.
The following night fared only slightly better, down about 28% from London but still at a 20-year low, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ratings are starting to see an upswing as American men and women sweep swimming medals and magical gymnast Simone Biles continues to shine. Total viewing data, including digital formats, will be available later this week, NBC promises.
Time will tell, but the way millennials are viewing sports, including the Olympics, is changing with the times.
Let’s look at the trends to see why.
1) Social media and livestream
What catches the eye throughout the day on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, may determine if you tune into watch the Olympics on TV. Seeing something on social media influences one’s decision to tune in.
Now, after reading about #PhelpsFace on Facebook, I really want to see him win the 200-meter butterfly because it would prove his shade is justified.
NBC’s livestream multicast has taken some of the audience away, but TV is still king with 60% of consumers saying they will watch the games on TV.
However, several millennial friends of mine say watching coverage on TV is plain “annoying” with all the commercials and weird commentary from old men who just don’t get it.
It’s great that NBC is optimizing with mobile devices, even if the set-up isn’t flawless.
You can watch video with the NBC app without having to listen to Olympic commentators, whose words really rub some people the wrong way.
2) Traditional cable and video
To back up the claim that millennials are seeking out videos instead of traditional television and cable, a study found that young people are into YouTube celebrities just as much as traditional TV celebrities.
As for sports, the study found that millennials are more accustomed to seeking influencers on YouTube and Facebook than from ESPN.
ESPN – either the cable channel or the app – is still the place to go for 25- to-34-year-olds: 58% list ESPN as their resource for sports-related video content, followed by Facebook at 52%.
Among younger people, 13- to 24-year olds, YouTube gets 64%, Facebook with 53% and ESPN just 42%.
Interestingly, 4% of this younger group discover sports videos by looking to experts like sports pundits and analysts.
3) NBC strategy
Creating strong, positive, emotional reactions to a product fosters the desire to remain loyal to a brand over a long period of time.
But if the brand isn’t delivering, my word-of-mouth promotion isn’t going to be great, and I’m not likely to return in the future.
That’s marketing 101 and the reason why location and relationship are marketing buzzwords in 2016.
Some people are loyal to the “packaged” programming that NBC says the majority of the viewing public prefers over the actual, live competition.
I read a story recently in the Humanist, written by a millennial, who says she loves the inspirational stories that are rolled into a couple of weeks of programming.
I’ve also spoken with friends who say they don’t care for the “soft-focused story aspect of competitions” and simply want to see the games.
These opinions align with a piece written by columnist Sally Jenkins in the Washington Post that says NBC’s packaging of the Olympics is an insult to viewers and the athletes themselves.
“Even if you buy NBC’s argument that the majority of the public prefers edited, packaged programming over the vagaries of live sports competition, then ask yourself this question: Why aren’t NFL football telecasts tape delayed and packaged? Why don’t the networks delay and collapse the games in favor of sugary features showing childhood films of the Manning brothers on a swing set instead of wasting viewer’s time with a penalty-filled second quarter?”
“The fact is, no network would do that. Why? Because the networks assign a dignity and an import to a live NFL game that they don’t to women’s gymnastics.”
4) Women ‘do’ sports
Most of the money and attention spent on sports and athletes is directed at men, both at the professional and amateur levels.
Of the 150 million NFL fans, 45% are women and over one-third of viewers are women. Women on Team USA make up 53%.
A lot of American women are going to bring home medals. In fact, the women’s gymnastics squad just won the team All-Around Gold Medal for the second consecutive Olympics.
And because so many women watch sports on TV, NBC broadcasters need to stop with comments like “the man responsible” for Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s world record in the 400-meter individual medley is her husband/coach.
The current strategy of NBC Olympic coverage isn’t winning over the public.
What if the execs listened to what the customer wants to see and how they want to see it?
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Jorge Andrade/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 985
What Do You Think?