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Conference Aims To Help Empower Hundreds Of Local Students

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Hundreds of Miami-Dade role model students were greeted at Marlins Park by their mentors and law enforcement officials, welcoming them to a life changing event on Friday.

"This program stands as a mechanism to assist them in not going in the wrong direction," said the former director Miami-Dade Police Robert Parker.

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The program is the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project founded by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson back in 1993.

"I feel wonderful that thousands and thousands of young men through these 26 years have been saved from the criminal justice system who we have sent to college and have seen excel," said Wilson.

Over 700 students from 26 high schools participated in workshops designed to empower, motivate, educate and keep them on a solid path.

One of several motivational speakers was Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton.

"We just want to let them know we are very proud of them. They can do anything they set their mind to," said Fulton.

In light of the violence in Baltimore, mentor's can only hope this program steers them right.

"Through the involvement of this program, we would hope that kids would think twice about their involvement in any activity illegal such as the rioting and looting that occurred in Baltimore," said Parker.

For most students that took part in Friday's conference, their focus is on a bright future, one that is now possible thanks to the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.

"They help me stay focused, get good grades, do sports, go that extra mile, go to college get an education and be successful," said student Gabriel Cooper.

On June 8th, 84 scholarships will be given out and all 278 graduating seniors will be receiving a tailor made suit by Sean John for their accomplishments.



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