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Dan Marino's Son Following Dad's Lead In Autism Charity Work

MIAMI (CBS4) - Michael Marino beams with pride and gratitude  to a very famous dad, Dad Marino.

"He is just a very kind person, a very good father and he cares a lot about his kids," said Marino, 24.

But these days, Michael Marino is stepping into the spotlight for the first time as the public face of his Dad's foundation, a lifeline for children with autism. A path he is all to familiar with: Michael was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old.

As a child, finding the words to match his thoughts was tough.

"Because of (his) support and that push, I am able to be who I am today and be able to speak well, which I had a real problem with when I was younger," recalled Marino. "I found myself when I was younger pointing at a lot of things"

In a rare interview,  he sat down with CBS4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen just before accepting a 50,000 grant for the foundation  from the Able Trust Career Launch Employment Program. The grant will kickstart a vision and a school triggered by his challenges.

The 3 story building that houses the Dan Marino Foundation is now the epicenter of a dream born in the heart of Dan Marino and his wife Claire to help children with austim like Micheal. In the heart of Fort Lauderdale, it will become a first of its kind college in Florida.

The Foundation's school curriculum will include everything from culinary arts  to the media.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler says Micheal's work as an ambassador for it the foundation and the school is already opening eyes and doors.

Michael Marino has two shared passions, the foundation and his music. He is the  popular DJ 1 Tre---as in number 13. But his song this day was of hope for the opportunties  he's been given and those he will work to create for others.

"I am excited about really trying to be what my dad is now for the Foundation in the future. I guess he has very big shoes to fill. But at the same time, my feet can fit into them. So I can do the best I can," said Marino.

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