This Miami Dolphin has been giving back to his community for years and years

In this season of giving, many people open their hearts and pocketbooks to give to those who are less fortunate.

Some people, however, make giving a part of their everyday life.

One such person is former Miami Dolphin and football Hall of Famer Larry Little, who quietly gives back to the community he loves.

Little is a hometown boy. He grew up in Overtown with his parents, George and Ida, and his six siblings. He played football for his beloved Booker T. Washington Junior/Senior High School and went to Bethune-Cookman University.

After graduation, he signed with the San Diego Chargers, where he played for two years before being traded to the Miami Dolphins. Little played offensive guard with the Dolphins until he retired in 1980.

With all the fame that the game brought him, the football great never forgot his roots.

Early on in his football career, he established the Larry Little Summer Boys Camp, which was a blessing to many youngsters in Overtown and throughout the Greater Miami community. He is still in touch with some of those original campers.

One of them is Willie Carpenter, who was a junior counselor at Little’s Boys’ camp.

“He came to the camp when he was 12, a little too old to be a camper. So we made him a junior counselor,” Little said. “Today, Willie is one of my greatest supporters and serves as the vice president of Center State Bank of Homestead, as well as being a member of the board of directors of the Larry Little Foundation.”

It is because of youngsters like Willie Carpenter that Little keeps on giving and giving.

One of his projects is the Larry Little Golf Tournament, and on Nov. 30 he hosted the 12th annual tournament, sponsored by Five Brothers Produce, Hialeah Casino and Racetrack and Morgan Stanley Financial. The first golf tournament was to benefit the Virginia Key Beach Restoration Project, after the late M. Athalie Range asked him to help raise funds for the historic black beach.

“The tournament benefited the project for four years,” Little said.

Later, someone asked him to do a tournament to benefit the Swim for Jenny program, which is run through the YMCA of South Florida. The tournament raised funds for that project for three years, partnering with Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation, Little said.

“Then I started thinking about the number of kids who can’t afford to go to college, and even if they get in college, they still need financial help to get them through. I went to the board of directors of the Larry Little Foundation and asked them to donate money to deserving students to help with their college tuition. We’ve done this for the last five years.”

Giving back is nothing new to Little.

“I’ve always been a community-oriented person,” he said. “I always wanted to help and make a difference in somebody’s life.”

Over the past five years, Little said the golf tournament has raised close to $200,000, which is used to fund other causes, such as the annual college tours and Little League football and track teams at community parks.

“We try to spread the money around as much as we can,” Little said. “We are already making plans for the next golf tournament scheduled to be held the first week in December.”

Little and his wife, Rosie, live in Southwest Miami-Dade.

Free performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’

A free concert featuring the Community Choir and Orchestra and the Junkanoo Band will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Church of the Incarnation, 1835 NW 54th St. in Liberty City.

The concert, sponsored by the Lemon City Community Corporation, is called “Bridging Classics of the Past with Classics of the Future.”

The Community Choir and Orchestra, directed by Dr. Nelson Hall, will perform the Christmas portion of Handel’s “Messiah.” The Miami Junkanoo Band, directed by Reginald Laing, will bring an international flavor to the concert, said Dr. Enid Pinkney of the Lemon City Community Corp.

The concert is open to the public. A reception will follow in the J. Kenneth Major Hall of the church.

‘A Place to Call Home’

”Join us as a host of travelers from the ancient world gather in the countryside outside Bethlehem for an evening of food, fellowship, song and worship for an evening of the Wonder of Christmas.”

The invitation comes from Christ The King Lutheran Church at 11295 SW 57th Ave., and the event, called “A Place to Call Home,” will be presented at 6 p.m. Dec. 23 at the church.

Feel free to come in costume, or as you are for this interactive event.

It’s free, but donations will be accepted and will go to the Paragon Partnership, which provides housing and mentors for youth aging out of foster care. Call David List at 305-496-0107 for information.

Carols at Trinity

The Festival of Lessons and Carols sung by the Anglican Chorale and Florida’s Singing Sons Boys Choir will be at 5 p.m. Dec. 23 at Trinity Cathedral, 464 NE 16th St.

The service will begin with “Once in Royal David’s City,” sung by a solo boy chorister, with organ music starting at 4:30 p.m.

Also at the Cathedral, at 5 p.m. Dec. 24 a Christmas Eve Service and Christmas Pageant will be held. The Christmas Eve Midnight Mass will be at 11 p.m., preceded by carols at 10:30 p.m.

On Christmas Day, the Eucharist will be presented in English at 10 a.m. and in Spanish at 11:45 a.m. All are welcome.

Christmas Eve services feature petting zoo

The community is invited to the Christmas Eve services at Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, 3010 De Soto Blvd.

The first service will be at 3 p.m. and will be a German-language service of Lessons and Carols, followed by a reception.

At 5:30 p.m., there will be a family service where children can move, jump and be joyful in this “wiggle-welcome” service. The children’s choirs will present a traditional telling of the Christmas story, “Merry Christmas: An Experience in Joy, Peace, Light, and Love in Jesus!” The service will conclude as every child and adult light glow sticks and youth bells ring through the evening darkness.

After the service, the church’s courtyard will open into a live Nativity with a petting zoo. At 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., the traditional candlelight services will be held. Choirs of voices and bells, organ and brass, and words of the season will be included in these services.

Following the 10:30 service, a trumpet fanfare will herald in the midnight hour from the church grounds. All services will include a warm welcome and Christmas cookies.

Christmas pageant at Liberty City church

Bishop Walter H. Richardson and the Bible classes at The Church of God Tabernacle (True Holiness) will present their annual Christmas Pageant at 10 a.m. Dec. 23 at the church, 1351 NW Sixth St. in Liberty City.

The pageant will tell the story of Jesus’ birth through dramatic readings and music. The service is free and open to the public.

Hebrew school opening

The 75-year-old Temple Emanu-El , the oldest Conservative congregation in Miami Beach, has announced the opening of Young Emanu-EL, a Hebrew school for children.

The school setting is not the traditional desk-filled classroom, according to Caryn Tanis Boren, chairwoman of advertising and marketing for the synagogue. Rather, the children will be engaged in arts and crafts, Jewish songs, and Jewish storytelling in an open classroom setting.

The school is now enrolling students, ages 6-12. For information, call Boren at 305-975-8949 or call the synagogue at 305-538-2503.

‘One Night in Miami’ exhibit at Hampton House

An exhibit featuring the original set and costumes from the play, “One Night in Miami,” is on display at the Historic Hampton House, 4240 NW Second Ave. in Brownsville.

The exhibit will be open through Jan. 31, 2019. The play, written by Kemp Powers, is a fictional account of the night a young Cassius Clay emerged from the Miami Beach Convention Center as the World Heavyweight Champion.

The play pinpoints the life of four black men, boxing great Cassius Clay (who is about to become Muhammad Ali), soul singer Sam Cooke, Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X and Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown. The play takes place after Clay beat Sonny Liston on Feb. 25, 1964, becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. The four celebrated in the Hampton House.

Admission is free. Call 305-635-5130 for more information.

Booker T. Washington Christmas luncheon

There is still time to make your reservations for Booker T. Washington High School’s Class of 1960’s Christmas Luncheon at noon Dec. 20 at the Miami Shores Country Club, 10000 Biscayne Blvd.

The luncheon will feature entertainment by “Old School Gang.” Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased by calling Jimmie Knowles at 786-356-2282, Ramona Exum at 305-625-2961, or Cornelia Sands at 305-621-6412.