I went to Miami during Super Bowl time, not to party, not to get wasted, not to kick it with fine Miami women, but rather to help Choice Hotels, Rebuild Together and The Steve Harvey Show rebuild the Coconut Grove community. Coconut Grove is a place where people dream big with out having a lot of money. Choice Hotels and Rebuild Together set forth an effort to rebuild a community in need. They renovated over 70 homes in the hood. Families like the Truesdell’s, who lost their entire life savings trying to renovate their house.
93 year Wesley Truesdell gave 82,000 dollars to a shady contractor to fix his home up to provide extra rooms for his 5 children and their kids. Well the contractor left the job undone and the city came to tell them to fix the house or they would tear it down.
That’s when Choice Hotels, and Rebuild Together stepped in to save the day. The family was extremely happy, they no longer had to sleep two in a bed, or sleep on the floor, or share a bathroom or be cramped in a room no bigger than a McDonalds bathroom. ‘I don’t have to sleep on the floor anymore. I don’t have to wait in line to use the bathroom. It changed my life completely,’ Truesdell said.
I watched Choice Hotels, CEO Steve Joyce paint, and lay sod for a family who never had manageable lawn. He was working so hard, the publicist had to actually stop him to get in a few photo ops. With his hands dirty, and his forehead dripping with sweat I asked him a few questions and came away with the feeling that this is a man who cares. “At Choice Hotels, we believe hospitality extends far past the front doors of our hotels and into the communities where we live and work – this understanding has made us better hoteliers, employees and people.’ Then after we were done talking, he went right back to work on the house.
Steve Harvey on the other hand, rolled through on a golf cart to meet the families for a brief minute. He stopped to talk to the Truesdell family and then agreeing to pay for the grand kids college education, if they got good grades and didn’t get pregnant. Which is a big reason for so many broken dreams in the hood. The two girls were so happy when I talked to them, 12 year old Alexis and 15 year old Martine told me of their dreams of medical school and how they loved their new green room. Despite being there for 3 days Steve Harvey wasn’t available for comment on this wonderful event.
So after dinner with the cast of the Steve Harvey Morning Show, Choice Hotel’s execs and the good folks of Rebuild Together and the block party event and live broadcast of the Steve Harvey Morning show I walked away feeling like lives were changed and great things happened and I am just happy to be apart of such a wonderful event. A lot more happened but I’ll let my camera do the talking from here.