The AIM to Help Palmetto Athletes

Paulina Handal, Staff Writer

In any high school sport, there is more to the sport than the game itself, and at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, it is no different. Palmetto’s athletics department prioritizes athletes’ well-being. 

Often overlooked, Palmetto stresses the idea of all-encompassing student success—beyond the parameters of the field. With the pressure of being an athlete, there are many factors of the school environment that get forgotten or disregarded, which brings stress upon student-athletes. There is a great amount of mental strength going into their time on the field, and when they are off the field, they feel stressed and overwhelmed. Hence why “AIM Miami” has been introduced to Palmetto.

AIM Miami is a program that focuses on helping student-athletes take on a more comprehensive approach to student success. They help students make healthy lifestyle choices, manage daily stressors and cultivate practical skills for their personal, academic and professional goals. The main objective at AIM is to help and organize student-athletes, allowing them to succeed in all aspects of their lives.

Palmetto has been working with AIM since 2018, starting with the football team. They focused on the central components of yoga, character development and professional and vocational sessions. 

“They do the character and leadership segments, which is just really great for the kids and their futures, and then there is the yoga aspect which is awesome too — you know, cause it helps them with their core stability and flexibility and all those small fine motor skills,” MPSH Varsity football coach Michael Manasco said.

The coaches believe that the team benefits from AIM and that it helps them advance in the future outside of high school athletics— so do the athletes.

“I do not like the AIM program, I love it,” MPSH senior Justin Wood said. “I love looking forward to every week knowing that I am going to learn new people skills that will help me outside of football.” 

AIM has done most of its work at Palmetto with the football team, but they plan to work with more athletic teams. Recently, they started working with the girl’s basketball team, in hopes of leaving an impact on more athletic teams.

“I think that it really brings back my energy and it affects me in a positive way because it refreshes everyone and brings everyone back into the game. It just really helps with my focus, and the team’s focus and just helps us play better all together,” MPSH sophomore Alessandra Falcon said.

The students feel motivated to participate in AIM. The lessons and values they are taught are not only used inside those classes but outside the classroom, on the field, as well.

“The lessons that we learn in AIM are really important, you know, cause they teach us that in life, things aren’t always going to go your way, and it’s the same on the football field, you know, so when adversity hits we can come together as a team.” Wood said. 

The program itself has changed how the players see the game, and how they see their lives as a whole. When AIM first came to Palmetto, athletes were unsure how they felt about this new and upcoming program, but in the 5 years, the program has been a success. 

“They feed us, they come there on time, they do everything we ask and our kids all benefit from it, so what more could I ask for,” Manasco said.

Their efforts with Palmetto athletes have been positive, and the program itself gives the students a break from the sport and all the stress surrounding it, helping them play well on the court.

“I look forward to them coming every week because I consider it my time to relax and not be caught up in the game and all the stress that revolves around it,” Falcon said. 

As the AIM program grows at Palmetto, the athletes continue to grow on and off the field as well.