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Two New Florida Children's Initiatives Designated
The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida named the Overtown Children and Youth Coalition in Miami and the Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise in Tampa Florida Children's Initiatives. Both neighborhoods are areas where children and families face extreme levels of poverty,violence, low academic achievement and health disparities. Intensive rehabilitation and redevelopment are necessary to improve the health, education and positive life outcomes for children living there. 
President and CEO of Tampa YMCA Tom Looby, Vice President of the Ounce of Prevention Winnie Heggins, Chairman of Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise Sheff Crowder
President and CEO of Tampa YMCA Tom Looby, Vice President of the Ounce of Prevention Winnie Heggins, Chairman of Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise Sheff Crowder
"When individuals and groups commit to making a difference in the lives of families, children will prosper," said Douglas Sessions Jr., President and CEO of the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida. "We are pleased to designate these two neighborhoods as a Florida Children's Initiatives and look forward to celebrating their future successes."

The Overtown Children and Youth Coalition and Sulphur Springs Neighborhood of Promise is a group of professionals, institutions, government officials, residents and youth charged with implementing strategies to improve outcomes for all children. Both entities have invested public and private funding into positive programming for residents and children that have shown impactful gains regarding the social and economic challenges of their community.
Parramore Kidz Zone
PKZ Visits Kennedy Space Center
PKZ Students Visit Kennedy Space Center
 
Through President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative, the White House Office of Science and Technology invited Parramore Kid Zone youth to the Kennedy Space Center for a day of hands-on activities which also included tours and speakers. PKZ sent 34 youth ages 16-18 and six participating mentors from the Family Parks and Recreation My Brother's Keeper program to this unforgettable, life-changing experience. PKZ would like to thank the White House, Kennedy Space Center, NASA, the Orlando Magic, Jones High School and the dedicated PKZ staff for making this trip of a lifetime possible. 

PKZ Youth Attend College
Stevenson Bassy, Lisa Early, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer
Stevenson Bassy, Lisa Early, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

In keeping with First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative, 50 high school seniors signed on to attend college in the fall. Most are the first generation in their families to attend college.

Mayor Dyer, City Commissioners, Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins, City staff and family members cheered them on at an event in the Orlando City Hall Council Chambers

About half of the youth are from Parramore Kidz Zone; the other half come from the City's Recreation Division and After-School All-Stars programs.

Stevenson Bassy, a PKZ participant, will attend the University of Florida in the Fall. Stevenson has lived in Parramore since he was 2 years old. He is the second person in his family to go to college, following in the footsteps of his older brother Robertson, who was one of the first youth PKZ sent to college. Robertson is currently pursuing his Ph.D at Auburn University.

Mayor Dyer honored Stevenson with the Kevin Tyjeski City Planning Scholarship.  Funds for the scholarship were raised by city staff, to honor the city's Deputy Director of Economic Development, Kevin Tyjeski, who passed away suddenly in February 2013. 
Miami Children's Initiative
MCI Students on College Tour
MCI Selected By Citi Foundation's Community Progress Maker's Fund Grant Program To Accelerate Economic Opportunity In Liberty City 

Miami Children's Initiative was selected as a recipient of the Community Progress Makers Fund, a $20 million grant initiative to support 40 visionary nonprofit organizations nationwide in their efforts to establish new approaches to long-standing urban economic challenges including economic development, environment sustainability, urban infrastructure and affordable housing.
 
As part of the program, Miami Children's Initiative will receive a core operating support grant of $500,000 over the course of two years to continue its work in Liberty City of transforming lives by providing a unified system of support, education and care that begins before birth, through college and career.
 
This new injection of funds will help bolster existing initiatives while opening up the door to additional programs such as opening a new MCI Community Space in the Impact Zone and expanding much needed services to middle and high school students' as well young adults (18-24 years old). In addition to the grant, Miami Children's Initiative will also have access to technical assistance from leading national researchers and experts and will be provided opportunities to connect with other grantees to share and learn best practices.
 
President of MCI, Cecilia A. Gutierrez, commented, "It is such validation for our work! We at MCI are determined to fulfill the promise that the future of Liberty City's children will not be defined by their zip code. We believe that our children and families must have access to the best educational opportunities possible, and this Community Progress Makers Fund will make a world of difference in MCI's work in Liberty City. We are beyond thrilled!"
 
The Community Progress Makers Fund builds upon the Citi Foundation's commitment to identify and support innovative solutions and organizations that are helping build stronger, more resilient cities that are engines of economic opportunity for all.  The flexibility of core operating support will allow organizations and their visionary leaders to deploy solutions that address a range of issues.
 
More information is available at www.miamichildrensinitiative.org