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New Town Success Zone


In the News

The Florida Times Union recently featured an editorial highlighting the positive impact New Town Success Zone is having in Jacksonville's New Town area.


In a city with serious poverty issues and declining funds to deal with them, what can you do? Wring your hands in despair? No, the positive reaction in Jacksonville was to collaborate, marshal the resources we already have and select one neighborhood to make a big difference. That's the secret behind the New Town Success Zone, which just issued its five-year report. This editorial page has followed the birth and the construction of the Success Zone with interest.The concept, feeding support to a concentrated neighborhood to make long-term impact, was borrowed from the Harlem Children's Zone. And it has produced results. It uses current resources of existing government and nonprofit groups. There aren't the same wealthy funders as in New York. Therefore, this is an organization built on a Jacksonville model: lean and not so mean. There is just one full-time staff member, director Irvin PeDro Cohen.


Follow the link to read the entire article.



Success Park Opening

On August 23rd the New Town Success Zone, Edward Waters College and the City of Jacksonville will celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting of Success Park. Success Park will provide children in the New Town area a safe place to play. The park is equipped with the latest outdoor and fitness equipment to ensure neighborhood children have the opportunity to play and exercise. Success Park will also provide a picnic and pavilion area along with several new trees thanks to a generous donation from TD Bank.


The grand opening and ribbon cutting will feature the Edward Waters College Marching Band and Mayor Alvin Brown. "One of the fundamental aspects of a good neighborhood is a park. I am extremely excited the college and the City of Jacksonville helped make this a reality," said Irvin PeDro Cohen Director of the New Town Success Zone.


For more information contact Irvin PeDro Cohen at (904) 635-6143 or at Irvin.Cohen@ewc.edu 


Parramore Kidz Zone 


Magic's Back to School Bash

The Orlando Magic has been one of Parramore Kidz Zone's most loyal and generous supporters.  Among the many things the Magic has done for PKZ, one has been to renovate children's facilities throughout the neighborhood, creating safe, supportive places for kids and giving them the tools they need to do well in school and in life.
Child with BackpackContinuing their legacy of support, the Orlando Magic partnered with PKZ to celebrate the end of the summer and the beginning of the new school year.  The Magic's Back to School Bash was held on August 7th at the Orlando Downtown Recreation Center. The event featured 15 activities including a rock climbing wall, laser tag, and free haircuts provided by Hairvolution. More than 300 backpacks filled with school supplies were distributed to children in the neighborhood.


PKZ Success Story

PKZ's longtime partner, Simeon Resource and Development Center for Men, provides mentoring, life skills, drop-out prevention and GED programs for Parramore youth. Simeon's work with Central Florida youth was recently highlighted in a Channel 6 "Making a Difference" segment.


The young man featured in the segment, Robertson Bassy, is a PKZ success story. In 2008, his mother enrolled him in the mentoring program.  His GPA was 1.4. He was fighting and engaging in inappropriate activities. In November 2010, he attended a college tour that inspired a desire to pursue higher education. The very next semester and until he graduated this spring, he maintained a 3.8 - 4.0 average in all AP Classes. He has been accepted to the prestigious Morehouse College in Atlanta and will major in Journalism.


Here's a link to the Channel 6 story:



PKZ Reads! 

According to a recent report released by the Annie E. Casy Foundation, PKZ is closing the gap in reading proficiency between Parramore children and the Orange County Public School district. In 2006, 46% of Parramore fourth-graders were reading proficient compared to 65% district-wide. By 2010, 60% of Parramore students read at grade level compared to 71% district-wide. The report credits the increased number early learning programs available for children under the age of 5. In 2006, only 39% of children under age 5 in Parramore attended early learning programs. By 2011, that number had increased to 69%. To read the entire report, click here. 


To continue their success, the City of Orlando, Orange County Public Schools, Heart of Florida United Way and the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County are implementing the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading program. The Campaign focuses on the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation-grade-level reading by the end of third grade. It also centers on improving attendance, summer learning, and enrollment in early learning programs. The campaign begins in Parramore and then expands to the communities of Holden Heights and portions of Washington Shores. It is a collaborative effort to ensure that low-income children succeed in school and graduate prepared for college and career.


Click here to read the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading brochure.

Miami Children's Initiative 


Jaret L. Davis and Raquel Regalado will serve as Co-Chair of The Miami Children's Initiative's Over the Edge Miami signature event. MCI is honored and proud to offer an event that has never occurred in our community. Over the Edge Miami is a fun opportunity to push the limits, experience something you'll never forget and support a meaningful and most important cause. In partnership with Over the Edge USA and the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, The Miami

Children's Initiative is hosting a two-day rappelling event on August 17 and 18, 2012. Participants will rappel 200 meters from the beautiful JW Marriott Marquis Miami, overlooking the bay and the city's skyscrapers.


We're going "Over the Edge" because we believe in the potential of every child residing in Liberty City. We're going "Over the Edge" because we are part of an effort that invites all of us, including Liberty City youth, residents and families, to come together and create a prosperous Liberty City. We're going "Over the Edge" because we believe that caring, committed residents, youth and individuals can join forces to ensure all Liberty City's children enter kindergarten ready to learn, meet and exceed grade level expectations by third grade, excel and graduate from high school and enter and graduate from a post-secondary education prepared for a prominent career and meaningful civic engagement.


The Miami Children's Initiative is one of three large scale social change efforts in the state of Florida with the vision of transforming some of our most challenging and promising communities. All three Initiatives, located in Miami, Orlando Jaret L. Davis Raquel Regalado and Jacksonville, are modeled after the nationally renowned Harlem Children's Zone.

 MCI Logo

The Miami Children's Initiative works toward a prosperous Liberty City by transforming the lives of children (most especially in the early learning years where the return on investment

is highest) and working to help families obtain the resources they need to grow strong and achieving children. Its mission is to create a community-based network that develops, coordinates and provides quality education, accessible health care, youth development programs, and opportunities for employment - all ingredients for prosperous and safe neighborhood for children and families.


To learn more visit www.otemiami.com