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Florida Children's Initiative

FCI Receives State Funding

After a year of advocating on behalf of Florida's at risk neighborhoods state lawmakers voted to appropriate funding for the Florida Children's Initiatives (FCI).  These funds will be used to enhance and expand programming aimed at developing a continuum of care in Jacksonville's New Town Success Zone, Miami-Dade's Miami Children's Initiative and Orlando's Parramore Kidz Zone. 


The work of the FCI sites is largely based upon the strategies associated with the nationally recognized Harlem Children Zone in New York and the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative. 


"This is a significant accomplishment not only for our work, but for the residents we each serve.  It says in a rather significant way that the State of Florida recognizes the work each city is doing and are sending financial support to further the work," said Dr. Irvin PeDro Cohen, Executive Director of the New Town Success Zone.


In 2008, Florida Children's Initiative (FCI, Florida Statute 409.147) was enacted into State law championed by Senator Marco Rubio who was then Speaker of the Florida House.  FCI invests in Florida neighborhoods where high crime and failing schools are impeding our children's ability to be successful.


Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville are using common sense proven strategies and collaborations to move the needle from "cradle to career" for the youth in their community.

Miami Children's Initiative

The Coca-Cola Foundation Awards $50,000 Grant to Miami Children's Initiative to Launch Health and Nutrition Programs in Liberty City

Miami Children's Initiative Logo The Miami Children's Initiative is expanding and creating five key health and nutrition programs with the support of a $50,000 grant by The Coca-Cola Foundation.


"Health, nutrition and wellness are some of the key foundations to leading a successful life.  All children and their families need and deserve access to training, instruction and positive role models.  Access to fresh healthy food can be an enormous hurdle in Liberty City.  Transportation is a big issue.  MCI, Jessie Trice Community Health Center and Liberty City residents are tackling these together." said Annie Neasman, President & CEO, Jessie Trice Community Health Center and Inaugural Chair of the MCI Board of Directors.


MCI and The Village of Biscayne have established a Fresh Food Co-Op, distributing fresh fruits and vegetables on a monthly basis.  Co-op members pay $2 for $45-$50 worth of food.  MCI aims to double the number of families served from 48 families to 100 families and increase the healthy food provision to twice a month.


Cycling is so healthy!  Liberty City youth asked for a bike-sharing program.  Funding will take this from concept phase to community action.  Like the UFIT gym, this is a youth-led initiative.  Watch for more news as this project takes off later this year.


The new culinary certification program begins in September 2014 with Key Biscayne's Chef René Eguiluz.  Students will complete a six (6) week kitchen certification course including the state certified Foodhandler Certificate Program. Education on many aspects of kitchen expertise are included plus help with job-hunting, resume writing and introductions to local hotelsand institutions.  This course will be offered on a recurring basis to those wishing to work in the industry and to those already working at early learning centers and schools. 


"The health and well-being of the South Florida community has been part of the fabric of Coca-Cola for more than 100 years," said Melanie Jones, Vice President of Sales Operations, South Florida Market Unit, Coca-Cola Refreshment. "The Coca-Cola Foundation supports organizations that positively invest in the sustainability of their communities. The work the Miami Children's Initiatives and its partner organizations are making a difference in the lives of the resident of Liberty City."


Come see new vegetable gardens where families have their first experience planting, caring and harvesting their crops.  Education programs teaching nutrition, gardening and civic pride will be added in partnership with Health in the Hood and Jessie Trice Community Health Center.  Watch the excitement as both children and adults discover a pepper ready to take home.  The giggle as a grandmother takes home a couple of tomatoes which she and her neighbors grew.   This happens now.


Significantly more families will be served by new neighborhood gardens through the MCI Impact Zone (NW 59th Street to NW 63rd Street between NW 15th Avenue and NW 22nd Avenue).


Who inspired you as a child?  People who guided us, mentored us, taught us responsibility.  People who listened.  People taking a special interest in our needs and helping us along the way.  "Up2Us" coaches offer this and so much more to our children.  We are very pleased to announce that MCI is doubling the number of "Up2Us" coaches from two to four with this grant.


These are five exciting program expansions made possible by the generous support of The Coca-Cola Foundation.


More information is available at www.miamichildrensinitiative.com  or by contacting Cecilia Gutierrez-Abety at (305) 636-2227 or at cgabety@miamichildrensinitiative.org 

Parramore Kidz Zone

PKZ Partner, Page 15 Receives Award! 

Parramore Kidz Zone LogoAt the annual Walt Disney World Community Grants award presentation. Page 15 received an incredibly generous grant for the creative literacy and educational programming they provide year round. 


Page 15 also received the Bob Allen Outstanding Community Service Award and $40,000 which was presented by the president of Walt Disney Resort, George Kalogridis. This award is given each year to recognize one local service, environmental or humanitarian organization for outstanding work in Central Florida.


Page 15 partners with PKZ at the Downtown Recreation Center and offers daily free after school tutoring to PKZ kids. Page 15 also offers special summer programs that include the Slam Poetry Camp, and Young Writers Camp.

Page 15 Receives Award from Disney  

PKZ Gets Published!

America's Promise Alliance, Center for Promise and Tufts University recently released a case study on Parramore Kidz Zone entitled Leveraging Local Strengths, conducted by Dr. Jon Zaff.


PKZ would like to thank the contributions of PKZ partner organizations mentioned throughout the report including the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Early Learning Coalition of Orange County, Nap Ford Community School, University of Central Florida, New Image Youth Center, Orange County Head Start, Steinway Society of Central Florida, Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Page 15, Orange County Public Schools, Simeon Resource and Development Center for Men and the great City of Orlando staff who work every day to uplift children in the neighborhood.


Click here to read the entire case study.

New Town Success Zone
Hope Is Growing Collage
NTSZ is Featured in Habitat World Magazine
It is the cooperative spirit in which NTSZ have been able to do this work that makes them different from a lot of the work being done in other places.  Thank you to ALL the partners who have invested resources in the work to truly develop a "continuum of care," that stretches from the cradle to college, the military or some other form of post-secondary training. Click here to read Hope is Growing.

New Town Success Zone Logo
Click here to read the latest news from NTSZ