Replication Workshop a Success!
On May 26-27, the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida hosted a replication workshop lead by experts from Orlando Paramore Kidz Zone (PKZ) and Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ). The workshop was attended by over 100 community stakeholders from across the state involved in the planning and implementation of a Florida's Children's Initiative to improve education and life outcomes for children. Day one included presentations from staff of the nationally recognized Harlem Children's Zone. Presenters included George Khaldun, HCZ Chief Administrative Officer, Rasuli Lewis, Director, HCZ Practitioner's Institute, Marilyn Joseph, Director, HCZ Baby College and Jasmine Lewis, Director, HCZ Peacemakers.
Day two included presentations from Lisa Early, City of Orlando, Director of Families, Parks and Recreation and staff of the Paramore Kidz Zone. Workshop attendees were also treated to a bus tour of the Paramore Neighborhood highlighting the community programming offered by PKZ. Paramore Kidz Zone is in its fourth year and received Florida's first Children's Initiative designation. The city of Orlando has had phenomenal success and are looking to expand.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, "We are thrilled with the positive changes Paramore Kidz Zone has brought to Orlando, and likewise honored that Harlem Children's Zone is partnering with us and hosting this event. This is a landmark opportunity for cities to join together to replicate this proven model for the benefit of children throughout the state of Florida."
"The Florida Children's Initiative Replication Workshop was a unique opportunity to learn from the staff of the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) as we progress in our efforts to implement the Miami Children's Initiative. It also provided a forum for networking with others around the state and hear about the successes and challenges they face in implementing their respective children's initiatives. One only hopes that the passion and commitment that is so evident in the leaders of HCZ will be replicated throughout our country for the benefit of our children, their children and all future generations," said Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson. Commissioner Edmondson has been at the forefront of the Miami Children's Initiative since 2006. Five members of the Miami Strategic Planning Committee also attended.
"Since many of us were unable to go to Harlem to participate in the Harlem Children's Zone Institute, we were very fortunate that the Ounce brought the Institute to us. We not only learned a lot from the presenters, but their powerful example gave us even more momentum to continue our work to replicate the Zone in our communities", said Ester Tibbs, Circiut Administrator, Florida Department of Children and Families.
The workshop ended at the Well's Built Museum of African American History located in the Paramore neighborhood. The group was greeted of Representative Geraldine Thompson who graciously shared some of the rich history of Orlando and the Paramore community. Representative Thompson stated, "The Harlem Children's Zone has developed an outstanding model to engage children, parents and community members in the development of strong, productive individuals. The workshop coordinated by the Ounce of Prevention and the City of Orlando provided details on the Harlem Children's Zone activities that can be replicated throughout Florida and other parts of the Country. Through this type of cooperation and exposure, we can build a strong America, one community at a time".
West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell and Representative Geraldine Thompson
Ten Florida communities were represented as well as four representatives from Stoneville, Mississippi. The opportunity for these communities to meet, share and receive information from the HCZ staff and PKZ staff was unprecedented in Florida. In 2008, Florida became the first state to enact legislation to replicate the HCZ model statewide.
"The Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida is humbled to be a partner and provide coordination of a community of learning for Florida communities that are planning a continuum of solutions to address the significant needs of children from the cradle through college graduation," stated Winifred P. Heggins, Vice President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund.
Special thanks to the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation led by David Odahowski, President and CEO, for their generous financial support of this event and the Orlando community.