Miami Mayor Diaz Expands Educational Summer Programs in City's Parks
August 4, 2003
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz continues to expand programming in the city of Miami's Department of Parks and Recreation through additional collaboration with Reader's Digest, the Miami-Dade School Board, NASA, and Miami-Dade College, each of whom recently made significant contributions of materials and resources to the city-. In a press conference July 14, Diaz accepted the donations of funds, supplies, and services from the organizations announcing that they will be used to expand educational programming in the city's parks this summer, enhancing offerings to the children of Miami during a time when most are out of school.
"I am very pleased to see that so many agencies recognize the need to educate our children during the summer," said Diaz. "I am confident that the increase in classes due to their contributions is just one of the ways the city's parks will be used to improve education for the kids in this community."
In May, Diaz launched Miami's "Heart Of Our Parks" initiative. The initiative created dance, band, and visual arts classes, as well as summer concerts in the city's parks. The reading, math and science classes created with the contributions of NASA, Reader's Digest, Miami-Dade College, and the School Board add to the "Heart Of Our Parks" offerings for this summer.
The Reader's Digest/Books Are Fun donation, valued at about $100,000, included 8,500 reference books, storybooks, and instructional books for parents provided to the Department of Parks and Recreation. The department has distributed 300 books to each park.
Miami-Dade County School Board
With a donation of $316,965 to the department, the Miami-Dade County School Board will facilitate the hiring of 40 reading teachers to provide reading instruction to children throughout the summer vacation. The teachers are to be placed at Miami's 26 largest parks to work at these facilities during the entire time children are attending the summer programs.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Science, Engineering, Math and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) is providing 25 teachers for science and math instruction for children at the city's parks. SEMAA is a program developed by NASA to recruit minority children into the aerospace industry. The teachers will lead groups of children in a number of age'specific, hands-on experiments including the creation of solar system models, building airplanes, creating maps; using GPS navigational equipment and building satellite models; as well as studying the effects of space travel on the human body.
The Florida Center for the Literary Arts (FCLA) at Miami-Dade College (MDC) is partnering with the city and department to improve the reading skills of kids participating in the city's summer programs. Interns from MDC's Wolfson campus will mentor and tutor the children by playing games and reading books and take the kids on field trips to the campus.
Outreach activities related to the chosen book from MDC's ongoing "One Book, One Community" and "One Picture Book, One Community" projects will also be conducted for children in after-school programs in the city's parks, libraries, and bookstores.