Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, District 6 City Commissioner Samuel B. Ings and Heart of Florida United Way CEO Jeff Hayward joined neighborhood youth and Holden Heights residents to cut the ribbon on Parramore Kidz Zone at Kaley Square.
The effective strategies developed, tested and currently in use in the Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ) program in Parramore will be expanded for residents of the Holden Heights neighborhood.
“We’re proud of our accomplishments in Parramore and excited for the opportunity to take proven programs to more children who need them” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “While the success of PKZ is impressive, the expansion will increase its impact as we connect more children with education and opportunity.”
The expansion of PKZ into a second neighborhood is being funded by a generous grant from Heart of Florida United Way.
“We are proud to play a role in helping PKZ expand its reach to help kids succeed, both in life and academically,” said Jeff Hayward, President & CEO, Heart of Florida United Way. “As one of our partner agencies, we are together in the fight to ensure every student in Central Florida has a chance to excel.”
Holden Heights was selected as the next neighborhood to participate in the PKZ program based on current needs, which include:
• A 48% poverty rate
• An unemployment rate of 22.9% (compared to 4.5% for Orlando)
• An estimated half of children do not attend out-of-school programs such as before or after-school programs
• At least 75% of children don’t get help with homework
“The services provided by PKZ are needed in Holden Heights,” said District 6 City Commissioner Samuel B. Ings. “We welcome PKZ’s track record of success as we bring this same type of cradle to career support to District 6.”
In 2006, Mayor Buddy Dyer launched PKZ with the goal of leveling the playing field for Parramore’s children, equipping them to become successful, healthy, well-educated adults.
Since PKZ was created in 2006:
• More than 5,000 children have been served
• Juvenile arrests in Parramore are down 66%
• Teen births in Parramore are down 73%
• Children attending early learning programs are up 270%
For the past three years, every high school senior involved with PKZ has graduated from high school on time and enrolled in college or trade school, or enlisted in the military. The continued success of PKZ earned it the Powell Legacy Award from America’s Promise Alliance for its work transforming a community and the lives of the young people and families that live there.