PKZ offers all of these programs free of charge to Parramore children:
Infant, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Through partnerships with the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County, Community Coordinated Care for Children, Inc., Orange County Head Start, the University of Central Florida, and child care providers, Parramore Kidz Zone aims to “move the needle” on the percentage of Parramore children who are deemed to be “ready for kindergarten” by the time they start school. One of the services PKZ provides is child care subsidies so that Parramore’s infants, toddlers and preschoolers are able to attend pre-kindergarten programs free of charge at high quality early learning sites in and around their neighborhood. In addition, PKZ offers the PKZ Baby Institute for parents whose children are under 5 years old. Modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone Baby College, the Institute is a nine week intensive parenting program focusing on brain development, positive discipline and community pride, with the goal of helping parents build their children’s early literacy skills.
School-Aged Children: PKZ aims to improve the academic performance of Parramore’s school-aged children and therefore supports sites throughout the neighborhood where children receive free tutoring, access to computers, the internet, homework help, school supplies and daily meals, year round. These sites include Urban Think! Foundation Page 15, New Image Youth Center, John H. Jackson Neighborhood Center, the Dr. J.B. Callahan Neighborhood Center, and the Orlando Downtown Recreation Center. In addition, through PKZ’s Student Advocate Program, many children receive intensive wrap-around academic support year round, including one-on-one and small-group tutoring; real-time monitoring of grades; coordination with parents, school administrators and teachers on disciplinary, absences, and academic issues; development of Academic Success Plans for each youth; mentoring; and other support services as needed.
Teenagers: PKZ has relentlessly connected older youth to caring adult mentors and invested in opportunities for them to participate in positive activities throughout the neighborhood. Examples include field trips to historical, scientific, and cultural destinations; community service projects; and specialized training programs such as martial arts, mural painting, spoken word contests, and more. Several partners operate teen facilities in the neighborhood, where youth can be themselves with their friends, in supervised locations, where they have access to computers, televisions, video games, snacks, and activities such as “Open Gym” and movie nights.
College and Career: PKZ offers college access assistance including college tours, assistance with applications, scholarships, and help covering college costs such as transportation, dorm supplies, books, laptops, school fees and more. And PKZ’s youth employment program employs Parramore youth in jobs as office clerks, assistant athletic coaches, childcare workers, after school and summer camp counselors, and tutors of younger children. Youth employees are also able to open Individual Development Accounts, wherein every dollar they deposit from their paychecks is matched with two dollars from donors. The youth use the money saved to cover their post-secondary education expenses.
Health and Wellness: PKZ offers many health and wellness opportunities for Parramore children, including comprehensive athletic programs, healthy meals every day throughout the year (last year PKZ served 97,902 suppers to Parramore children!), healthy cooking classes, wilderness education and park experiences, and the opportunity to grow (and eat!) fresh fruits and vegetables at several community gardens in the neighborhood. For the hundreds of children who participate on PKZ sports teams – PKZ covers all expenses – including uniforms, laundering of uniforms, sports physicals, refreshments, and transportation to and from practices and games.
To join “Friends of PKZ” and receive occasional email updates or if you have any questions, please email us at Adamaris.Ramirez@cityoforlando.net