To support residents breaking a cycle of poverty MCI’s Community Advocates meet with families to link them to services which improve their ability to overcome the many challenges faced. Impact Zone residents have been linked by MCI advocates to after care programs for their children, one- on- one student tutoring, employment services, mental health services, legal services, parenting classes, expungement and sealing information, Medicaid and Food Stamps, Early Learning Programs, food bank items, health services, transportation, furniture acquisition, bus pass distributions, career clothing closet, and GED programs. In addition, families are provided opportunities to partake in the many MCI community events which include uniform distribution, Thanksgiving celebrations, turkey giveaways, holiday toy giveaways, community field trips, cultural celebrations, and much more. Community members are also empowered to address issues concerning them through the 3 resident’s councils created in the fall of 2016.
MCI operates 2 Community Space’s which are the HUB of services for the community team. The Community Space is a center in which residents can meet with each other to discuss issues in the community, meet with their family advocate, meet with a career/college advisor, enroll in early learning programs, utilize the computer lab, copying, printing, and faxing services, do homework, apply for college/jobs, acquire items from the food pantry, or just come in for a cup of coffee.
MCI’s Community Engagement | Number of Visits by Residents to the Community Spaces in Feb 2017
Annie Coleman Community Space
Lincoln Fields Community Space
Annie Coleman Community Space
March was a very productive month for the community space in the Annie Coleman. MCI is very blessed to have so many volunteer groups come out and support all of the amazing work that is being done around our children and families. In the month of March we saw volunteer groups from all over the country! The Praying Pelican team was from Orlando and Pennsylvania, The Cru Team was from Georgia Southern University, and we also had a great Saturday lesson from the University of Miami around responsible social media!
Our Annie Coleman Community Space thrives when we have active partners who see the best in our children and want to bring fun, educational activities to them. The Algebra Project stopped by to assist our students getting ready for the upcoming Florida Standardized Assessment (FSA).
Additionally, MCI has been fortunate to have amazing legislative supporters such as Congresswoman Fredericka Wilson, Senator Daphne Campbell, and Commissioner Audrey Edmonson who donated tickets to our residents for the awesome Jazz in the Gardens event.
One of the many barriers facing our residents is a lack of transportation. To address this issue MCI has partnered with Miami Dade County Transit Authority to offer daily, weekly, and monthly bus passes to our children and families free of charge. In March, MCI distributed 63 bus passes to its residents.
Furthermore, MCI has been empowering our qualifying residents to receive a free Annual Bus Pass from Miami Dade County, which is valued at $1,350 per pass. To date, 26 MCI residents have received an Annual Bus Pass, which amounts to $35,100 that residents have saved on transportation.
Lincoln Fields Community Space
This month, we implemented our weekly Common Threads curriculum for our residents. Common Threads is a nutrition education curriculum that teaches the importance of healthy eating. Residents get to learn basic nutritional information while also getting the opportunity to do hands on activities.
For the first week, we taught the children how to make smoothies using a blender. Ingredients used were strawberries, kale, pineapples, and coconut water. The kids were given the opportunity to create their own fruit mixture which they seemed to enjoy.
For week two, we engaged the kids in creating a healthy and crunchy trail mix snack. They chose the types of snacks they wanted to include in their mixture. Options available were sunflower seeds, cranberry raisins, and Chex cereal. This segment was also a part of St. Patrick’s Day and we made green Kool-Aid and served green cookies.
In week three, the kids learned to make flavored popcorn using healthy ingredients such as olive oil, lemon, and season salt. In addition to learning which ingredients are among the healthiest, the kids also learned about appropriate portion sizes to add flavor to their popcorn.
In the final week, we taught the kids how to make lemonade using lemons, strawberries, honey, sugar, and water. Each child mixed ingredients in their own cups, following instructions of appropriate portion sizes.
On March 31, 2017, the residents participated in our Food Co-op held on the last Friday of every month. The Food Co-op allows residents to purchase fresh produce for
$5.00 in their neighborhood as opposed to spending an average of $40.00 at their local supermarket.
This month, we had approximately 205 residents to visit either the activity room or the office. 199 were children participating in activities in addition to 6 adults who were seeking services. In recent weeks, there have been several shootings and other criminal activities within Lincoln-Fields apartment. Due to these occurrences, we have been providing more indoor activities and are in the process of developing safety awareness discussion groups with the residents.
Career & Continuing Education Program
There is enormous talent in Liberty City, and the Career Development Program seeks to unlock the potential in its residents by supporting them as they pursue their career objectives and earn a living wage. MCI seeks to accomplish these goals by helping residents secure employment and continue with their education. MCI works one-onone with residents seeking employment by assisting with resume creation, job search, job placements by securing partnerships with employers, sourcing professional attire, interview prep, facilitating the seal/expunge process and transportation. In order to secure employment, many residents need financial support in order to comply with employer requirements. Such expenses include background check, state ID and uniforms. In addition, some of the residents we serve are pursuing certifications such as childcare, security and those in the medical field. MCI would like to assist with these expenses since they very often prevent candidates from getting the job at hand.
With respect to education, MCI supports residents who are pursuing their GED, a college degree and a range of trainings that will make them more competitive to earn higher wages. MCI will be launching a GED program in 2017 at the Community Space. In September 2016, MCI launched its college track program to shepherd students through the registration process at Miami Dade College as well as provide them with support and mentorship while they are in school. MCI has also partnered with Year Up at MDC, a program that addresses the opportunity divide by empowering young adults to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.
The Career & Continuing Education Program is funded by the Citi Foundation grant.