Orlando Parramore Kidz Zone
In 2006, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer created Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ) to serve as a public-private partnership aimed at "moving the needle" on the academic and economic success of children in Orlando's most disadvantaged neighborhood. PKZ invests in programs that cover all aspects of children's lives, from cradle through college and career. One of the strategies utilized by the PKZ is deeply engaging the caregivers of the children in the program. Their baby institute provides parenting classes and a social network of support to the caregivers that come in with their young children. Parents are also provided a case manager to assist them with their own personal goals. PKZ partners with the Heart of Florida United Way to provide their economic security program to assist parents in getting housing and finding secure employment. The Young Fathers of Central Florida provides peer support and legal assistance for fathers engaged in PKZ.
The City of Orlando created Parramore Kidz Zone and serves as the lead entity, or "backbone organization" that operates this "collective impact" model.
Partners include Orange County Public Schools, Heart of Florida United Way, New Image Youth Center, Orange County Early Learning Coalition, CareerSource Central Florida, Florida Health Care Coalition, University of Central Florida, Community Coordinated Care for Children, Orange County Head Start, Urban Think! Foundation Page 15, Central Florida Foundation, Nap Ford Community School, Simeon Resource and Development Center for Men, Young Fathers of Central Florida, Orlando Community &Youth Trust, Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida, and Valencia College.
Total annual budget is approximately $1.6 million, with funding coming from City of Orlando, Heart of Florida United Way, Central Florida Foundation, State of Florida, fundraisers, philanthropy and private donors.
PKZ's comprehensive family approach is reflected in their amazing program results for the 2014-15 fiscal year:
• 249 Parramore children under age 5 (55% of all the infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the neighborhood!) participated in PKZ Early Learning programs. 90% of the kids "met" or "exceeded" developmental expectations for their age by the end of the year.
• 481 Parramore elementary and middle schoolers - 69% of all Parramore children in this age group - attended PKZ's academically-enriched after school and summer programs. At these sites, the kids benefited from daily, year round help with homework, access to computers and the internet, arts and STEM enrichment activities, and a special summer reading program.
• 160 Parramore youth got extra help from PKZ Student Advocates. Advocates closely monitored the kids' test scores, grades, attendance and discipline and kept the kids on track in school. 90% of the kids ended the year with at least a 2.0 GPA, 98% were promoted to the next grade level, and 100% of our high school seniors graduated.
• 132 Parramore youth - 45% of all high school kids in the neighborhood - got help from PKZ to get into college. They participated in college tours, completed college and financial aid applications, and received scholarships and care packages. The entire Class of 2015 - all 30 Parramore seniors - graduated from high school and 100% of them entered college this fall!
Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
Director, Families, Parks and Recreation