It’s a belief at the core of America’s Promise, and one that Chair Alma Powell recently expressed in a Q&A for AOL News: “Real change for young people happens in communities.”
As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, America’s Promise is recognizing an organization that exemplifies how communities can collaborate to improve youth outcomes: The Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ). The organization will receive the Powell Legacy Award—and a $50,000 donation—at the Recommit to Kids Summit on April 18.
Modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, the city of Orlando launched the Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ) in 2006 to respond to the dearth of resources and opportunities for young people in the Parramore neighborhood.
It’s a collaborative, holistic initiative that works to level the playing field for young people and their families in Orlando’s Parramore community by investing in research-tested ways to make a difference in children’s lives. These include early childhood education, afterschool programs, mentoring and tutoring, access to health care, parenting education, youth development programs for teens, college access assistance, jobs, and more.
“Recognizing that every neighborhood is different, the initiative adapted a model appropriate for Parramore, partnering with various organizations connected to the community and its residents,” the Center for Promise wrote in a 2015 case study of the organization. “Parramore’s experience demonstrates that young people in disadvantaged neighborhoods face bright futures when a city leverages and strengthens local capacity.”
To date, the community has seen a 63 percent decline in juvenile arrests, a 73 percent decline in teen pregnancies, a 48 percent decline in child abuse cases, and across-the-board increases in the percentage of Parramore students performing at grade level in math and reading. The on-time high school graduation rate is now 100 percent, and there are 85 students who are either in college or have graduated.
The Powell Legacy Award recognizes an organization that is transforming a community and the lives of the young people and families who live there.
In addition to this award, the America’s Promise 20th anniversary summit and gala will recognize People of Promise, next generation trailblazers and community leaders; Promise of America award winners, longtime individual champions of young people; and Promise Heroes, the “often unheralded contributions” of heroes who are making an impact on their communities in ways large and small.
To learn more about the 20th anniversary events, please visit www.Recommit2Kids.org.