Miami Lakes, Florida
- Community name: Miami Lakes
- Website: http://miamilakes-fl.gov/
- Population: 29,361
- Graduation rate: 62.1%
- Youth poverty rate: 1.6%
Miami Lakes, a first-time 100 Best winner, was honored for its efforts to provide a healthy and safe environment for youth that includes educational support programs. For example, the Miami Lakes JUST RUN Program focuses on getting youth moving and active, and promotes healthy eating to combat childhood obesity. Similarly, the Youth Activities Task Force develops positive activities for youth ages 14-19 and creates youth-oriented events, including the annual Haunted House and Bike Rodeo.
The community is also dedicated to providing educational and leadership opportunities. The Educational Advisory Board provides scholarships, SAT prep courses, internships and education programs to youth in the community. In addition, the Youth Internship Program provides opportunities for students to gain exposure to different careers and learn about local government by interning in the offices of the town council, mayor and town staff. Youth are able to present their views at town council meetings and serve on the Peer Review Court, which is an alternative sentencing program that helps young, nonviolent offenders avoid jail time.
- The JUST RUN Program focuses on getting youth moving and active, promoting fitness and healthy eating in an effort to combat childhood obesity.
- The Youth Internship Program provides volunteer opportunities and an educational experience for students by allowing them to intern in the offices of the town council, mayor and town staff. Youth are invited to present their views at town council meetings, sit as representatives on the Youth Activities Task Force, and serve on the Peer Review Court, an alternative sentencing program that helps young, nonviolent offenders avoid jail time.
- The Youth Activities Task Force develops positive activities for the town’s youth ages 14-19, and creates youth-oriented events such as the Annual Haunted House and the Bike Rodeo.
- The Educational Advisory Board, a group of school principals and city leaders, provides scholarships, SAT prep courses, internships, educational programs, College Boot Camp and the Summertime Smarts program.
- The Miami Lakes YMCA provides afterschool programs and summer camps for hundreds of youth in the community, giving them a safe place to learn and grow.
“The town is championing a Peer Review Court, through which juveniles who committed first time misdemeanors would be evaluated in court sessions held by fellow youth; by doing so, it is possible to save misguided youth within our town boundaries from helplessly ending up in jail without a chance for redemption and a change of heart.”
“Our town isn’t the average town, with average individuals. We are a group, a supportive network of people who care about our neighbors and look out for all of our citizens, especially our teenagers.”– Katherine