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The 2nd Annual Fatherhood Task Force of South FL Conference

Posted on 10/12/2011 @ 11:39 AM

Event Alert!

The 2nd annual Fatherhood Task Force of South FL conference:

Building Family Success – Keeping Fathers Involved

Saturday, October 22, 2011
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

BankUnited Center Fieldhouse
University of Miami
1245 Dauer Drive
Coral Gables

For information or to register email: Info@melissainstitute.org
Or, call: 786-662-5210

Speakers include: Keynote Leonard Pitts, Dave Lawrence, Jr., Judge Orlando Prescott, Dr. Isaac Prilleltensky and more!

It costs only $10 and continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. There are scholarships available for Fathers who are encouraged to attend and much more.

See the full conference schedule and speaker bio’s here:

Fatherhood Conference Flyer

2nd Annual Fatherhood Conference Brochure

The Parent Academy

Posted on 09/30/2011 @ 02:41 PM

Tags: South

By John Knight, Regional Coordinator, South Florida

I had a meeting this week with Barbara Biggart and Aster Mohamed, both teachers and counselors with The Parent Academy. They provide training, resources and adult learning to thousands of parents in Miami-Dade County. Each year they host back-to-school celebrations for children, workshops for parents and many other important events all around the Miami community. It is always motivating to add another official partner to The Children’s Movement of Florida. Their work out in the community is particularly important for parent skill-building.

The Parent Academy has another event coming up on October 23rd, from 1-6 pm to promote health and wellness at the Miami Science Museum. Contact Barbara Biggart for more information: bbiggart@dadeschools.net

Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida Literacy Buddies Program Helps Prepare Kids for Kindergarten

Posted on 09/30/2011 @ 11:18 AM

Tags: West

By Becky Newell, Regional Coordinator, West Florida

The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida is committed to promoting early literacy. Their Literacy Buddies program provides a way for individuals to help too!

Here’s what each program volunteer does:

• Receives a letter from a child in an early learning facility served by the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida.
• Replies to the child’s letter, and sends a high quality book to the child with the reply.
• Repeats this process twice during the school year (for a total of 3 exchanges).

As of now, more than 1500 adults have signed on as Literacy Buddies, but there are many more children who can benefit from the program and still need a “buddy.”

According to the Early Learning Coalition, “anyone, any age, anywhere can become a Literacy Buddy.” Click here for more information about the program and how to help.

Is The New Rule For VPK Providers Enough?

Posted on 09/23/2011 @ 02:21 PM

Tags: North

By David Abrams, State Coordinator, North Florida

The state Board of Education approved a rule Tuesday requiring that at least 70 percent of a VPK provider's students be considered ready for Kindergarten on two assessment measures. This means any school with fewer than 70 percent will be considered low-performing and can potentially close down if improvements aren't made. The legislature changed the law this year, now requiring the board to set a readiness rate, and hoping children will be better prepared for kindergarten. There was previously no set rate providers had to meet.

While a majority of early-learning officials are supportive of the new rule-there are several concerns, which include last year's budget cuts and the expected increase in the number of low-performing providers. Many officials had recommended the state board to set the rate at 60 percent reducing the risk of thousands of providers becoming low-performing. Susan Main, Executive Director of The Early Learning Coalition of Duval ( and active leader of The Children's Movement of Florida-Jacksonville Chapter) says, "I'm all for improving the readiness rate in children". However, she did go on to mention the new rules come as providers lost close to $200 per child in payments from the state for VPK this school year. The state currently funds $2,383 per child, which is more than a 5 percent decrease from the $2,575 previously funded by the state.

Since we launched a year ago, The Children's Movement of Florida has been advocating for pre and post assessments to illustrate a child's progress before Pre-K to after Pre-K (heading into Kindergarten). I believe it is critical to have our children ready for kindergarten whether it's from VPK assessment, a research based curriculum, or hiring more qualified teachers. I'm also shamefully aware of the limited resources our state is allowing VPK providers to work with. Before this year's budget cuts Florida ranked 34 of 38 in per pupil funding for VPK.

Personally, I'm excited of the new rule-but now it's time to provide our schools with enough per child funding to execute a high readiness rate. This is too important for short-cuts!

Interested in your thoughts!

Big Brothers Big Sisters Returns to Southwest Florida

Posted on 09/23/2011 @ 12:52 PM

Tags: West

By Becky Newell, Regional Coordinator, West Florida

After 35 years of serving Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee Counties, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Florida closed its doors in June of this year. But now the approximately 500 children who lost their mentoring services because of the closure are celebrating. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast, based in Venice, formally announced on Wednesday that it will take over the mentoring operation for the counties that lost services in June.

One of the first priorities is to reunite “Bigs” and “Littles” who lost touch after the June closing. The organization is also reaching out to businesses and individuals to recruit new volunteers to mentor more children in the area.

Click here to see Ft. Myers’ WINK News coverage of Wednesday’s press conference.


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