"Helping to Make Our Community a Better and Safer Place to Live"
(Inspiring Positive Change in the Lives of Our Youth".
|City, State:||Hialeah, FL|
|Children, College or university student, staff, or faculty, Local government agency officials (other than public safety), Military service members and their families, Teens|
Brief History of the Organization:
The City of Hialeah’s Department of Parks and Recreation Early Prevention and Intervention Program (E.P.I.) seeks to prevent and intervene in the negative behaviors of our community’s youth. E.P.I. began in 1992 to combat the growing problem of at risk youth. The program was started with a grant that was given to the City of Hialeah by the Miami-Dade County Department of Human Services, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the U.S. Department of Justice. After the grants expired, the City of Hialeah continued to support the program through its own funds due to its success. The term “At Risk” pertains to those children who have not been properly educated about hazards they face today or are in danger of entering into the juvenile justice system. Our main goals are to prevent our youth from making harmful decisions that will affect their lives, and bring about intervention for those youths who have already made or are about to make poor decisions.
Our eight-week program is designed for youth ages 12-17. The aim of this program is to strengthen youth with knowledge and skills that are necessary to be productive citizens and offer them positive alternatives to combat negative behavior. Participants are required to:
· Attend Biweekly Educational Meetings: During these meetings participants will participate in open group discussions, see educational videos (such as surviving High School, gangs, crime, tobacco prevention, drugs, STDs and abstinence) listen to guest speakers (such as United States Army personnel, professional and collegiate athletes, drug counselors and successful stories from past E.P.I. participants).
· Weekly community Projects: Two to three times a week participants will be assigned at a City facility performing a variety of community service projects such as working with park staff in coaching and assisting sport programs, maintenance of the facility, clerical work and supervision.
· Field Trips: Field trips will serve to demonstrate consequences to negative and delinquent behaviors as well as alternative career choices. Field trips will include: Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to show the participants the dangers of substance abuse, a jail tour to demonstrate the consequences of choosing a life of crime, George T. Baker Aviation School to provide a positive alternative for a career choice, Florida International University Tour to demonstrate the positive alternative of a higher educational future, and professional and collegiate sporting events to promote cultural and social awareness in the participants.
· Presentations: Home of the Nazarene Drug Recovery Center provides our participants with actual testimonies of recovering drug addicts. Le Cordon Bleu provides a culinary presentation to inspire interest in possible career paths within the culinary field. Gang Unit provides education on gang issues and gang involvement, and Traffic Homicide which provides presentations on Driving Safety and the consequences of Drinking and Driving.