Parents needing after-school care for their offspring may find a limited number of vacancies at the newly relocated “Step Up” program adjacent to Indian Hammocks Park in Kendall.
“We’re now up to 35 children with just 15 more needed to reach full enrollment,” said Alyssa Williams, a Winston Park mother who not only got the job as its director but immediately enrolled her two children in the program.
In mid-October, Step Up still was accepting after-school care applications for its remaining vacancies at the county’s Children’s Resource Center where bright orange pumpkins decorated the spic-and-span interior of Cottage 11.
That’s where Williams and the administrators of the non-profit Adult Mankind Organization expect the program will reach full capacity after relocation in September from a warehouse area off SW 72nd Avenue to a 5,000-square-foot cottage at 11025 SW 84 St.
“After surveying Kendall community needs, we determined this new location would better serve the area,” explained Ana A. Someillan, executive director of the non-profit AMO, which draws on federal, state and county funding to offer what is basically a free program.
Largely operating with a $150,000 grant from the Children’s Trust Fund, “Step Up” charges only a one-time fee of $50 per child for a full school year of after-school care, Monday-Friday, from 2 to 6:30 p.m., including free snacks.
Youngsters dropped and picked up each day get a creative range of activities that include a fun-based literacy program and special art projects. Additional activities even may include hip-hop dance lessons.
Designed for children from kindergarten through middle school years (ages 5-12), the Step Up after-school and summer programs are meant for those who reside or attend schools in nearby neighborhoods of Kendall and West Miami-Dade.
Daily schedules offer physical fitness, literacy, social skills and homework assistance as well as special enrichment activities, such as dance (ballet, jazz hip-hop, folklore), art classes, and cultural topics. A summer program at $100 per student adds martial arts, cooking, science, music, and theater.
Williams, with a 15-year career in customer service, now attends Miami-Dade College Kendall campus to complete educational requirements.
A youth development and case management agency, Adult Mankind offers special services including employability skills, case management and work experience for youth ages 15-21.
Under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) the agency manages both out-of-school and in-school youth programs for ages 14-21, providing opportunities preparing or continuing education, entering post-secondary education, vocational training or employment. Promotion and prevention workshops are conducted at Southwest Miami High, Miami Southridge High, and Hialeah-Miami Lakes High.