- Faith & Family
Like many small businesses in Liberty City Director at Mt. Olivette Child Care Center Katie Lee Wright is struggling to stay financially afloat.
“To be frank, we have not been fortunate enough to have sufficient child enrollment. It has been down for about three years,” said Wright, whose center currently boasts just 12 kids and 5 childcare workers. Wright, who joined the Miami Children’s Initiative along with other local business owners and community leaders at Charles Drew Middle school on June 14th, was one of dozens hoping to receive a share of $12 million from the Promise Neighborhood grant, a federal grant given to revitalize underprivileged communities. Miami Children’s Initiative, who is requesting the grant, has held a string of community meetings in recent weeks where local residents are helping decide how the grant will be allocated if it is awarded. Local Reverend Charles Dinkins at Hosana Community Church, helps run the childhood learning center at the church. He was concerned the Promise Neighborhood grant would not target all the needs of Liberty city — particularly parental involvement in schools and preventing gun violence.
“I think it’s important to first understand the complexities of the people living this inner-city life,” he said. “All I’ve seen is people coming to this community from the outside and taking advantage of us. We need something in this city that is sustainable and impacting.”
Cecelia Gutierrez, vice President of development operations at MCI, assured the residents that all of their concerns would be taken into consideration as the organization works on drafting the grant proposal.
“Parents are a main component of how we’re going to address this concern,” said Cecelia Guiterrez-Abety . “This is not only a focus on the children, it’s a focus on the children and the community.”
The next Promise Neighborhood grant meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., on June 20th at St. Paul AME, 1892 NW 51st Terrace.
By Latoya Burgess