Tacolcy strives to strengthen and continue its services

caines | 6/27/2013, 5:30 a.m.

[gallery link="file" orderby="title"] Its a new day at the Belafonte Tacolcy Center. For the past three months, Taj Brown, who currently serves as the interim CEO of the program, and staff have focused on expanding and strengthening it. Tacolcy has been a strong program and under Alison Austin the former CEOs leadership, it remained strong, Brown said. I think my top priorities were solidifying our strong areas and strengthening some areas that were not quite as strong. According to Brown, the center is striving to increase their assistance of the most vulnerable youth, especially those who are dealing with violence. The staff are also being trained in running behavioral health groups. In addition, he has been discussing new programming options with city and county representatives. Last month, Tacolcy introduced a free soccer program, in which the Center had partnered with the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Tacolcy will also offer girls indoor volleyball in the fall, and are considering starting a tennis team in addition to the other sports that the Center offers such as: football, basketball, baseball and track and field. Brown also explained that the Center is doing a great job with artistic development, by having events such as poetry slams, but he also wants to create advocacy and service groups so that the youth can become involved in that, also. Brown has implemented a management infrastructure for staff that empowers them and gives them the opportunity to grow. Over the past three months, the program has hired three new employees and promoted another. It is also working with the citys park and recreation department to make sure that the Center is secure and does not have any breaches. Brown explained that in the past, the Center has been robbed. They are proactively working to prevent break-ins in the future but they will be prepared if it happens again, according to Brown. Also, Tacolcy has built new partnerships and revisited old partnerships, which spoke to their priority areas. The Center has recently had new security doors installed and they will soon have an alarm system installed. Brown said he has gotten positive responses while serving as CEO. I try to lead in a way that suggest that the most important thing is about helping families and helping children, Brown said. The staff is overwhelmingly committed, focused and are working very, very hard. Brown said that they not only want to expand the program, but they also want to serve the community in new ways, through new programming. The community can continue to expect to see engaging events from Tacolcy, such as its upcoming HIV testing event. Tacolcy will continue to be an open door where members of the Liberty City community, even greater Miami-Dade can come to find help and get assistance. Three years from now, the Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and Brown explained that he is working with that anniversary in mind. Brown and the staffs goal is for Tacolcy to be strong and viable, and here for the families of Liberty City for another 50 years. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com