AMIkids celebrates 40 years with bingo fundraising party

Special to the Times | 1/9/2014, 9 a.m.
AMIkids Miami-Dade, a school and treatment program for at-risk teens, will soon mark 40 years of service in Miami-Dade County. ...
AMIkids Board Members: (from left to right) Terrance Levell, Executive Director, Laise Lowachee, Trustee, Jorge Alvarez, Chair, Lyndall Lambert, President, and V.T. Williams, Trustee. Photo courtesy of AMIkids

AMIkids Miami-Dade, a school and treatment program for at-risk teens, will soon mark 40 years of service in Miami-Dade County. To celebrate its anniversary, and to help raise much needed funds, AMIkids is hosting a bingo fundraising event on Saturday January 11, 2014, from 7-11 pm, at Atlantica on Virginia Key. In addition to bingo games with prizes, there will be raffles and a silent auction. M.J. Acosta, the Entertainment Reporter at WPLG Local 10, will be the Master of Ceremonies, and DJ A.K. Vybz will provide music.

The AMIkids parent company is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that has successfully helped more than 115,000 teens leave behind their troubled pasts. AMIkids has 41 schools, day treatment programs, or residential facilities in mostly the Southeastern United States. AMIkids Miami-Dade has two local campuses where it works to improve the lives of teens through motivating programs that inspire learning, leadership, and personal growth.

AMIkids’ students participate in vocational training, and engage in community activities while learning to be productive citizens and leaders. Students range in age from 13 to 18 and spend an average of three to six months in the program. The program uses behavior modification through structure, discipline, and positive reinforcement. AMIkids also provides classroom instruction, one-on-one counseling, and experiential activities like SCUBA, seamanship, and culinary arts. These experiential programs also include wilderness and environmental experiences, such as kayaking, rock-climbing, and camping.

While in the program, AMIkids’ students typically improve their academic performance by at least one grade level. Many students successfully return to their local public schools or earn their GED, and some go further to take college courses. And most importantly, 85 to 90 percent of the teens who complete the program remain law-abiding citizens. AMIkids brightens futures that were once dimmed by everything from truancy to gang affiliation. AMIkids Miami-Dade has served more than 7,000 local teens and their families since its inception.

Although there is some funding from the State for the teens, AMIkids Miami-Dade must also rely on the generosity of our community to support all of the services needed to transform its students into responsible citizens. For more information about AMIkids please visit the website at www.amikidsmiamidade.org or call AMIkids Miami-Dade North (305) 944-1960 and AMIkids Miami-Dade South (305) 361-7934. To donate funds, or buy tickets for the upcoming fundraising event, visit the event website at www.miamidadeevents.amikids.org.