Overtown Youth Center and AAR CORP. launch STEM summer program

Community leaders join in on special ceremony

Ashley Montgomery | 7/3/2014, 9 a.m.
The count was on: 3, 2, 1 . . . and away the man-made bottle rockets created by students of ...

The count was on: 3, 2, 1 . . . and away the man-made bottle rockets created by students of the Overtown Youth Center (OYC) flew! A special ceremony was held last Wednesday to recognize David Storch, CEO and Chairman of AAR’s $350,000 donation to support the Center’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program.

CEO of the OYC Alonzo Mourning, Senator Dwight Bullard, City of Miami Commisioner Keon Hardemon, Miami-Dade Commissioner Aurdrey Edmonson, and members of the community all came to celebrate the summer programs inception.

“Our program as a whole is going to focus on a lot of educational opportunities,” Mourning said. “Our mission is to inspire and empower youths and families by fostering hope through enrichment services. None of that happens without the support of people like AAR CEO David Storch.”

Mourning promises to deliver not only a safe haven for children to learn STEM related subjects.

The summer partnership between the OYC, one of Miami’s leading aviation companies and Miami-Dade County Public School Office of Academic and STEM Transformation is planning to give students the chance to engage in “academically exciting, hands-on projects.” It will be a six-week program that will expose students to STEM curriculum, while incorporating literacy and ensuring academic reinforcement.

Through this one-of-a-kind partnership, 11 to 18-year-olds from the Overtown community will be given guidance by one of Booker T. Washington Senior High School’s very own teachers.

“AAR believes in investing in the communities we work in, and I am really impressed by what is being accomplished by Alonzo and Tina at Overtown,” Storch said. “This type of investment is mutually beneficial as it helps AAR to create a pipeline of aviation talent to make sure we have the workforce we need in the future.”

AAR is a global aerospace and defense contractor that employs more than 6,000 people in 17 countries.

Overtown Youth Center is a year-round youth development program that steadily provides in-school, after school and summer program services.

Also, OYC offers parent enrichment programs and post-high school support to over 400 students in the Overtown neighborhood and surrounding areas.


During the special ceremony Commissioner Keon Hardemon took a moment to address the fatal mass shooting that took place last Tuesday in Liberty City which left two dead and seven injured.

“It goes without saying that this has to be mentioned — if there are people here that if you have resources that you know that can make a difference in this community, albeit jobs, development, programming — anything that you believe will make this community safe,” Hardemon said.

“We are serious about solving these types of issues in our community.”

After the ceremony, the crowd was moved to the center’s football field where a bottle rocket launch demonstration took place — something students in the program will have the opportunity to learn while enrolled in the camp.

For more information about the OYC STEM summer program visit overtownyouth.org.