Collaborating to Boost Safety and Education
In Orlando, it was time to do something to help young people. Crimes committed by youth were on the rise, and public safety was a growing concern. At the same time, youth literacy rates were low, as were both preschool enrollment and high school graduation rates.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer tapped the city’s Chief Service Officer, Marcia Hope Goodwin, to coordinate a strategy that focused citywide volunteer initiatives on the priority areas of youth education and youth crime prevention.
- CSO Goodwin led a seven-month-long process that engaged hundreds of community stakeholders and service experts from the public and private sectors, including businesses, non-profits, neighborhood associations, faith institutions, schools, universities, and individual citizens.
- This collaborative effort yielded a citywide strategy called Orlando Cares, which focuses volunteer efforts on boosting preschool enrollment, providing tutoring to improve literacy and academic performance, and engaging youth outside the school day in adult-supervised, skill-building activities.
- One example of an Orlando Cares program that is successfully engaging young people during afterschool hours is The Garden, which provides safe space for young people to gather while learning about gardening and nutrition.
- Since 2010, there have been 11,409 Orlando Cares participants.
- The Garden has grown 420 pounds of produce.
- 77 percent of students learned the importance of fresh vegetables.
- 100% increase in literacy rates in Third Grade Reads.
“Citizen volunteers continue to positively impact the education and safety of Orlando’s youth, their families and our entire community.”
Marcia Hope Goodwin, Chief Service Officer, City of Orlando
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