Previous month:
January 2011
Next month:
March 2011

February 2011


Eight Miami-Dade public schools are among the 133 schools nationwide that have been named winners of the prestigious Magnet Schools of America (MSA) Merit Awards. MSA established the Merit Awards to recognize magnet schools that show a commitment to high academic standards, curriculum innovation, successful desegregation/diversity efforts, specialized teaching staffs and parent and community involvement.

The MSA Merit Awards are granted in two categories: Schools of Excellence and Schools of Distinction. Listed below are the winning Miami-Dade schools for each category.

***Schools of Excellence***
Coral Reef Senior High
Design & Architecture Senior High
George Washington Carver Middle
North Dade Center for Modern Languages

***Schools of Distinction***
Ada Merritt K-8 Center
Air Base Elementary
Frank C. Martin International K-8 Center
John F. Kennedy Middle

All the winning schools will be recognized at a luncheon at MSA's 29th National Conference on May 15-18 in Indianapolis.

MSA was founded in the 1980s in response to educational inequity. The organization offers support and leadership to innovative educational magnet school programs. The magnet programs promote diversity, equity and academic excellence.

For more information, contact Ms. Marie Mennes, Schools of Choice, 305-995-1922. For information about Magnet Schools of America, please visit

South Florida Family Becomes Homeowners for First Time in Opa-Locka

Photos of ribbon cutting ceremony for Maria Esperanza and Melanio Rojas, new homeowners through the joint efforts of local nonprofit organizations, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida (NHSSF) and the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation. 

 Maria Esperanza (middle) and her husband Melanio Rojas (left of Maria) cut the ribbon on their purchased home. Arden Shank, CEO of NHSSF(behind Melanio) and Willie Logan (behind Maria), President of Opa-Locka CDC join Armando Fana (right of Willie Logan), Field Director of the Miami US HUD Office and Mercedes Marquez (in front of Armando), Assistant Secretary of Community Planning and Development, US HUD.


Douglas M. Gaither (left), Management Consultant of NeighborWorks America and Arden Shank (right), CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida join Maria Esperanza (home buyer, second from the left) and Armando Fana (second from the right), Field Director of the Miami US HUD Office at the Opa- locka CDC ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, January 25, 2011.

 Oliver Gross, President of New Urban Development, LLC , a wholly owned subsidiary of the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc., speaks on the importance of the NSP2 funds for a better South Florida. Arden Shank(left) and Willie Logan (right).


MDC’s Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center and Wells Fargo Team to Offer Array of Resources for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Kick-off reception for Wells Fargo Urban Microenterpreneurs Initiative set for March 9 at Meek Center


Miami, FLThe Miami Dade College (MDC) Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center is offering an array of training and business resource programs for current and aspiring entrepreneurs during the spring and summer terms.

Registration for the spring 2011 mini-term is underway and summer enrollment begins on March 7, 2011

Toney1 “The Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center, now entering its 21st year, was created to support entrepreneurs,” said H. Leigh Toney, executive director of the Center. “And now, more than ever, we are reaching out to entrepreneurs to provide them with the support needed to reinvent their businesses, increase their competitiveness, and be prepared for success in this dynamic economic.”

The Meek Center serves more than 3,500 students annually and is the hub for the College’s entrepreneurial activities. “The country is telling entrepreneurs to reinvent themselves and to focus on innovation and in order to help them, the Meek Center is rolling out many special programs customized for entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Jose A. Vicente, president, MDC North Campus. 

Wells Fargo Urban Microentrepreneurs Initiative

President Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address highlighted the story of the Allen Brothers. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. Hit hard by the recession, half of their factory space was idle. The brothers could either limp along with non-revenue generating space, or they could take another approach. They chose the latter and with the help of a government loan, their formerly empty space was transformed to begin the manufacturing of solar shingles that are being sold across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”

Reinvention is the focus of the Miami Dade College Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center’s Urban Microentrepreneurs Initiative, a new partnership with Wells Fargo. A $30,000 contribution from the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation will be utilized to grow future entrepreneurs, to support existing entrepreneurs in reinventing their businesses with a focus on innovation, and to partner with business support and research organizations and Chambers of Commerce to provide more strategic services to their business constituents.

“As strong supporters of our communities and their financial success, we’re pleased to partner with Miami Dade College and its Micro entrepreneur Initiative,” said Kathryn Dinkin, Wachovia’s Southeast Florida regional president. “As the No. 1 small business lender in Florida, Wachovia is confident that with the right tools, South Florida’s entrepreneurs will build a successful tomorrow.” 

The Urban Microentrepreneurs Initiative (UMI), housed at the Meek Center, targets three core groups:

The Future: UMI will partner with Miami Edison Senior High School to train and support high school students in the basics of entrepreneurship. Selected students will enroll in college entrepreneurship courses that teach the basics of marketing, management, entrepreneurship and e-commerce. A small number of students will be selected for “start-up” grants to help them launch businesses.

The Doers: Open to eligible MDC students and small business owners in the Liberty City, Little Haiti and Brownsville/Gladeview communities, UMI will provide training and consultation for small to mid-size businesses focused on capacity-building and strategic growth, emphasizing Green business strategies and other new market opportunities.

The Enablers: UMI will partner with business advocacy, Chambers and research organizations to help identify business development priorities and strengthen member services. In addition to customized training opportunities, participants will be eligible for scholarship funding, consultation services, prizes and other services. 

Applications for the program will be available in mid-February and an advisory committee of local business owners, Chamber officials and MDC faculty members will select participants for the UMI Entrepreneurs’ Cohort at the high school and adult levels. 

Malveaux A Kick-Off Reception for the UMI will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at the Meek Center featuring Dr. Julianne Malveaux, noted economist and author. Dr. Malveaux is also president of Bennett College, a Historically Black College and University, in North Carolina. Dr. Malveaux will be signing her latest book, Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History.

WHAT:           Urban Microentrepreneurs Initiative Kick-Off Reception and Book Signing featuring Dr. Julianne Malveaux

WHEN:           Wednesday, March 9, 2011

                   5 p.m.

WHERE:         Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center
                   6300 N.W. 7th Ave., Miami


About the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation: The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation is a private foundation that provides grants to eligible 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations to support four primary focus areas:  Education, Community Development, Health and Human Services and Arts and Culture.  The mission of the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation is to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life, and make a positive difference. In 2010, the Foundation funded nearly $9 million in grants to Florida nonprofit organizations.

For more information on any of these programs, please contact H. Leigh Toney, Executive Director at 305-237-1903 or via e-mail at [email protected].


Rev. Al Sharpton to address local issues

The Rev. Al Sharpton is in town this Sunday and Monday. He is scheduled to deliver the sermon during the 11 o'clock service at New Birth Baptist Cathedral of Faith tomorrow, February 27, 2011 and will speak during the NAACP Branch meeting on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 7 pm at Second Baptist Church,11111 Pinkston Drive, Miami, FL 33176.

Do come out for this special meeting on the south end of the County. There are a number of local issues for the good reverend to address and requiring our action, including the recent police involved shootings and the murder of Akil LaRue Oliver.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Event took place during week of Homecoming to capture excitement of festivities, introduce University friends to new president Dr. Henry Lewis III


By Joyce R. Forchion
[email protected]


Dr. Henry Lewis III, Florida Memorial University’s new president, and nearly seventy eager participants teed off during the institution’s inaugural President’s Cup Golf Tournament at Miami Lakes’ Country Club of Miami on February 11, 2011. Men and women representing eight corporations, including some of South Florida’s most influential judges, lawyers, and executives, competed against each other on the sprawling course early Friday morning in support of the University’s capital and education programs. The first-year event was held during the University’s annual week of Homecoming festivities, which attracted alumni, partners, and friends to the celebration of the school’s history and heritage spanning back to 1879.

The President’s Cup Golf Tournament also served as an opportunity for Dr. Lewis to cultivate relationships with some of the University’s faithful supporters. “The President’s Cup Golf Tournament was held during Homecoming week to enable President Lewis to network with our business partners while capturing the energy and excitement of Homecoming,” said Archie L. Bouie, II, tournament chair and the University’s director of auxiliary services. “Next year, we hope to add a scholarship component to the tournament in hopes of drawing interest from prospective high school students seeking an education at Florida Memorial,” he shared.

The winners for this year’s tournament are as follows:

1st Place Team: Score (60) Henry Lewis III, Charles George, Archie L. Bouie, II, Herb Smith

2nd Place Team: Score (61) Billie Long, Benny Vargas, John Pryor, James Snell

3rd Place Team: Score (64) Michael B. Smith, Javier Nunez, Mark Bronson, Sergio Pereira

The President’s Cup Golf Tournament is a 501(c)(3) entity, and D. Stephenson Construction, Inc. served as this year’s title sponsor. Their title sponsorship serves as one of the many roles the construction company plays in supporting the University; the company is also under contract to construct the University’s Living and Learning Residence Halls slated to open on campus in August 2011. The golf tournament was a tremendous success that garnered over $10,000, which will be used to supplement the University’s advancement initiatives. Mr. Bouie and his planning committee would like to express their appreciation to the following sponsors: 

Title Sponsor: D. Stephenson Construction, Inc.

Luncheon Sponsor: Thompson Hospitality

Hole Sponsor: PHI Technologies

Double Hole Sponsor: ING Financial Advisors, Stephen H. Greenberg & Associates

Bronze Level Sponsor: UPS

Hole Sponsor: Gotta Have Snacks

Hole Sponsor: ASA Vending, Inc.

Hole Sponsor: MV Sports

For more information about the President’s Cup Golf Tournament, or to find out how you can participate in or sponsor next year’s tournament, please contact Mr. Archie L. Bouie, II at (305) 626-3636 or [email protected].


 (from left to right) Winning teammates Archie L. Bouie, II, Herb Smith, Dr. Henry Lewis III, and Charles W. George, Chairman of the Florida Memorial University Board of Trustees



Dr. Henry Lewis III, president of Florida Memorial University, tests his swing before competing


Remember last year's Senate Bill 6? It's back!!!


Special Message from CIVIC Concern

SB 736 -- This year's version of SB 6

A modified version of last year's SB 6, this legislation is another misguided effort at reform.  It would require 50% of teachers' annual evaluations to be based on their students' standardized tests scores, making Florida the first state in the nation to tie teacher pay, retention, and even certification so closely to students' scores on standardized tests. This experiment will lead to our classrooms becoming little more than test-prep centers where our children aren't taught to think, just to pass a test. Click here to learn all about the details of the legislation in this CIVIC article.

Last year, thousands of parents, teachers and other Floridians joined together in opposition to this proposal, leading to the veto of the bill.  More than 30,000 people signed CIVIC's letter to state officials in just a matter of weeks.  It will take an even louder public outcry to stop it this year.  Please sign this letter opposing SB 736. 
Share it with your friends via email and Facebook.  Let's see if this time we can reach 100,000.



Photo: Courtesy of Alina Diaz

Senate District 33 Candidates Forum, 2/23, 7pm

The Progressive Officers Club, Alliance for Retired Americans and Miami Gardens Democratic Club are hosting a forum for the candidates for the Senate District 33 Seat in the Special General Election, Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 7 PM at the Progressive Officers Club, Robert L. Parker Building, 14690 NW 27 Avenue, Opa-Locka, FL 33054.

All Miami Dade County voters, community activists and concerned citizens are invited to come out to hear candidates Oscar Braynon II and Joe Celestin. We get the government we deserve when we don't exercise our right to vote and hold our elected officials accountable for their actions as our representatives. Come out and be informed. Spread the word about this important event.


Miami, FLToday, Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida (NHSSF) received a $200,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to purchase and rehabilitate 50 foreclosed single family homes in Miami-Dade County with an emphasis on Liberty City and Brownsville.  These communities have been hard hit during the foreclosure crisis. This grant also helps provide foreclosure prevention assistance to residents and creates homeownership opportunities for low-income families in these neighborhoods. NHSSF will conduct public forums on foreclosure prevention alternatives and will assist individuals through the process.


"We are very excited to receive this generous donation from the Chase Foundation and to have their support in realizing our vision of providing affordable housing and revitalizing the neighborhoods of Brownsville and Liberty City," said Arden Shank, NHSSF's President and CEO. "Our commitment to the residents of these neighborhoods is ongoing and we hope to empower them to be agents of change within their own community."


Through the funding, NHSSF will engage community leaders, the community and residents to help neighborhood stabilization in the upcoming year. NHSSF has actively worked in the Brownsville community since 2005, in part because of its strong residential character, as well as the impact that the recent recession had on the residents of this community.


Chase awarded the grant to NHSSF because of the organization's commitment to creating meaningful, positive and sustainable change within South Florida's highest-need neighborhoods and communities.


 "Chase shares NHS's belief that everyone deserves a decent place to live and we know the need is especially urgent in Liberty City and Brownsville," said George Acevedo, Chase South Florida Retail Head. "Together, we can improve the lives of individual families and the neighborhood."  Chase has 140 South-Florida based branches, including a location in Liberty City.  The firm employs more than 3,000 employees in the region.


Left to Right: The Honorable Jean Monestime, Miami-Dade County Commissioner, District 2, Jesus Leon, Chase VP Relationship Manager, Kim Davis, Chase Foundation President, George Acevedo, South Florida Chase Retail Head, Arden Shank, NHSSF President & CEO


Job Opportunity: Miami-Dade Parks accepting applications for Summer positions 2/21-3/18


Miami-Dade Parks ISSUES CALL FOR seasonal JOB APPLICANTS; Accepting Applications Feb. 21-March 18  for Summer POSITIONs

Application Deadline Is March 18, 2011 - For More Information Call the Miami-Dade Parks Summer Job Hotline At 305-755-7898

MIAMI, FL – The Miami-Dade Park & Recreation Department is issuing its annual call for seasonal job applicants to fill the summer staffing needs of its summer programming and activities, traditionally the busiest time of year when families and kids on summer vacation frequent Miami-Dade County’s parks for its summer camps, pools and beaches.  Applications will only be accepted February 21-March 18, 2011, for a variety of summer jobs at Miami-Dade Parks, including pool managers, lifeguards, park service aides, and recreation leaders.   

To apply, applicants must apply via the Miami-Dade County Online Employment Application site at and must also contact the Miami-Dade Park where you wish to work.  For a list of parks, phone numbers and addresses, please visit our web site at  Individuals must be at least 17 years old.    For more general information, call Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Summer Job Hotline at 305-755-7898 or visit our web site.

All applicants selected will be required to successfully pass a drug/alcohol screen and criminal background check prior to employment.  The deadline for applying is March 18, 2011

Those applying for pool manager or lifeguard positions are required to submit proof of current certification in CPR, first aid, lifeguard and water-safety instruction provided by the Red Cross, YMCA or other nationally recognized aquatic training program.  Training is available for those who apply early.