CITY OF MIAMI BEACH, FL
Mayor Neisen Kasdin

EXEMPLARY PROGRAMS TO COMBAT SCHOOL VIOLENCE

1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The City of Miami Beach, via its Office of Children’s Affairs, is committed to improving the quality-of-life of all its residents As such, we have several programs to empower youth to stay violence-free. Below is a sampling of our community-based initiatives.

Performing Arts Academy – The PAA offers free performing arts, recording studio technology and personal empowerment classes for youth ages 8 – 21 each Saturday. In exchange for free classes, "apprentice artists", as our participants are called, must provide free public performances for the community’s benefit. In 1998, United States Attorney General Janet Reno declared the PAA a model program for the nation as it has successfully reduced school absenteeism (80 percent last year) while increasing academic performance among its participants.

Junior Community Relations Board – The JCRB, patterned after the City’s adult counterpart, the Community Relations Board, is comprised of student and teacher representatives from the City’s public and private schools. Its members meet on a monthly basis during the school year and plan inter-school events to promote peace, tolerance and the elimination of violence. Last school year, the JCRB sponsored the Crayons for Peace campaign (which included original children’s artwork depicting peace being included in the City’s water bills), the 1998 Peace Festival (a day-long festival celebrating cooperation among all youth and involving 1,000 students from the City’s public and private schools) and the Galaxy of Talent (a citywide youth talent show).

Keep Me Safe – Our City’s public schools collaborated as a feeder pattern to raise

awareness to the pervasiveness of violence, identify successful school-based methods to teach non-violence, and identify community resources which could be used to address the problem. Our City promoted the expansion of drug-free zones to include day care providers who had previously not taken advantage of state law. We provided community workshops to empower parents and community citizens with information and simple steps that can be taken to address drug, crime and truancy problems in their own homes and neighborhoods. While the campaign was meant for only the 1997/98 school year, it was deemed too important to not continue. Therefore, these community workshops will continue for the 1998/99 school year.

2. Contact person:

Maria L. Ruiz, City of Miami Beach, Director/ Office of Children’s Affairs

1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33139

Tel: (305) 673-7000 ext. 6491, Fax: (305) 673-7772, E-mail Mbkidcop@aol.com

 

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