cultural-arts-center_web.jpgFlorida International University

As schools wrap up the academic year, summer programs and activities abound for Liberty City children and youth at local schools, parks and community centers. Young people can develop their talents or skills in the arts or athletics or get help they need to do better in school.

Some programs operate by the week, others run for the entire summer. Many will accommodate parents' schedules, offering early drop-offs and late-pick ups.
“Fit to Play, Green it Up,”  will be the theme of programs at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, Gwen Cherry Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, offering participants sports, cultural arts and environmental activities.

Local schools will offer free programs intended to help students pass the FCAT. Other activities may charge nominal fees and some offer scholarships or grants to applicants requiring financial aid.  Local churches, the Police Athletic League and other community groups also often run youth activities.

These are just some of the summer programs available:

•African Heritage Cultural Arts Center
6161 NW 22 Ave.
Ages 6-16
Fee: $50/week

The center offers programs in dance, art, instrumental and vocal music, fashion design and more.

•Beta Tau Zeta Royal Association, Inc.
1743 NW 54th St.
Ages: 5-17
Fee: None

The program provides tutoring, mentoring, counseling, social and cultural activities for youth and their families, including reading, math, FCAT preparation,
computer skills and athletics. Sponsored by Beta Tau Zeta sorority.

The group also offers an after-school and summer camp for 100 children in the Liberty City area; which offers tutoring and mentoring to help improve FCAT reading and math skills; computer practice and physical exercise (Kung Fu classes). Social and cultural activities, and parenting skills are also emphasized.

•Gwen Cherry Park
7090 NW 22 Ave.
Ages: 6-14
Fee: $40/week

Participants rotate through sessions in computer use, athletics, nutrition, art,
reading and free play.

•Kelsey L. Pharr Elementary School
2000 NW 46th St.
Fee: $36/week
Ages: 5-12

Sponsored by the YMCA of Greater Miami, program includes art, athletics and tutoring in math and reading.

•Lillie C. Evans Elementary School
1855 NW 71st St.
Fee: None
Ages: Third grade
­FCAT-related study for third grade only, students from Liberty City Elementary, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, Holmes elementary School and Charles R. Drew Middle School all join at Lillie C. Evans Elementary School.

•Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park
6100 NW 32 Court
Fee: None
Ages: 6-14

Reading, healthy eating and fitness programs, along with family events and field trips.

•Olinda Elementary School
5536 NW 21st Ave.
Fee: None
Ages: 6-12

Sponsored by Concerned African Women, program includes academics, fitness, social skills, arts and recreation.

Additional information on summer programs is available from the Miami-Dade County Parks Department, 305-755-7800,;  Miami-Dade Schools, 305-995-1000,; or The Children's Trust, 305-571-5700,

Photo courtesy of Liberty City Link. African Heritage Cultural Arts Center