Several families who normally migrate north to find agricultural work stayed in Florida this summer due to the uncertainty of finding enough work opportunities or housing. This is a big decision for migrant families, as staying brings a lot of uncertainty as well. The one thing that was certain for many of these families was that their children would have a safe and enriching place to be while they searched for and took work opportunities. RCMA kept several migrant centers open and offered fun and impactful opportunities all summer long.
Summer fun – and learning – makes an impact, especially on our youngest kids.
“They already have an established routine and know their teachers,” says Lourdes Garcia, a Family Support Worker at our Wimauma Early Ed program. “The families are confident that we provide great quality service to their children and it will help them have a head start to the new year.”
Some of our child development centers that held summer programs for kids up to age 5 included Dover, Mulberry, Wimauma and Zellwood. Several hundred children participated statewide.
In addition to fun, enriching outdoor activities in our playgrounds, the kiddos received meals and stayed cool in our air conditioned centers. They even went on field trips to places like the movie theater, children’s museum and local water park.
We also welcomed community partners to some of our centers. For example, staff from the Apopka Library visited our Zellwood center and read to the children.
For farm working families that did migrate north for work, our Center Coordinators and Family Support Workers continued efforts to stay in touch with them. As we do year after year with families that migrate, staff helps them fill out their applications over the phone and save their space for when they return, which typically ranges from August through November.
Summer may still sound like a break for education organizations like RCMA, but our dedicated staff always do everything we can for the families we serve.