Dr. Dashia Andrews (standing) takes the chance during the first set-up meeting to answer questions from the IE2 Experience Success Coaches. Left to right: Brandon Davis, Leahna McCartney, Emmanuel Jackson, and Travon Brown.

Dr. Dashia Andrews (standing) takes the chance during the first set-up meeting to answer questions from the IE2 Experience Success Coaches. Left to right: Brandon Davis, Leahna McCartney, Emmanuel Jackson, and Travon Brown.

Councilwoman Jennifer Bailey and the Southwest Advisory Committee (SWAC) created the motto, “SWAC’s Got Your Back”, last year and have helped bring yet another innovative program to empower Homestead’s youth.

The free IE2 Experience (Inspire. Engage. Employ.) is open to high school students ages 15-19 as a college and career readiness program. Students meet with “Success Coaches” Tuesdays and Wednesdays 5:00-7:00 p.m. through May 31, 2020 at Phicol Williams Community Center. While ACT/SAT

preparation and scholarship and entry essays are part of the curriculum, other paths may be a better fit. Some students might be ready for part time employment as they simultaneously receive financial coaching. Vocational training, considering the military, or the first steps toward being an entrepreneur will be options as well.

Dashia Andrews, PhD, Director of Engagement and Economic Access at the Overton Youth Center heads the program which is being held at ten different sites. “I’ve known Sharon for about five years. When we got the grant,

I knew I wanted to expand south and reached out to her.”

The “Sharon”, as in Sharon Coleman, Program Development Coordinator for the SBC Community Development Corporation (SBC CDC) in Richmond Heights, has collaborated with several Homestead City Council members for different projects; primarily focused on children and families. One of their major joint efforts headed by Councilwoman Bailey was the popular May 2019 Art Walk in Blakey Park.

As enjoyable as that event was, the IE2 Program is designed for a different

purpose. Energy was high Tuesday, October 15th in the initial meeting with the four Success Coaches to complete paperwork, discuss procedures, and answer questions. Each coach can work with up to eight students and all are

looking forward to the months ahead. The numbers of coaches and students can be expanded if there is an increased response within the community.

Leahna McCartney, a Killian High School graduate and Special Education teacher who lives in Homestead, is the team lead.

Travon Brown, who graduated Homestead High School, has also established his own non-profit, BYOL (Build Your Own Legacy). Among their contributions to the neighborhood was a recent “clean-up” when Councilwoman Bailey mentioned them on Facebook, “Thank you Byol Brand for contributing to our HCPC (Homestead Community Pride Cleanup)! The boys helped make the SEDMA Breast Cancer Awareness Walk an even nicer walk by clearing the streets and sidewalks of litter.”

Emmanuel Jackson, recently relocated from Tampa and with Americorps, has worked extensively with foster children. “I want to teach the kind of information to youth that I did not have in going from high school into college.” [Americorps is one of the sponsors of the program.]

Brandon Davis, living in Goulds for the past ten years, was interested in the opportunity for mentorship. “With this program I am hoping to mentor young adults to learn life and educational skills. Life skills are something that young people are not taught in the school system, but they will use the most often when they graduate. Through the educational curriculum and tutoring we will be able to see where each young adult is less strong at and be able to support them to achieve in the areas that they aspire. We want them to be independent young adults who can support themselves and eventually build legacies for themselves and their families.”

As part of her discussion with the coaches about the curriculum, Andrews said, “The guide is a guide, not a Bible. See what your kids want and need. If you have a student who wants to find a job for Christmas, you may need to go right into resume writing.”

Coleman added there were many community resources they could tap into such as the Southwest Advisory Committee, Homestead Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), SBC CDC, and other organizations and local businesses with different assets.

All 15-19 years old students, to include any with special needs, are eligible for the free, exciting program. For information, contact SBC CDC, (305) 232-0499 ext 138; email: accounts@sbccdc.com

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