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Congresswoman Wilson Presents $6.4 Million Check to the Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade and Celebrates Grand Opening of New Club in Miami Gardens

Miami, Fla. – Today, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) presented a $6.4 million check to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade Inc. at the grand opening of the Dr. Frederica S. Wilson Club at Skyway Elementary School. The check includes funds for enhancements to the new club facility, the expasion of existing club programming for the NFL Club located in Gwen Cherry Park, and facility improvements to the Northwest Club.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the opening of the new Dr. Frederica S. Wilson Club, which will provide afterschool and summer programs for youth residing in the City of Miami Gardens. Unique to the new facility, the Dr. Frederica S. Wilson Club's enhancements will include non-traditional athletic facilities such as mini-golf greens and tennis courts. The Dr. Frederica S. Wilson Club will also provide afterschool and summer activities for over 100 children, such as sports games, team projects, art, homework help, counseling, and other enrichment activities.

The funds designated for the Northwest will help support the construction of a 2,500 sq ft. state-of-the-art learning center, including a STEM and computer lab, teen center and recreational areas, and complete refurbishment of the existing fields and gym. The remaining funds will be dedicated to the NFL Club located in Gwen Cherry Park Center to provide virtual reality career training, career seminars, homework help, counseling, and other enrichment activities. The community project funding earmarks secured by Congresswoman Wilson is a part of the FY 22 and FY 23 appropriations omnibus package.

Pictures from the event can be found here

"Many of us who work in education know after-school intervention is critical. We can either choose to pay to invest in our children now or pay later by building prisons and detention centers. We've seen firsthand how programs like these can make a difference in our student's lives," stated Congresswoman Wilson. "It's programs like the Boys & Girls Club and the 5000 Role Models, their work, and their successes that have allowed me to expand my mission of increasing in-school dropout prevention programs throughout our community. Boys & Girls Clubs have been a testament to what is possible with the resources we already have and the impact it makes. I'm honored to be here celebrating the grand opening of the Dr. Frederica S. Wilson Club and delivering a $6.4 million investment to our community."

In her remarks, Congresswoman Wilson shared how she’s seen too many children fall into the pit of crime when they leave their school campuses. She argues that most juvenile crime occurs after school, and partnerships such as those with the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade work to prevent this from happening. In line with her lifelong mission to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline as the founder of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence project, the funds secured will help expand afterschool education in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade.

As the former principal at the Dr. Frederica S. Wilson/Skyway Elementary School, Congresswoman Wilson boasted about this unique partnership and remarked more should be done recreated it in schools throughout the county. With schools providing the existing infrastructure to operate Boys & Girls Club programs, she believes their expansion will save generations of children by providing an outlet during these critical hours focusing on academics, health, and leadership with trained staff to guide, coach, and motivate youth. Since the announcement of a Boys & Girls Club opening at the Dr. Frederica S. Wilson/Skyway Elementary School, the under-enrolled campus has already seen an increase in student enrollment from the surrounding community.

"Schools are the center of communities, the heartbeat and lifeline of our communities. That is why we are here today, to build off the excellence of this institution by building something that will reach families,” said Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Mayor. "When Congresswoman Wilson says she is going to get something done in, whether it's for children in Africa or children in Miami-Dade County, she delivers."

"I'm honored and humbled that this innovative partnership and this historic moment is starting here, in District 1. This vision started well over a year ago and today, we sit here in celebration and solidarity with Congresswoman Wilson's vision. We would not be here today without this partnership," said Dr. Steve Gallon III, Miami-Dade County School Board Member. "Today, we are making history in Miami-Dade Public School and at the Dr. Frederica S. Wilson/Skyway Elementary School." 

“I want to thank all our community members, Congresswoman Wilson, the Boys & Girls Club, and everyone who has come together to make this happen. This school will become a hub for this community,” remarked Jose Dotres, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “I cannot thank Congresswoman Wilson enough for delivering for children time and time again.”

“Young men and girls will be the foundation of this country for decades to come. What you are seeing is a village that is strong, a village that believes that if we in give kids the tools they need, they will give us the world,” stated Commissioner Oliver Gilbert, Chair of the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners. “What we have done today is no small thing. Congresswoman Wilson has given us what we need to build a country that will thrive far into the future. This will make a difference in the lives of so many.”

“We know that in order to make a difference, it takes dedicated group to ensure we’re lowering the obstacles and getting investments to where they’re needed to change the lives of children in our community. And this is an incredible example of teamwork,” said Andrew Stuart, Board Chairman of the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade.

"This is the vision of two great entities that serve kids day in and day out, coming together to pursue a goal of creating opportunity and success for our kids. It's all about them. Children are 20% of our population, but they are 100% of our future, and we have to continue to support them," stated Alexander Rodriguez-Roig, President of the Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade. So, here we are today, establishing yet another Boys & Girls Club one school at a time."

Background: Children who participate in afterschool programs like the Boys & Girls Club are 75% less likely to be caught up in the juvenile justice system, and the likelihood of them falling into drugs decreases drastically by 49%. Students who are supervised after school are less likely to become teen parents and are more likely to complete homework daily.  Without the supervision of afterschool programming, nearly 76% of American children return to an empty home during the critical hours of 3:00 PM–6:00 PM.