Holden Heights Kidz Zone

In 2018, the city began to incrementally expand a handful of Parramore Kidz Zone programs into the adjacent neighborhood of Holden Heights, partnering with Kaley Square (thanks to a generous grant from Heart of Florida United Way) to offer programming to children outside Parramore for the first time. With the 2020 announcement that the city will replicate PKZ in three additional neighborhoods, children and families in Holden Heights will now have the opportunity to experience the full benefits of a Kidz Zone. This area is now officially the Holden Heights Kidz Zone.

Investments in Holden Heights aim to:

  • Increase the number of young children attending high quality preschool programs
  • Build positive parenting skills
  • Mitigate family economic instability
  • Enhance children’s physical health and wellness
  • Support academic success among elementary, middle and high school children
  • Increase the number of youth entering – and completing – post-secondary education
  • Keep older youth out of trouble and on a positive track toward social and economic success.

Holden Heights Kidz Zone Map

PKZ Baby Institute, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone Baby College, is a nine week program for parents of infants, toddlers and preschoolers.  Offered by the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County, Baby Institute classes focus on brain development, positive discipline and community pride, with the goal of helping parents be their child’s first teacher.

Community Coordinated Care for Children offers child care subsidies to Holden Heights families raising infants, toddlers and preschoolers, so they’re able to attend pre-kindergarten programs free of charge at high quality early learning sites in and around the neighborhood.

The Rosen Preschool offers a year round, full day, high-quality preschool program with capacity for 288 children ages two to four, free of charge for all children residing in the attendance zone of the OCPS ACE School in Holden Heights.

City of Orlando Student Advocates, based at elementary, middle and high schools attended by Holden Heights students, offer mentorship, academic support (test prep, advisement, etc.), advocacy, regular meetings, monitoring of attendance and grades, and support to ensure students stay on track for graduation, scholarships, college tours, educational, cultural and regional field trips.

Post-Secondary Advocates offer assistance with college applications and essays, assistance with scholarship applications and essays, FAFSA assistance, financial literacy training and support, academic advisement, dorm set-up, help for families of first-generation college students in understanding how things work, and all the support Holden Heights youth need to enroll in college and persist through graduation. 

  • Healthy Kids Orlando promotes healthy eating and daily exercise with gardening and cooking demonstrations.

  • Future Stars of Tomorrow offers mentoring through fitness.

  • The City of Orlando’s Recreation Division offers competitive sports programs for elementary and middle school-aged children in Holden Heights.

  • Orange Blossom Family Health offers primary medical care, oral health services, behavioral health and substance use services at via a pediatric health center, Orange Blossom Pediatrics, at the OCPS ACE School, attended by Holden Heights elementary and middle school-aged children.

     

Two City of Orlando neighborhood centers – the John H. Jackson Neighborhood Center and the Dr. J. B. Callahan Neighborhood Center - offer high-quality after-school programs for elementary and middle schools students that combine fun and learning. Students can participate in supervised recreational activities, homework assistance, and enrichment activities like garden club, Mayor Buddy’s Book Club, and performing arts programs.  A third site will open in Holden Heights – the Grand Avenue Neighborhood Center – in 2022.

The Orlando Community & Youth Trust offers a Youth Employment program, include job training, soft skills training, job placement and monitoring, internships, apprenticeships, help with resumes, and interview skills training.

Youth Entrepreneurship skills are offered through the Orlando Community & Youth Trust’s Black Bee Honey program, wherein students learn business skills including sales, marketing, accounting, government interaction, permitting, inspections, food handling certification, networking, time-management, problem solving, leadership and partnership with local organizations. Students also learn the skill of Beekeeping and the manufacturing of honey.

Let Your Voice Be Heard offers mentoring and support services to youth who are formerly or currently incarcerated, in foster care, in alternative education facilities, and/or referred from parents, teachers, etc. due to risk factors.  Services include group and one-on-one life skills training sessions, and case management to assist youth with employment, sustaining school enrollment, encouraging college enrollment/completion, providing housing assistance, connecting youth to mental health counseling and other social services, and intervening in cases of altercations in order to prevent violence.

The Orlando Magic offers the Magic of Mentoring program to help young men in high school find their path forward.

  • Social-Emotional support for students and families

  • Counseling resources including on-site support from University of Central Florida, crisis intervention

  • Partnerships with UCF, Life Counseling Solutions, Hope & Help and Devereaux Counseling

  • Employee training in Mental Health First Aid, Trauma Informed Care, iEmpathize and Human Trafficking Awareness.

  • Training for employees from Life Counseling Solutions

  • Community support including access to food banks, shelters, referrals to community programs and emergency financial resources to prevent evictions and utility shut-offs.