Mercy Drive Kidz Zone (MDKZ) is centered along Mercy Drive, home to several apartment complexes near the northwestern edge of Orlando’s city limits. Families living in this area now have the opportunity to experience the benefits of an Orlando Kidz Zone. The goal of the Mercy Drive Kidz Zone is to help children from cradle to career by increasing academic performance, reducing juvenile crime and reducing teen pregnancies.
In 2020, the city conducted a door-to-door survey of parents raising children in two low income apartment complexes in the Mercy Drive neighborhood. Survey results were alarming:
- 53% of households reported that their children had suffered the loss of a loved one over the past year;
- 66% of families run out of money to pay for basic needs each month;
- Only 48% of families are employed full-time;
- 40% of families do not feel that their children are safe in the neighborhood.
With the 2020 announcement that the city will replicate PKZ in Mercy Drive, children and families who reside there are experiencing the full benefits of a Kidz Zone.
Investments in Mercy Drive 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.