SR article

THJrCA - Tampa Heights

In this article their will be elaborated on another western community center. This time the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association will be discussed.

Tampa Heights is one of the many neighbourhoods in the city of Tampa, Florida. It is often called the first suburb of Tampa, since it was established in 1880. This is when Tampa's first doctors, business owners, civic leaders and judges settled in the Heights. It is an area with a big ethnic diversity. The biggest part of the population (59.4%) is of the African American race, the rest is mostly made up by people from the White or Latino race. In recent years this neighbourhood has gone through a variety of development. The main reason being it's closeness to downtown. A lot of new businesses are popping up as well as the infrastructure connecting this neighbourhood to the city centre is improving.

But besides commercial development this neighbourhood also went through a social development. A good example of that is the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association (THJrCA). Located in an old church, this community centre focuses on the youth. As stated on their website; "Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association is a community-based, resident driven organisation that connects youth and families in the community; provides youth the opportunities to build leadership skills and civic involvement through mentoring, caring, and support; and secures resources to respond to identified needs." 

Their programs include an after school program which ensures that school going children are able to do their homework. Besides that children are thought life skills, reading comprehension is enhanced and computer technology and health awareness are taught. Also, it is a way to bring these kids that don't necessarily go to the same school together and give them a home away from home. Besides this they have a summer enrichment program, which is a educational program offers leadership training, sports and health awareness, entrepreneurship and community service activities preparing the youth for future leadership. Also there is a programme for high school students, making sure they can achieve their goals and readying them for college.

How do they fund all this? Besides the fact that it is a community centre depending on a lot of volunteers working for free. This community centre is very big on donations. Every page on their website ends with a donate link and from the funding list on this same website can also be concluded that a lot of big companies are already involved. Tampa Heights is a neighbourhood which is doing very well, and it seems like this is a way for the community to give back. Also, not all programs are free. They are not very expensive, but in some cases their is a fee when someone wants to take part of a certain program.

What can be taken from this community centre when looking at our internship? It is a community centre focusing on the youth and their future. Quite interesting are the various leadership and entrepreneurship training given. This is what our role will be as well. Also, it is a place where youth can keep track of their schoolwork. The Pavilions are also going to be a knowledge centre, not specifically for the youth though. Our way of funding is very different. We are not depending on funds, but want to do the opposite. Interesting for us though is that some of their programs are not completely for free. This might be interesting for us to do as well. This will also make the community feel more involved, because it has not just been handed to them.