Pahokee is known for its small population of less than 6,000 people, with the main source of infrastructure being farming; there are few resources for children and youth. Afterschool programs are vital to the City of Pahokee to ensure that youth have safe spaces to go to after the school bell rings. Committed to providing the best experience for its youth, the City of Pahokee’s Department of Parks and Recreation has been a participant of the Palm Beach County Quality Improvement System since 2015.
Since the pandemic, it has been rebuilding its afterschool program and looking to welcome youth in grades 6-8. The City of Pahokee primarily offers sports-focused activities, so it was important for this program to fully utilize their recreation space to provide a range of quality out-of-school time experiences for youth in middle school. With the help of Assistant Director Sedric Clervan, who has been a member of Prime Time’s Out-of-School Time Registry for seven years, and Quality Advisor Andrea Hurtado, they were able to create an action plan to bring improvements to the program.
“The City of Pahokee Parks and Recreation has engaged in training offered by Prime Time as well as being part of the STEAM cohort. The staff are always involved with the Staff Rating Youth Survey, a tool to gauge youth’s skills for life and learning. All these pieces have allowed the program opportunity to grow and improve.” – Andrea Hurtado, Quality Advisor, Prime Time Palm Beach County
For the past three years, the staff have utilized Prime Time’s expanded learning opportunities (ELO), which are completely free to the program and families. FLIPANY, one of many ELO providers, work with the youth to help bring life skills through culinary arts to its program. By teaching the youth how to prepare healthy meals and snacks through its Cooking Matters program. Implementing this program has helped grow the middle school afterschool program, which currently has 12 middle school- aged youth enrolled.
Recent improvements to its afterschool program included enhancements to the game room, and arts and craft space with a new air hockey table and a heat press. Through a generous donation, the site also received recording studio equipment. Mr. Clervan was able to create a recording space in the game room where the youth can write and record their own music. The new enhancements to the program have supported a safe, educational and fun afterschool experience for the youth attending City of Pahokee Parks and Recreation middle school program.
“It gives them a place where they can be themselves. Through recording music, I work with them on their grammar skills. They are having fun while still getting the education enrichment they need.”- Sedric Clervan, Assistant Director, City of Pahokee Parks and Recreation