UCF Downtown

The University of Central Florida (UCF) is building a new campus in the heart of the Parramore neighborhood in downtown Orlando. This move will present a unique opportunity to rethink how universities do work in the community and how we organize ourselves to carry out that work.  UCF’s College of Health and Public Affairs (COHPA) and its Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) have been strategizing around how to engage and work with the Parramore community to achieve this goal.

A Commitment to Parramore

Responding to the elaborate efforts and feedback of the city of Orlando, VHB Orlando, and the Parramore community, the College of Heath and Public Affairs and Center for Community Partnerships have collaborated with Valencia College to develop five strategic initiatives to engage and support the Parramore community.

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Affordable Housing

We realize that gentrification is a real threat to the preservation and sustainment of affordable housing in Parramore. In partnership with the Central Florida Foundation and many other community nonprofit and private organizations, we are working to develop a community land trust that will help ensure the preservation of Parramore’s culture and heritage by exploring avenues to provide affordable housing for its residents. The land trust will be committed to creating permanently affordable rental housing and home ownership for low to middle income individuals and families. It will also work to promote revitalization in the neighborhoods of Parramore in which it operates as well as an opportunity-centered environment where families achieve, preserve, and sustain affordable housing and quality of life.

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Education

With the development of the OCPS Academic Center for Excellence· A Community Partnership School, and in conjunction with the new UCF and Valencia downtown campuses, we have an extraordinary opportunity to maximize opportunities for a child’s success from prenatal/early childhood to preparation of living wage employment. We will strive to create a seamless path from preschool to post-secondary education for every Parramore youth.

OCPS Academic Center for Excellence (ACE)

The $41.3 million Orange County Public Schools Academic Center for Excellence, or OCPS ACE, is an Orange County Public School that is being developed as a Community Partnership School through a partnership between four core partners:  Children’s Home Society of Florida, Orange County Public Schools, Orange Blossom Family Health and the University of Central Florida who all work together in developing a strategic plan to meet the school’s needs, including health care, counseling, mentoring, strong academics, and more.  Other community partners who are partnering with OCPS are the Rosen Foundation and Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida. Rosen will contribute free daycare for 2 to 4-year-old children as well as provide comprehensive scholarships to eligible seniors from Jones High School, the feeder high school to the Academic Center for Excellence. The Boys and Girls Club will offer youth development programs that focus on academics, character development, and healthy lifestyles.

A key role for UCF in the development of this community school partnership is as facilitator and convener, and to provide guidance, technical assistance and ongoing support in the formation of the partnership cabinet.  In addition, UCF facilitates the development of a clear organizational structure to ensure that the partners are able to, not only coordinate programs and services, but to jointly strategically plan together to ensure that the school and, most importantly the students, receive maximum support to address the obstacles and barriers that exist in their lives that leave them unable to fully participate in the educational process.  A key role of the partnership is to financially and programmatically plan for and sustain the wrap around services for students and their families including, healthcare, behavioral health, dentistry, parent outreach, education and case management, after school educational support and enrichment activities, and efforts to engage the community in supporting the work of the school for the benefit of its children.

Of course, in addition to its role as facilitator and convener, UCF will provide all the traditional university related opportunities to OCPS ACE and the surrounding Parramore community in forms of internships, volunteers, programming, etc.

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Health

Together through our partnerships with Orange Blossom Family Health, the Parramore community, and various internal and external partners, agencies, and organizations, we will work to develop a comprehensive community health focus that will enhance the health and civic infrastructure of the Parramore community.

Employment

By partnering together and leveraging their resources, UCF and Valencia and multiple community business partners, intend to generate employment and training opportunities for Parramore residents through sustained and coordinated job access, preparation, and placement.

Safety

UCF and Valencia, in partnership with the City of Orlando, will address many of the physical, social and safety issues facing the residents of Parramore on a daily basis. Together we will partner with community groups to remove physical, perceptual, social, and organizational barriers to life success. As a result, we hope to create a safe environment where people can thrive and take advantage of resources and opportunities to enable future life success.

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