BY JAMES HARPER
The Daytona Neighborhood Networks Centers held their fourth annual Honor Roll Dinner on July 6 at Martini’s Chophouse, 1815 S. Ridgewood Ave.
The evening began with chauffeured-driven limousines that picked up the kids at the three housing authority developments in Daytona Beach where the centers are located.
At the dinner, Pete Gamble, CEO of the Daytona Beach Housing Development Corporation, offered words of encouragement to inspire the kids “to continue working smart in school.”
Gamble also presented each youth with keys to the city and a certificate of recognition for their academic achievement signed by Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry.
Pierre Louis, director of the centers, says the dinner is part of the centers’ three-prong approach to provide community and support services that engage the students, their families and the community.
“It was a congratulatory reminder to commend students for their excellence in education,” Louis said.
During the month of June, the centers supported the Housing Authority of the City of Daytona Beach’s Fatherhood Initiative.
The Honor Roll Dinner allowed the youth to enjoy an elegant evening of fine dining and each youth received a gift card valued at $50.
Branches and staff
The Daytona Neighborhood Networks Centers is a program within the Daytona Beach Housing Development Corporation, which is under the leadership of Gamble.
The corporation works in partnership with the Housing Authority, whose CEO is Anthony E. Woods.
The Daytona Neighborhood Networks Centers’ three branches are located at Pine Haven Neighborhood Networks Center, 101 Carl Brinkley Circle; Palmetto Park Neighborhood Networks Center, 704 Hawk St.; and the Northwood Village Center located at 1200 Ninth St., Holly Hill.
In addition to Louis, other staff operating the centers are Karen King, Palmetto Park Center Coordinator; Nekeaya Jacobs Quann, Northwood Village Center Coordinator; and Seletha Bradley, Pine Haven Center Coordinator. The Palmetto Park center’s assistant is Kyara Jacobs.
Grades, projects monitored
During the school year, the centers are open for all Daytona Beach youth to participate in the after-school homework assistance programs at any of the centers.
Their grades and school projects are carefully monitored.
The coordinator pays particular attention to areas of improvement and assists the youth on their assignments. Also, each coordinator takes note of the FCAT levels and provides academic worksheets to help the kids improve their levels.
Louis said that at the end of each grading period, the youth bring in their report cards and the coordinators document each child that has appeared on the Volusia County Honor Roll. This allows the child to be able to attend the Honor Roll dinner at the end of the school year.
How they’re funded
The community centers were established as multi-service learning centers with seed funding that was established by the HOPE VI and ROSS (Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency) grants. The resources at the centers help improve quality of life of the students.
The centers have been able to provide more than 100,000 logins of public housing residents and area residents seeking classes on digital literacy, reviewing Florida Comprehensive Assessment test (FCAT) scores. Florida Virtual School, college students of Daytona State College and Bethune-Cookman University also use the services.
The centers also partner with the Central Florida Community Development Corporation (CFCDC), Center for Business Excellence and Daytona Beach Job Corps.