- Preparing Homestead's youngest residents for educational excellence and life success
Le Jardin Community Center has a motto that reads, “Planting Seeds for the Future”; Le Jardin does just that through a whole-child, whole-family approach. Le Jardin provides opportunities for children and their families to learn, to develop, and to enhance their potential.Le Jardin’s Head Start/Early Head Start program has progressed far beyond the concept of high-quality day-care. Le Jardin is a private, non-profit organization that ensures economically disadvantaged children have a high-quality education in language, math, creative arts, and science. Le Jardin also targets children’s physical and social skills. At the same time, Le Jardin provides the same high-quality services to families, including job skills, literacy training, and parenting skills.
Le Jardin is preparing Homestead’s youngest children for a life of educational excellence. “We aim to break the poverty cycle of low-income families,” said Audelia Martinez, CFO/COO. Le Jardin prepares children to leap into kindergarten and works with local schools, so the transition to public schools is seamless. Ms. Martinez added, “Le Jardin provides parents with the necessary educational and vocational tools to get ahead in life and rise above the extreme conditions they face.”
Le Jardin is part of the Head Start/Early Head Start program, a federally funded program that is 54 years old today and has served more than 32 million children.
Le Jardin has been transformed dramatically under the leadership of Eduardo Berrones, the executive director. Le Jardin was a small school serving 80 children when he was appointed and has expanded to serve more than 800 children because of the high need in the area and the high-quality education that Le Jardin offers. As the executive director, Eduardo Berrones has always emphasized quality. “When I started as executive director, I encountered an organization with great potential, but it was educating the children in the same environment in which they lived. We were providing day-care but not education. We needed to change and improve radically,” he added.
Berrones and the board of directors began their radical change by building partnerships with foundations, acquiring funding from government agencies, and receiving funding from private corporations. Every single dollar was re-invested in Le Jardin Centers and given back to the community through Le Jardin’s programs. The results have been consistent and remarkable.
Le Jardin serves over 800 children in seven centers, with one administrative office, employing approximately 300 people from the community. Le Jardin can serve these children through a combination of funding sources: Head Start/Early Head Start; Early Learning Coalition – School Readiness Funding; Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade and other local support.
Le Jardin celebrates the achievements of its alumni and their parents. Many former Head Start parents work for the organization: teachers, curriculum specialists, and of course Audelia Martinez, the CFO/COO of the organization. Le Jardin students have graduated and progressed to teachers, dental hygienists, and a software engineer in Silicon Valley. “One of our newest family workers is a Le Jardin graduate who returned to ‘give back’ to the community,” Mr. Berrones mentioned.
Le Jardin also celebrates throughout the year with three community events: A Books Come to Life Parade in the fall and an Annual Father-Daughter Dance in April. However, the most exciting event is the annual Art and Jazz Night in February. Children and their families study an artist in depth and then create works within their style. While a jazz trio plays, these works are displayed with an “About the Artist” tag and sold as part of a fund-raiser. These events celebrate the work of Le Jardin’s children and families and introduce young children to literacy, art, and music.
Just as Le Jardin’s children plant seeds in gardens, Le Jardin Community Centers plant seeds of hope and ability in children and families. For more information visit www.lejardinccinc.org
Haz clic para leer en Español: Plantando Semillas para el Futuro