Every new year is an opportunity for a fresh start: a chance to learn, develop and improve on your way to a richer and fuller life. Families in Miami-Dade County are fortunate to be able to count on The Children’s Trust, which offers an array of free or low-cost programming through its providers for everyone from toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children and even young adults.
Finding what programs, resources and services are available can be a daunting task as parents weigh the needs, interests and other factors surrounding their children’s development. To guide them through all the choices and help find the one that best their family’s needs, The Trust recently relaunched a new and improved Find-A-Program page on its website.
And while parents can search everything from early learning programs to after-school and summer camp programs, as well as family supports on public benefits enrollment program on the website, here is a list of programs, events and other programming that parents should be aware of to make the most of 2024:
The years between birth and 5 years of age are the most important in the development as 90 percent of a child’s brain is formed during this period. The Trust recognizes this critical stage and has prioritized early learning through its Thrive by 5 initiative. Among its most popular programs is the The Children’s Trust Book Club, which offers free, monthly books and reading and activity guides to all children from birth to 5 years old in the county. The Book Club already has close to 45,000 members and always looking for more. Visit TheChildrensTrust.org/Book-Club, or text “READ” to 786.460.CLUB (2582).
For parents who are looking to improve their relationships with their children or pick the minds of other parents, The Trust offers free Parent Club workshops throughout the county, in three languages (English, Spanish and Haitian Creole). The Children’s Trust has partnered with local parenting experts and Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) to offer FREE, countywide workshops on relevant topics about raising children that are successful, healthy, and happy. At each 60-minute workshop, caregivers may receive free child care for children 3-12 years old, a snack, and entry into a raffle drawing with the completion of a short post-workshop survey. For more information on the Parent Club or to register for a virtual or in-person workshop, visit TheChildrensTrust.org/Parent-Club.
The connection between sports and team play and development of physical, emotional and social growth in children and adolescents is well documented. A new partnership between The Trust, U.S. Soccer Foundation, Miami-Dade County and Griffin Catalyst is bringing free league soccer play to kids from 11-17. More than 50 new soccer mini pitches - many in underserved communities - are scheduled to be built by 2026. To find out more about the Just Ball League and more soccer programming brought to you by The Trust and U.S. Soccer Foundation, visit TheChildrensTrust.org/soccer.
Kids in Miami-Dade County that have music, acting or other performing talents and are looking to share those talents with the rest of the county - and possibly win big prizes - should sign up for the auditions for this year’s Young Talent Big Dreams competition, sponsored by The Trust. Auditions start in late March throughout the county with semifinals and finals scheduled in May. For more information visit https://www.actorsplayhouse.org/press-ytbd.
On April 11, The Trust will holds its signature celebration honoring the foremost child advocates and programs that serve children and families in Miami-Dade with its 18th Champions for Children Award Ceremony. The event brings together over 1,000 child advocates to celebrate those who have shown exemplary service in the past year or over their lifetimes. For tickets and to find out more information about honorees, visit TheChildrensTrust.org/Champions.
Ahead of the summer, rising 10th-12th graders may want to sign up for the Summer Youth Internship Program, which offers a 5-week internship at businesses and organizations across the county. The internship includes interview experiences, meeting and working with professionals, completing real work assignments and giving them real-world experiences for future jobs. Participants are paid a stipend for the internship. Visit miamiinterns.org for more information.
Over the summer and ahead next school year, The Trust will hold its annual Family Expo events. The Family Expo continues to be the best chance for families to connect with the Trust’s extensive provider network as well as other community agencies and organizations that serve them. Events are held at various locations and on different days to make sure to reach the largest number of our diverse population in Miami-Dade. To find this year’s location and more details visit TheChildrensTrust.org/FamilyExpo ahead of the summer.
In late October, The Trust-sponsored Spooky Symphony free, frightfully entertaining Halloween concert and multimedia presentation in one, made possible through the combined talents of the Alhambra Orchestra and the Greater Miami Youth Symphony (GMYS). Visit www.TheChildrensTrust.org in early fall for details.
Throughout the year, The Children’s Trust will hold other events and activities to serve the community. Check the Trust website or social media channels to keep informed. Parents and caregivers should also visit 211miami.org or call 211 for listings of summer camps, after-school programs and other free and low-cost programming.