After-School All-Stars (ASAS) South Florida takes advantage of the warm weather and year-round sunshine to grow herbs and seasonal vegetables, which students then use in cooking class, take home to their families, and prepare and serve to the school community at culminating events.
Just a short 30 miles to the south of Miami is Homestead, an agricultural community with miles of lush farmland and raw wilderness that stretch as far as the eye can see. As Miami-Dade County’s second-oldest city (it was incorporated in 1913) it’s laden with lightless rough roads that turn pitch black after sunset–a challenge for any school bus to travel on. It’s a stark contrast to the manicured landscapes, high-rise condos, and bright lights of Miami Beach. Palm trees, fruit, spices, and other exotic plants grow in the mild, warm climate, and landscapers come to purchase the palms that will decorate the beautiful hotels that line the Beach where snowbirds flock to every winter, fueling the robust hospitality economy. But for the migrant workers and their kids living in Homestead, there’s no vacation wonderland to where they can escape.
ASAS South Florida serves three schools in Homestead and the unincorporated areas around it: Homestead Middle School, Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy, and Redlands Middle School. The students are the children of migrant agricultural workers, many of whom are undocumented. Like most of Miami, Spanish is the unofficial “official” language. Most students speak English and help translate for their parents and grandparents. Along with these language barriers, it’s somewhat challenging to recruit students to the afterschool program. Often, parents are afraid to have any written records that could be used against them if they were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Schools are safe havens, and ICE can’t legally detain students coming to or from school. That sense of security changed recently when a parent at an ASAS site in Homestead was picked up by ICE. It was a reminder of the fragility of these families’ situation.
Despite the hesitation to enroll their children, the lure of free transportation, homework help, and meals the program offers often wins parents over. Most parents take the bus to pick up their students, and most have already endured a grueling 3-hour round-trip commute to jobs in northern Miami Dade, so not having to pick up their student makes life a bit easier.
Our focus is to keep students safe during the hours of after-school. Our hope is that students gain valuable skills and go on to create their own brighter futures.
87%QUALIFY FOR FREE OR REDUCED LUNCH PROGRAM
- Black/African American51%
- Other 2%
- Foundation 3%
- 92% Program
- 4% Administration
- 4% Fundraising
Sean Prospect, Executive Director of After-School All-Stars of South Florida, has been a part of the After-School All-Stars organization since 2004. With his passion for helping others in need, Sean has dedicated his time to serving underprivileged children in the South Florida chapter of the largest middle school focused after-school program in America. He and his team strive to make their community a better and safer place and feel honored to be a part of an organization that can create numerous programs and opportunities for children across the country.