Fort Myers, FL, February 09, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- The ribbon cutting of the $5.8 million, 14,000-square foot Harlem Heights Cultural Arts and Community Center will take place on Thursday, February 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Center, located in the Harlem Heights community at 15570 Hagie Drive in Fort Myers. The event is free and open to the public.
The Heights Foundation supports the Heights Center, a place for education, opportunity, and enrichment. The Center’s mission is to promote family and community development, support education, health and wellness, and provide the benefits of enrichment, expressive and cultural arts in the Harlem Heights neighborhood.
The Heights Center stood as a shell for four years after the real estate crash forced a philanthropist to rescind a $4 million dollar pledge. “Because of the generous support of local donors, along with the tenacity and dedicated work of our Board of Directors, Advisory Committee, employees, volunteers, the residents of Harlem Heights and the Harlem Heights Improvement Association, we were able to make the Center a reality,” said Kathryn Kelly, President and CEO of the Heights Foundation. “We will open our doors debt-free.”
In 2012 the Heights Foundation and their partners provided 6,400 camp days, 6,000 afterschool days and 400 backpacks filled with supplies. Enriching afterschool and summer camp programs, literacy classes and early learning play groups helped children succeed in school. Adults in the Heights neighborhood benefited from financial education, Financial Peace training and volunteer tax assistance. “Our current programs are bursting at the seams,” said Kelly. “Our new center will allow our programs to grow and flourish. We welcome the community to join us for the ribbon cutting to celebrate this milestone.”
For more information call (239) 482-7706 or visit www.heightsfoundation.org
About the Heights Foundation and the Heights Center
The Heights Center, supported by the Heights Foundation, is a place for Education, Opportunity, and Enrichment. The Heights Foundation works to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood. As a 501(c)3 grassroots organization, the Center’s mission is to promote family and community development, support education, health and wellness, and provide the benefits of enrichment, expressive and cultural arts.
Harlem Heights was originally settled as a rural agricultural community. Approximately 1,200 children live in a mixture of single-family homes and multi-family apartments. Demographically, the population is approximately 55% Hispanic, 36% African-American, and 9% Caucasian. The poverty rate for children in Harlem Heights is more than twice the county average, with family income 40% below the county average. Families are not able to easily access family support services located in downtown Fort Myers, and benefit greatly from programs located within the neighborhood.