In recent years, the summer months have seen an increase in juvenile arrests according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. There are of course a number of contributing factors, but having a good bit of time on their hands while out of school is undoubtedly one of them.
There is a place in Tampa trying to take at-risk kids off the streets before they ever end up in the system. That program is called AMIKids. A place where one man says saved his life.
“If it wasn’t for AMIKids, I would be dead or in jail,” says Will Ortiz, 38. “Thinking back on the program, it was a gift. It was a gift, because it gave me a second chance at life. It gave me the equipment I needed to be successful.”
Will is a living testament to what the program can do for a young boy headed down the wrong path. The same can be said for 15-year-old Rockeon Scott.
“I felt like I was at a dead end,” says Scott. “I had no path to follow and I felt like I could never go back.”
Rockeon says he was bullied and never really felt like he belonged in all the other schools he has attended. And when it comes to the summer time, well that’s just a time where bad things could happen. He says he’s just happy he has AMIKids to go to.
“This is a year round school so we don’t really have choice to have summer time. We can have summer time as long as we are caught up," says Scott.
AMIKids is a prevention model education system and is all referral based. The program is also gender specific for boys ages 11-17 considered at-risk. The best part, it’s all free!
Spaces are limited, so if you know an at-risk boy in your life, refer him as soon as you can so that he is enrolled by the summer.
For more information you can visit: http://www.amikids.org