Ron Bradford of the University Area Community Development Corporation’s (UACDC) Prodigy cultural arts program addressed Florida State Legislators during the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation Meeting Dec. 2. The meeting was held at the University of South Florida’s Marshall Student Center.
Bradford explained to the delegation how Prodigy, funded by the Department of Juvenile Justice, delivers life skills such as communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution through performing and visual arts curriculum for at-risk youth ages 7-17. The program prevents youth from going deeper into the juvenile justice system, which in turn saves the state money, improves communities and truly transforms young lives.
Prodigy served 1,375 Hillsborough County, FL youth in the 2012-2013 grant year. The eight Prodigy locations in Hillsborough County include University Area Community Development Center, CDC of Tampa, Bible Truth Ministries, Florida Institute for Community Studies, Inc., Jackson Springs Recreation Center, South Shore Art Council-Big Draw Studio, South County Family Support and Resource Center and Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay in Brandon. Classes such as visual arts, dance, drums, keyboard and music production provide a meaningful activity after school and on Saturdays.
Prodigy reached 3,204 youth in the recent grant year through a seven-county region, which includes Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Polk, Pasco, Pinellas and Orange. Dollar for dollar, Prodigy is one of the lowest costs per youth programs in the state of Florida and has an 89 percent non-recidivism rate.
Members of the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation include Senators Jeff Brandes, Bill Galvano, Arthenia Joyner, Tom Lee and John Legg, as well as Representatives Janet Cruz, James Danish, Mark Grant, Jake Raburn, Dan Raulerson, Betty Reed, Darryl Rouson, Ross Spano and Dana Young.
Prodigy (transformingyounglives.org) is a research‐based diversion, intervention, and prevention program that provides a safe arena where at risk youth ages 7-17 learn communication, problem‐solving and conflict resolution skills through visual and performing arts. Prodigy currently serves more than 3,000 youth in seven West Central Florida counties and is operated by the UACDC in Tampa.
The University Area Community Development Corporation, Inc. (UACDC) is a 501©(3) public/private partnership whose mission is children and family development, crime prevention, and commerce growth. Its primary focus is the redevelopment and sustainability of the at-risk areas surrounding the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida. The UACDC was named nonprofit of the year for public and societal benefit by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2011 and 2012. It is headquartered in the University Area Community Center Complex, owned by Hillsborough County and operated by the UACDC, which is located at 14013 North 22nd Street in Tampa. For more information about UACDC, please visit UACDC's website or call Dan Jurman at (813) 558-5212 ext. 208.