WUFT News

Ocala public policy program, Phoenix Rising, recognized by Harvard’s Kennedy School

By on September 28th, 2012

Florida might be home to Bright Futures, but the Harvard Kennedy School is known for its “Bright Ideas.”

Since 2010, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation announces an annual list of Bright Ideas it collected from across the country. These ideas come from local governments who show innovation in public policy, like programs that focus on teaching cyber safety to initiatives that make streetlights more energy effective.

The Ocala Police Department, partnering with city of Ocala, Workforce, and Marion County Habitat for Humanity, made the list of 2012 Bright Ideas this week, which featured 111 ideas total. According to the Ocala Star-Banner, the Center received 600 applicants this year.

The Phoenix Rising program helps “get young adults, 18- to 21-year-olds, the experience they need to be able to get a job, balance a checkbook, have their own apartment, buy a car,” said Laurie Whitaker, the grant manager of the Ocala Police Department. “To do all the things that a lot of us take for granted.”

Whitaker said the goal is to “mainstream them into the community.”

She thinks the program, and this new recognition by Harvard University, will inspire other cities or communities to do the same.

“We’re currently working with Habitat International to possibly garner funding to be able to put it out to their affiliates nationally,” Whitaker said.

Until then, the department is starting to work within Florida’s communities to try and institute the Phoenix Rising program in their areas.

Phoenix Rising is one of five “Bright Ideas” to come from Florida. The other four programs from Florida include:

  • The Charter School System from Pembroke Pines created a “municipally-managed public charter school system” in 2000, and the curriculum of the schools has been award-winning. This year marks the graduation of the first kindergarten class.
  • In Lee County, their entry was Animal Euthanasia Reductions. The program’s mission is to reduce the number of animals who are euthanized due to “poor economic conditions, including a high rate of home foreclosures and job loss by residents.” To combat pet overpopulation, shelter intake and taxpayer expenses, ”the agency implemented several initiatives to provide services to keep pets in loving homes rather than be surrendered to overcrowded shelters with limited capacity.”
  • Guests First, also in Lee County, provides “free hospitality education and training program to support and strengthen the economic viability of its primary industry.”
  • To provide a different level of visitation for inmates, the Mobile Inmate Video Visitation Bus was created by Pinellas County. It facilitates “visitations for residents with family and friends incarcerated at the Pinellas County Jail who otherwise would be unable to make the trip to the jail’s on-site visitation center.”

 Sami Main edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Florida, In the News and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

A wild hog mills around outside the runway enclosure of Williston Municipal Airport. The hogs often explore around a water source by the neighboring rock quarry, Barry said.

Hog Infestation Halts Historic Airport Runway

A hog infestation at Williston Municipal Airport’s grass runway is causing delays in the approval of the runway by the Federal Aviation Administration.


Photos of the "Incredible Flying Cars," made by ITEC.

The Men Behind the Flying Car That Crashed in Marion County

A flying car crashed on Tuesday in Marion County after going on an orientation flight. Two passengers suffered minor injuries but are currently safe.


Gov. Scott Announced Funding For Final Phase Of Restoration Projects

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced funding for the third and largest phase of early restoration projects to combat the Deepwater Horizon (BP) Oil Spill of 2010 on Oct. 7. Although $100 million was allocated to Florida by the Deepwater Horizon [...]


Florida bay scallops typically reach a shell height of three inches and have a life expectancy of one year. They have tiny blue eyes that help detect movement, and they can swim backward by opening and closing the two shells.

Scallop Researchers to Start Underwater Surveying

Now that the harvesting season is over, researchers are starting underwater studies to determine the state of scallop populations at 10 sites along the west coast of Florida.


At the initial hiring event in Orlando, Fla., 55 veterans and military personnel were in attendance. About 150 veterans have applied to work with the Department of Corrections since the initiative was launched on Jun. 26.

DOC Partners with National Guard, Hires Military Personnel

The Florida Department of Corrections partnered with the Florida National Guard to hire veterans and military personnel who are unemployed. These specialty hiring events last all day and are open to all branches in the Florida National Guard and Reserves.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments