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MAY 2017

Top 5 Reasons You Should Be There Student Success SPECIAL FEATURE In the eyes of a Prodigy Instructor

In the


Prodigy’s Big Capitol Ascent

Prodigy Sites

Got Talent? We’ve got class-es! Call or visit a site to learn more!

Hillsborough County

Pasco County

BGC Brandon Prodigy®

BGC Lacoochee Prodigy®

Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay, Inc. Bill Carey Brandon Unit 213 North Knights Avenue, Brandon, FL 33510 813-685-2006

Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay, Inc. 38724 Mudcat Grant Boulevard, Lacoochee, FL 33537 352-583-0642

FICS Prodigy® Florida Institute for Community Studies, Inc. 6704 Hanley Road, Tampa, FL 33634 813-249-8100

Prodigy Moves® University Area CDC 14013 North 22nd Street, Tampa, FL 33613 813-558-5212 x 303

THA Prodigy® Tampa Housing Authority 5301 West Cypress Street, Tampa, FL 33607 813-341-9101 N

UACDC Tampa I Prodigy® University Area CDC 14013 North 22nd Street, Tampa, FL 33613 813-558-5212 x 217

Orange County ONIC Prodigy® Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corporation 101 South Terry Avenue, Orlando, FL 32805 407-648-1623

Saint Leo Prodigy® Saint Leo University Department of Social Work University Campus, MC2067, Saint Leo, FL 33574 352-588-7425

Pinellas County YMCA Prodigy® YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, Inc. 600 1st Avenue North, Suite 201, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-895-9622

Polk County Girls Inc. Prodigy® Girls Inc. of Lakeland 1220 West Highland Street, Lakeland, FL 33815 863-682-3002 x 222

Heartland Prodigy® Heartland for Children 1239 East Main Street, Bartow, FL 33830 863-232-7036

Oasis Prodigy® Oasis Community Church 3330 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland, FL 33803 863-667-2000 x 150

Osceola County EF Prodigy® The Foundation for Osceola Education, Inc. 2310 New Beginnings Road, Suite 118 Kissimmee, FL 34744 407-870-4855



The Evolution of The Battle Prodigy’s signature dance event now delivers with a twist

Through the Years The Remixd Prodigy Urban Arts Jam is just one crown jewel amongst Prodigy’s annual treasure of events. However, as momentous as it is, its origins are far from meager. Listed below is a snap shot of how the event has evolved throughout the years. 2013 Location: University Area CDC Attendance: 150 Highlights: small but epic, this first installment proved the event could be an annual affair 2014 Location: University Area CDC Attendance: 200 Highlights: bigger and better, the second year increased in student and community attendance

Pictured above and on the cover: a crowd at the Boys & Girls Club of Lacoochee watches on as a Prodigy student competes at the 2015 Turn Up III dance battle. In 2013, the first ever Turn Up Prodigy Dance Battle was held at the University Area CDC, introducing a crowd of over 150 participants and guests to the art of competitive urban dance. Students traveled from several different Prodigy sites for the event. Since then, Turn Up has taken place annually, growing in attendance and participation each year. The next edition, to be held on June 17, 2017 at Tampa’s University Mall, will deliver an even broader appeal with its new location and ramped up exhibitions. Wrapped into a larger event called the Remixd Prodigy Urban Arts Jam, this year’s dance battle will feature community participants and, for the second year in a row, a team dance category. The overall new title event, Remixd, will feature a DJ cut and scratch demonstration, an urban wear fashion segment, an emcee freestyle battle and live urban art. To learn more about this exciting event, enlist as a sponsor or register as a participant, please visit or call 813-558-5212.

2016 Location: Brandon Boys & Girls Club Attendance: 250 Highlights: Turn Up IV saw a greater array of entertainment offerings as planners expanded event amenities 2017 Location: University Mall Estimated attendance: 400 Highlights: the event lands in its largest venue yet and integrates other elements of the urban arts such as graffiti art and emceeing


In this Issue Listing of Prodigy Sites In the Spotlight The Rewind Top 5 Special Feature Monthly Event Calendar

2015 Location:: Boys & Girls Club of Lacoochee Attendance: 250 Highlights: for the third year of the Turn Up dance battle, the event landed in Lacoochee, FL and focused more on the talents of Prodigy students

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Register today at Award categories include: All Styles Individual Team Choreo Challenge Cypher King & Queen Funky Fresh Dressed Got a Story to Tell?

: Prodigy Cultural Arts Program Visit us online at

For content suggestions, please send an email to Davida A. Bowen at


Prodigy Ambassadors Team The

Delegates from the 2017 Prodigy Ambassadors Team

Pictured above: students, parents and staff of the Prodigy Ambassadors Team

When Prodigy administrators began planning this year’s Rock the State Capitol Ambassadors Program, they ran into a dilemma: parents of some of the most promising students wanted to be involved yet staffers had never taken parents on their journey to Tallahassee before. The solution was to simple: develop an ambassadors team inclusive of students, parents and staff. As a result, half a dozen parents participated in the program and three were selected to join students and staff on their trip to the Florida State Capitol for Children’s Week. Prior to the trip, Prodigy Ambassadors attended two, half-day development workshops and participated in virtual training exercises. For two weekends in a row, delegates traveled across six Central Florida counties to workshop destinations in Tampa and Lakeland. Logistically, travel arrangements were a bit of a challenge given the distances and multiple departure points. However, the return on investment for such an effort made it worthwhile. While in Tallahassee, Prodigy Ambassadors went to work. Over the course of a day and a half, they met with the offices of 24 legislators. The team also conducted outreach in the courtyard and rotunda of the Capitol building. A most prized moment was a touching group hug shared with Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christy Daly. One of the most crucial moments was the presentation Prodigy Director Mike Trepper made at the budget hearing for the Senate’s Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee. Because of the newly expanded ambassadors program, parents are now able to gain information and experiences to better advocate for the Prodigy Cultural Arts Program. If you’re interested in advocating for Prodigy, please visit the program online at and click on the questions tab for ways you, too, can help.

Student Ambassadors Karina Balkaran, EF Prodigy Savina Balkaran, EF Prodigy Ellen Garcon, BGC Brandon Prodigy Emile Hernandez, FICS Prodigy Evan Huff, Saint Leo Prodigy Adani Humbar, Oasis Prodigy Larisha Lopez, Tampa I Prodigy Amari McNair, Girls Inc. Prodigy Alondra Santoyo, Heartland Prodigy Destiny Sims, BGC Lacoochee Prodigy Raquel Still, YMCA Prodigy Joramyeliz Ramos, ONIC Prodigy Desmond Roman, THA Prodigy Andre Zephirin, Saint Leo Prodigy Parent Ambassadors Kish Munjal Balkaran, EF Prodigy Tatiana Mesa, FICS Prodigy Nicola Wallen, Oasis Prodigy Staff Ambassadors Julio Bermudez, Prodigy Moves Davida A. Bowen, Prodigy Central Daniel Khahaifa, Prodigy Central Tajuana Cox, Prodigy Central Rosie Jensing, Prodigy Central Danjela Jimenez, BGC Lacoochee Prodigy Junior Polo, Saint Leo Prodigy & Tampa I Prodigy Paulette Rolle Alesnik, Prodigy Moves Executive Personnel Sarah Combs, University Area CDC Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer Nestor Ortiz, University Area CDC Chief Operations Officer Mike Trepper, Prodigy Director



2017 Rock the State Capitol Initiative

The 2017 Rock the State Capitol Initiative provided the Prodigy Ambassadors team many memorable moments (see photos below pictured clockwise from top left): Prodigy Ambassadors participate in a development workshop at Oasis Community Church, Lakeland, FL; ambassadors look on as a drill team performs in the Capitol courtyard; Prodigy instructor Junior Polo gives a piece of art to a guest who stopped by The Art of Success exhibit in the Capitol rotunda; several ambassadors walk through the Prodigy exhibit; University Area COO Nestor Ortiz poses with three other ambassadors alongside Representative Janet Cruz; two student ambassadors pose in front of the Great Seal of The State of Florida







PRODIGY URBAN ARTS JAM This year, Prodigy set out to create more ways for the community to enjoy our annual exhibition of urban dance. In doing so, we’ve created the Remixd Prodigy Urban Arts Jam and we think we’re onto something. To prove it, here are five reason why members of the community should make their way out to this phenomenal event.



Delivers more ways to compete

Delivers more entertainment

The Turn Up Dance Battle has opportunities for individual Prodigy students to compete along with:

Along with the Turn Up Dance Battle, Remixd will feature:

Thanks to event sponsors such as the University Area CDC and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, admission for Remixd is free of charge and includes:

 An opening

performance by Hyfa tha Prospect

 Youth and adult

participants from the community

It’s totally free

 Special giveaways

 A freestyle rap battle

 Discount food offers

 A DJ scratch demo

 Dance, drill and step

 An Urban fashion show



5. It’s lots of fun Planned for the entire community to enjoy, guests will be able to:  Take free photos at

the Snap That photo booth

 Have fun in the Game

Alley for Kids

 Create cool arts and


 Tag the Graffiti Live



It’s at the mall This year it’s going down at University Mall! Special mall offerings include:  Access to 126 merchants including a 14 screen movie theater  Spacious, updated restrooms and seating areas  A food court featuring 10 eateries  Free parking

To learn more about this exciting event or to enlist as a sponsor, please visit or call 813-558-5212. 6

{ S P E C I A L

F E A T U R E }

From the Heart How one Prodigy instructor assures student success


One Village, a Voice of Many

Pictured above: Development Specialist Davida A. Bowen’s favorite photo from the Turn Up III Prodigy Dance Battle

Pictured above: Prodigy Instructor Jay Tillman lines his students up to rehearse a step routine for their 2017 showcase. Standing a stoutly six and a half feet tall, Jay Tillman towers over his group of middle school Prodigy students at the Freddy Solomon Boys & Girls Club. For 3 years he’s been at the helm of F.S. 88, a step and drum line team for BGC Brandon Prodigy. Through relentless persistence, he has instilled a high level of discipline in his students which has propelled F.S. 88 to become highly recognized and acclaimed in the Tampa Bay area. Yet, beyond Mr. Tillman’s tough demeanor lies the heart of a gentle giant. It’s that balance of austerity and love which makes his students successful. “I believe a coach is supposed to motivate the people under them to be better,” shared Mr. Tillman, who is mostly referred to as Coach Jay. He came up with the idea of F.S. 88 when he was asked to put something together the kids could be proud to represent. He was also asked to make sure it would be big enough to stand on its on. “Freddie Solomon, that's where the F.S. comes from and his jersey number in the NFL was 88,” Coach Jay asserted. The Freddie Solomon Boys & Girls Club already had a rich heritage in the Nuccio neighborhood of Tampa because of the work of its late namesake as an after school mentor and youth football coach. “F.S.88 is more than a step team or drum line or production team. F.S.88 is a dedication to the legacy of a man that I can honestly say I've never met but I know why he is missed. I can only hope I can inspire as many people as he did in my time.“ Coach Jay’s approach lends to his students’ success both inside and outside of the classroom. “If you teach self-discipline and instruct them to believe, achieve and accomplish they can use these methods to excel in the classroom as well,” he insisted. “My self-discipline allows them to push themselves when the classroom throws them a challenge.“ According to Coach Jay, at the end of the day, the success of his Prodigy students relies upon his own intent. Professing his purpose, he shared, “I believe leaders are born not chosen.” Ultimately, Coach Jay is doing just what he was born to do - lead. - Contributed by Rosie Jensing, Prodigy Professional Development Specialist

If you are on social media, Prodigy needs your help. We are trying to make prospective donors aware of the wonderful work we do. To help spread the word about our program, we ask that you take a moment to post either a photo of your favorite Prodigy moment or work of art. You can also simply post a selfie. When publishing your post, please use #IamProdigy and tag the Prodigy Cultural Arts Program, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the University Area CDC and your local legislators. For more information about how you can support our program, please contact Prodigy Director Mike Trepper at 813-558-5212 ext. 313 or via email at

The Prodigy Cultural Arts Program is much more than your typical afterschool program. Last year, through the delivery of 16,500 annual hours of art infused life skills to 3,455 students, our program helped save Florida’s juvenile justice system $160 million! That amounts to over $400,000 a day!


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University Area CDC 14013 N. 22nd St., Tampa, FL 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Networking 9:30 am

& E V E N T S

About the Prodigy Cultural Arts Program The purpose of the Prodigy program is to provide the instruction, tools and resources that will lead to transformed lives. Youth are encouraged to explore themes and ideas that develop a sense of self-worth, as well as appreciate the worth and value of others and the world in which they live. When youth have a better understanding of who they are and how they connect with their communities, they are better prepared to become productive and socially responsible adults. For more information, visit 8

Prodigy Monthly May 2017 Edition  

From their trip to the Florida State Capitol to their latest urban arts event, the Prodigy team shares with readers the successes of their p...

Prodigy Monthly May 2017 Edition  

From their trip to the Florida State Capitol to their latest urban arts event, the Prodigy team shares with readers the successes of their p...