Media Article Details
Date: 04/10/2014
Title: Hotelier Harris Rosen pledges college money for Parramore kids

Hotelier Harris Rosen pledges college money for Parramore kids

April 10, 2014|By Lauren Roth, Orlando Sentinel

Hotelier Harris Rosen is pledging to pay for the college educations of children in Orlando's Parramore neighborhood, modeling the effort after the nationally recognized Tangelo Park program that he started 20 years ago.

But several other pieces have to fall into place, including additional donors and educational programs, before plans can move forward, said Rosen's governmental consultant, Angel de la Portilla.

Several years ago, frustrated that other philanthropists haven't started similar programs, he began looking into duplicating it himself, his advisers said.

And in partnership with Orange schools, Parramore has become his next target.

His work would come under the umbrella of Orange schools' Philanthropic Strategic Plan, which includes a goal of expanding access to full-day pre-K programs modeled on the Tangelo Park model, said Debi Pedraza, development director for the school district.

"We're so blessed to have a benefactor like Harris Rosen," said School Board Chair Bill Sublette. "The work he has done in Tangelo is nothing short of remarkable."

In Parramore, the district is planning a new K-8 school that Sublette said will be "a jewel in our crown." It is envisioned as a community hub that will be open into the evening to offer social services.

A version of the Tangelo Park program "would be a tremendous benefit for our children in that community," said Superintendent Barbara Jenkins.

De la Portilla said high turnover among Parramore's residents means the program will need to adapt.

"Parramore poses vastly different challenges," he said, adding that is one of the reasons Rosen wants to see the preschool component start quickly.

"We want to make sure these families are committed from Day One to keep the kids in school," he said.

Source: The Orlando Sentinel
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