Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In its 50th year, RCMA continues to expand migrant family services

DOVER — In 1965, the Redlands Christian Migrant Association opened the doors to its first two child care centers in Homestead with the hope that they could make an impact on the lives of migrant workers' families.

Today, it now operates more than 69 child care centers in 20 counties and serves a major part of the Hillsborough community.

"We were started in response to a need that the Mennonites saw in the Homestead area because there was no child care for farm workers, so they would end up taking their kids to the fields, said RCMA executive director Barbara Mainster. "The migrant farm worker community has grown and we're growing along with them to help meet their needs."

With an increasing need for child care assistance, RCMA has begun construction on a new $3 million center to serve the migrant farm worker population of Dover.

"That area near Plant City has had one of the largest waiting lists in the state," Mainster said. "In other words, we always have over 100 kids there who qualify, so that was one of the reasons why this needed to happen."

In a partnership with the Diocese of St. Petersburg Catholic Charities' San Jose Mission — which provides housing and other services to migrant farm workers — RCMA is rounding out a multifaceted assistance program for the Dover community.

"In the '90s, Catholic Charities really dedicated itself to working with USDA and other state housing initiatives to build 122 units of farm worker housing at San Jose Mission," said Diocese of St. Petersburg Catholic Charities Executive Director Mark Dufva. "Once you have 122 families living in an apartment complex then you need services and RCMA provides child care for the farm workers, which was critical."

Since the land was owned by Diocese of St. Petersburg Catholic Charities, RCMA worked closely with the organization to bring this new facility to life.

Currently serving 88 students, the new facility intends to bring in 136 more who qualify, which Mainster says will happen quite easily, since there is such a high need in the area.

"To qualify, children need to be between 6 weeks and 5 years old and both Mom and Dad need to be working in farm work and they have to travel to pick crops in other states," Mainster said.

While the new 15,000 square foot, 10 classroom building won't be completed until March, RCMA staff and Catholic Charities are happy to accommodate the migrant farm workers of Hillsborough with sensitivity and care.

"I think what's important is that we are hiring people from the same communities that we serve," Mainster said. "We can communicate, not only linguistically but culturally appropriately and understanding of what customs and what beliefs there are."

Contact Kelsey Sunderland at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

In its 50th year, RCMA continues to expand migrant family services 12/24/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 24, 2015 12:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Spanish police kill 5 in resort hours after Barcelona attack (w/video)

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — Police on Friday shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a car attack in a seaside resort in Spain's Catalonia region hours after a van plowed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade, killing at least 13 people and injuring over 100 others.

    A woman places a postcard of the Barcelona's Sacred Family cathedral next to bunches of flowers in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Police on Friday shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe's latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. [Associated Press]
  2. Invest 92 could target Florida as Tropical Storm Harvey heads west

    Hurricanes

    While Tropical Storm Harvey continues its westerly track toward Central America, forecasters are keeping a wary eye on a trailing system that could target the East Coast — and Florida — by late next week.

    While Tropical Storm Harvey moves west, forecasters are monitoring a system that could track toward Florida by the end of next week. [National Hurricane Center]
  3. Treasure Island facing massive municipal makeover

    Local Government

    TREASURE ISLAND — The first hint of the extent and potential cost of replacing city facilities became public Tuesday.

  4. Democrat Philip Levine won't attack Trump. Can he be Florida governor?

    Perspective

    If he decides to run, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine will be the most enigmatic and unpredictable candidate for Florida governor in 2018.

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is introduced before speaking at a Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting at the Ferguson Law Center in Tampa on May 19. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  5. Tim Tebow Week: 12 stories from his Tampa Bay tour

    Minors

    Alas, Tim Tebow Week — eight baseball games in eight nights that reunited Tebow with his Tampa Bay friends and admirers — is over. The fun ended Thursday night.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow meets fans and signs autographs before the beginning of the Mets at Threshers game at Spectrum Field on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 in Clearwater. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times