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. Pinellas sheriff's corporal had racist, sexist, pornographic content on his cell phone

    Public Safety

    LARGO — A Pinellas County sheriff's corporal resigned recently after an investigation into an alleged extramarital affair revealed a trove of racist, sexist and pornographic images on his personal cell phone.

    Shawn Pappas, 46, resigned as a training division corporal from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office after an investigation revealed a trove of offensive images and videos on his phone. This photo was taken as a screenshot from one of the videos released by the Sheriff's Office that Pappas filmed while on duty. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine reflects on the news from the Congressional Budget Office analysis that could imperil GOP leaders' hopes of pushing their health care the plan through the chamber this week, Tuesday, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP photo]
  3. Review: Dan Auerbach, Benjamin Booker plumb the past for inspiration on new albums

    Music & Concerts

    It didn't take Benjamin Booker long to get lumped in with the greats. The Tampa-raised singer-songwriter's 2014 self-titled blues-punk debut brought widespread acclaim, not to mention an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, a tour with Jack White and sessions with Mavis Staples.

    The cover of Benjamin Booker's new album "Witness." Credit: ATO Records
  4. Fourth of July in Tampa Bay: parades, hot dog parties, concerts and more things to do

    Events

    Looking for things to do on the Fourth of July in Tampa Bay? There is no shortage of patriotic events, from the Hot Dog Party concerts and eating contest in Tampa, to the parades in Land O' Lakes and Safety Harbor, to the swinging dance party at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine arts, there's an abundance of things to do …

    The annual Independence Day parade in Brandon kicks off at 10 a.m. on July 4 at 101 E Lumsden Road. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times (2015)]
  5. Pasco deputies investigate vandalism at Crystal Springs Cemetery (w/video)

    Crime

    CRYSTAL SPRINGS — Pasco County deputies are looking for one or more suspects linked to vandalism of two grave sites in this community's small cemetery.

    An above-ground tomb disturbed by one or more suspects, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.