By Lauren Pastrana
MIAMI, Florida (WFOR) — An afterschool program in Miami’s West Little River neighborhood is putting kids in charge and to work- as early as kindergarten.
Welcome to “Dukeville” it’s like a tiny city where all the students have jobs and run everything including the government.
This is at New Jerusalem Baptist Church and it’s a program called MicroSociety.
The program uses society building to fuel a love of learning and there are schools all over the world doing this.
Walking down the hallway at the school it looks like a mini main street, there is a Post Office, a bank, shops, police officers, and elected officials.
The students apply for the positions and at least for a few hours after school, everyone goes to work.
Sabrina Floyd is the director of the New Jerusalem Community Development Corporation, which runs the program now in its 15th year.
“MicroSociety allows our children to be able to understand what means to live in a community at a young age,” Floyd explains.
Jobs like shop owner, artist, postal worker, kitchen staff, and mayor are included.
The kids create a constitution and have to obey the laws or they get a ticket, pay a fine or argue their case at a town hall meeting every week.
“They bring up any issue that they’re having with any employee or any of the ventures and they talk about it at town hall meetings and then they come together for problem-solving,” Floyd said.
Students like Kwame, a fifth grader went from working in the post office to being elected mayor.
“I’m learning about taxes I’m learning about the bank I’m learning about everything.”
Sisters Paris and Peyton love making art, going to the shops, and making money to spend on food.
So many valuable lessons and they are having a great time too.
This is one of many afterschool programs funded by The Children’s Trust as a strategic investment that improves the lives of all children and families in Miami-Dade County.
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