It was formed in 1966 amid racial and economic tensions to give young people, filled with frustration, ways to voice how their community could transform poverty and violence into positive change. Its founder, Frances Henderson, was a woman with great vision and energy, who began TACOLCY in a small wooden neighborhood house so youth would have a safe place to gather. She campaigned to enlist celebrities and politicians to help build up TACOLCY's programs.
Early supporters included Muhammad Ali, Jackie Gleason and Sidney Poitier. In December of 1967, entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte made a generous donation that enabled TACOLCY to create and provide programs for youth. As a result the center was renamed the Belafonte TACOLCY Center.
TACOLCY became one of the only places in Liberty City where children and youth could safely come together to engage in constructive dialogue; retreat from pressures at home and on the streets; find adults offering information, patience and guidance; discover their passions through constructive activities and talents; and even be hired and mentored on their first job.
Now TACOLCY is all that and more: providing programs that drive home its mission of keeping families whole. This is done through analyzing what obstacles stand in families' way and keep them from effectively helping their children; intervening with support; reaching children at younger ages with preventive services. TACOLCY advocates for its families by speaking with assurance, facts and models of success with policymakers and the media and weaving a holistic set of values, programs and mentors to safeguard and nurture youth's development as they transition to adulthood.
Currently, we continue to carry out Frances Henderson's vision and passion, while overseeing a $3 million oasis of buildings, playgrounds, professionals and services. TACOLCY is now one of the largest private, nonprofit organizations to service children, youth and family in the greater Miami-Dade.