TACOLCY'S purpose is to provide the leadership, partnerships, advocacy programs and services necessary to move the reality of Liberty City increasingly toward the above vision--to become a nationally respected agency that produces positive and strong contributors to society.
Nestled in the vibrant heart of Liberty City, Miami, our dedicated team is the cornerstone of our mission to empower and uplift the local community.
TACOLCY's journey began in 1966 with a simple goal: giving young people a voice in their community. From humble beginnings in a pool hall, it has grown into one of Miami's largest private non-profit youth service agencies. Nestled in a picturesque 3.5-acre City of Miami park in Liberty City, TACOLCY serves a predominantly minority community with one of the greatest needs in Miami-Dade County. Throughout its history, TACOLCY has pioneered effective educational, preventative, interventionary, recreational, and family development initiatives, always emphasizing cultural and linguistic competency.
Recognized with numerous awards and accolades, TACOLCY has become a trusted institution for youth and families in Miami. Our primary focus is helping families achieve their dreams by addressing areas of vulnerability and providing support throughout their journey from birth to adulthood. We embrace a holistic approach, employing a system of care model that encompasses seven core principles across four programmatic areas: Literacy, Arts and Culture, Environmental Education, Civic Leadership, Community Wellness, Violence Prevention, and Leadership Development. These principles are integrated into our Out-of-School Time, Health and Wellness, Family Intervention, and Youth Development programs.
TACOLCY has evolved beyond a traditional service provider, blending a social service and social change paradigm. We strive not only to provide essential services but also to drive meaningful societal transformation. With our unwavering commitment, TACOLCY continues to make a lasting impact, uplifting the lives of youth and families in Miami.
The formation of Belafonte TACOLCY Center in 1966 occurred amidst a backdrop of racial and economic tensions, as young people sought ways to voice their frustration and transform their community plagued by poverty and violence. Frances Henderson, a visionary and energetic woman, founded TACOLCY in a small wooden house within the neighborhood, providing a safe gathering place for youth. She tirelessly campaigned to enlist the support of celebrities and politicians to help develop TACOLCY's programs.
Notable early supporters, including Muhammad Ali, Jackie Gleason, and Sidney Poitier, lent their influence to the cause. In December 1967, entertainer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte made a generous donation that empowered TACOLCY to create and expand its programs for youth. In recognition of this transformative contribution, the center was renamed the Belafonte TACOLCY Center.
TACOLCY quickly became a sanctuary in Liberty City, offering a safe space for children and youth to engage in constructive dialogue, escape the pressures of home and the streets, and find supportive adults who provided information, patience, and guidance. The center became a place for young individuals to discover their passions through constructive activities, develop their talents, and even receive mentorship and employment opportunities.
Today, TACOLCY goes beyond its initial purpose, providing programs that embody its mission of keeping families united. By identifying and addressing the obstacles that hinder families from effectively supporting their children, TACOLCY intervenes with support and offers preventive services that reach children at younger ages. The organization advocates for its families by engaging policymakers and the media with assurance, factual information, and models of success. TACOLCY weaves a holistic set of values, programs, and mentors to safeguard and nurture the development of youth as they transition into adulthood.
Continuing to carry forward Frances Henderson's vision and passion, TACOLCY now oversees a remarkable oasis consisting of buildings, playgrounds, dedicated professionals, and a comprehensive range of services. Today, it stands as one of the largest private nonprofit organizations serving children, youth, and families in the greater Miami-Dade area, ensuring that Frances Henderson's legacy lives on.