Founded in 2014
The START Program (TSP) aims to assist students in becoming remarkable, responsible teens by enhancing their environmental responsibilities and goal attainment skills. We also work to ensure students live healthy and fit lifestyles. We strive to provide the highest level of quality programming, providing students with new and ingenious ways to become creative in addition to guaranteeing students ability to obtain tangible life goals.
Who We Are
We are a non-profit organization who strives to provide a safe, structured after-school learning environment where middle school students can develop the character and academic skills necessary for lifelong success. We offer a plethora of diverse services to the community which includes, (1) Writing Assistance for High School and College Students (2) Health & Fitness Workshops and Training and (3) Assistance with College Preparation. The program will work with select students who demonstrate the need for diversification in the academic, social and health and fitness process.
Our Ambition – Our Criterions
Our ambition is to cultivate the whole child. In an effort to do so, we have identified three criterions in which to provide support:
 Environmental Responsibilities: Self & Community
 Goal Attainment: Workforce Preparation & Career Development
 Health & Fitness: Mind & Body
 Financial Literacy
Ms. Milan Baker
Ms. Milan Baker is a High School English Language Arts Instructor Certified in Middle Grades English and Reading K-12, she has been in the education field for the past 6 years. Ms. Baker holds degrees in English (B.A.), Reading Education (M.S.) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (Ed.S). Once the Reading Department Chair and Reading Coach for a local middle school, Ms. Baker has a plethora of creative ideas to help cultivate the START Child.
Mrs. Phyllis Bellinger
Mrs. Phyllis Bellinger, a native of the Coconut Grove area, has been an educator for the better part of 28 years. She holds advanced degrees in Mathematics (M.S.) and Accounting (B.S). Mrs. Bellinger was also on the 2013 – 2014 Mathematics textbook adoption committee for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She has been trained as an iPrep Math, instructor, the Superintendents’ initiative to incorporate technology into mathematics classrooms. Holding the position of Mathematics Department Chair, Mrs. Bellinger is a fierce leader.
Mr. Jae Jackson
Mr. Jae Jackson has 20 years of experience working with at risk students. Possessing a B.S. in Sociology and Psychology as well as a M.S. in Higher Education Administration, he is able to blend therapeutic practices with everyday curriculum for a well-rounded experience. Mr. Jackson is also a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist from which he garners the added experience in helping others achieve Goal Attainment to become a complete person.
Ms. Maya Nnamdi
Ms. Maya Nnamdi, also a native of Coconut Grove, has always had a desire to assist the youth of her community. Ms. Nnamdi’s passion for helping the youth began when she was a student in the Upward Bound Program at the University of Miami. That desire was further strengthened by her volunteer work with America Reads as an undergraduate at The Florida State University. Ms. Nnamdi holds degrees in Criminology & Sociology (B.S.) and Criminal Justice (M.S.). Currently an Interventionist for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and I work with the undergraduate education division at Florida International University.
Mr. Dudley Thomas
Mr. Dudley Thomas, is a native of Coconut Grove. Working at a local middle school for the past 14 years, Mr. Thomas has fostered great communication with the youth of the West Grove Community. In the past, Mr. Thomas orchestrated a basketball team which serviced approximately 12 students. Mr. Thomas has been an outstanding supportive role model for the young men and women of the community.