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Alyce Robertson: Miami Visionary Government Finalist
When Alyce Robertson first assumed her role as Miami DDA’s Executive Director in 2008, both the city and agency were mired in poor perception. Under her leadership, Downtown has ushered in an economic and cultural renaissance, taking it from ‘ghost town in the sky’ to 24-7 metropolis in a matter of years. Today businesses are launching, city streets are populated around-the-clock, parks and cultural venues occupy formerly-vacant land, hotels and restaurants are booming, and investment is pouring in at record levels. At the same time, the DDA is enhancing quality of life by making city streets cleaner, safer and easier to navigate. From its Biscayne Green proposal and Flagler redevelopment project, to its advocacy for public toilets and a mental health diversion program for the homeless, DDA is proving that government reset the course of an entire city.
Constance is President and Executive Director of Miami’s only all women and children homeless shelter, home to over 250 women including 11 newborns. After leaving her C-level career in real estate of 30 years to open Lotus House, Constance set out with the goal to not only provide shelter but also rehabilitate guests so they can leave Lotus House as contributing members of society. Constance instituted a unique model that offers holistic resources like social and supportive services that assist women and youth in transitioning from the streets by strengthening the mind, body and spirit. As homelessness continues to be an epidemic in our community, Constance’s new mission is to expand the shelter and double capacity. Lotus House just celebrated its 10th anniversary and she hopes that the expansion of Lotus Village will break ground this summer.
Since “retiring” in 1999, David Lawrence Jr., former publisher of the Miami Herald, has worked tirelessly for improving early childhood education to give Florida’s youngest residents the best opportunity for success in life. He has served on numerous state and local boards, was founding chairman of The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade, and played a key role in statewide passage of a constitutional amendment to create a free, voluntary prekindergarten program for all 4-year-olds in the state. He now serves as the chairman of The Children’s Movement of Florida.
Not only was Vance recently promoted to CEO of The Children’s Movement, but he also just finished the organization’s most successful legislative session ever. They passed KidCare, a low-cost federal-state health insurance program and now children of legal immigrants no longer need to wait five years for proper coverage. He is the right-hand man of David Lawrence, former Miami Herald publisher and founder of The Children’s Movement. Vance is a key figure when it comes to giving a voice to our state’s youngest citizens. A former lawyer, Vance left his legal job to join The Children’s Movement in 2010 and now devotes himself to making sure children between the ages of 0-5 have the proper care and education they need to go on and lead successful lives. Children’s Movement works to improve Florida’s voluntary pre-K programs, implement high-quality parent skill-building programs, secure health insurance for all children, ensure screening and treatment for all children who might have special needs and provides high-quality mentoring programs.