By Jared Silberlust
Streamline Miami works to promote academic success for elementary school students in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Editor’s Note: Jared Silberlust is the lead ambassador to Streamline Miami and is currently a member of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine M.D./M.P.H. Class of 2021.
While raising awareness for systemic racism, marginalization, and injustices impacting United States residents is essential, the efforts to tackle these problems at their roots are the true drivers of meaningful change.
Streamline Miami is an organization that spearheads one of these efforts with a mission of breaking social and economic barriers that make academic achievement challenging for many elementary school students in Miami-Dade County.
Created by teachers in the community, Streamline Miami works exclusively with schools at the lowest 25 percent of state income levels. Students at these Title I schools are predominately black, Latino, from new immigrant families, in foster care, and/or receiving some form of government assistance. While they are faced with many hurdles to success, the students working with Streamline Miami are bright, focused, talented, funny, athletic, and hungry for knowledge.
Students at the University of Miami and the Miller School of Medicine have formed a partnership with Streamline Miami to serve and enjoy time with elementary school students in the community.
Since 2016, the annual Science and Sports Day has been a staple for the University and for Streamline students. On this day, Streamline students take a field trip to the University’s Coral Gables Campus. For many, it is the first time they receive any exposure to higher education—questions about living in the dorms, going to classes, what the football players are doing, and where the university mascot Sebastian the Ibis is hiding are commonplace.
University students start the day by demonstrating simple science experiments, talking about healthy living habits, and discussing the importance of schoolwork and the pursuit of continuing education. Then comes the sports, with everyone participating in a mix of dodgeball, hula-hooping, gymnastics, and football-tossing. This is followed by lunch provided by University students who take the time to learn about each of the Streamline students and their aspirations. Here, University participants have an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on an elementary student’s life through conversation about college and other continuing education opportunities, working toward success, overcoming obstacles, and steering away from distractions. The day concludes with a tour of the campus and a group photo at the celebrated U statue.
For her work in founding Streamline Miami, Ana Rubio was awarded the prestigious LifeChanger of the Year Award from the National Life Group for 2016-2017. A physical education teacher at Earlington Heights Elementary School, Rubio is passionate about the mission of her organization: Breaking barriers by supporting education because every child deserves a chance.
“What drives us to do the things we do for our students year-round are the events that take place in the neighborhoods like crimes and gunfire that don’t allow them to come out and explore the world of success,” said Denver Dixon, a Streamline supervisor and Earlington teacher. “Streamline Miami continues to be the guiding light for youth in Miami by exposing them to college life, economic prosperity, good health, and success.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on the next Science and Sports Day, University of Miami students Noah Gabor and Melanie Gershman are still leading efforts to work with Streamline Miami to mentor youth by using video-chat technologies—in-home exercises and good study habits have been the center of discussion.
Now more than ever, though, Streamline Miami students need support from their community. If you are interested in fighting injustices and bridging the gap to educational opportunities for all, please consider offering mentorship or contributing financially. For more information, contact Rubio on Instagram @StreamlineMiami, send her a message at 786-444-8345, or visit her website at www.streamlinemiami.org. Together, we can show these students a future they deserve.