Miami-Dade County

Summer of free lunches, robots, readings and Legos

LEGO challenges are designed to educate children while they play. In this program, a learning leader explains the mechanics and engineering behind each challenge.
LEGO challenges are designed to educate children while they play. In this program, a learning leader explains the mechanics and engineering behind each challenge. Courtesy

Summertime is the perfect time for children and teenagers to enjoy themselves. But it's also a time of many headaches for parents who don't have safe and educationally worthy places to leave their kids while they go off to work.

Miami-Dade public libraries are stepping in with an ample events program, which includes Summer Readings, LEGO and Bricks for Kids play times and Make a Robot workshops, among others.

The public library system will also offer free lunches, on a first-come first-served basis, at several of its branches from June 8 through Aug. 21. No advance registration is required.

Free lunch

This initiative — made possible thanks to programs such as Summer Break Spot, Healthy Body Healthy Mind and Sisters for Abundant Living — will be available in various South Florida areas, including Westchester, Kendall, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes and the city of Homestead. Little Havana residents can attend the main library in downtown, Miami.

The main library, located at 101 W. Flagler St., will offer free lunch daily from 12 to 1 p.m. The West Dade Regional Library, 9445 Coral Way, will also offer the free lunch service daily from 12 to 1 p.m.

In Kendall Lakes, 15205 SW 88 St., lunch will be served daily from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., and at West Kendall Regional, 10201 Hammocks Blvd., it will be served daily from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

In Miami Gardens, the North Dade Regional Library at 2455 NW 183 St. will serve free lunch daily from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. In Miami Lakes, 6699 Windmill Gate Road, lunch will be served daily from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

The Homestead library, located on 700 N. Homestead Blvd., offers a free lunch service from Monday through Thursday and the meals will be served from 12 to 1 p.m.

The South Dade Regional Library at 10750 SW 212 St. in Cutler Bay, will offer the free lunch service from 12 to 1 p.m. daily. The Palmetto Bay Branch Library at 17641 Old Cutler Road will offer a free lunch service on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12 to 1 p.m. The Pinecrest branch, 5835 SW 111 St., will offer a free lunch service every day except Fridays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

At the Allapattah Branch Library, 1799 NW 35 St., the lunch will be offered from Monday through Thursday, from 12 to 1 p.m. In Little River, 160 NE 79 St., the free lunch service will be offered daily except Wednesday, from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. In Arcola Lakes, 8240 NW Seventh Ave., lunch will be served daily from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. In Culmer/ Overtown, 350 NW 13 St., lunch will be served from Monday through Thursday from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. and at Edison Center, 531 NW 62 St., it will be served daily from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

Summer reading

The reading program will run through Aug. 1 and its goal is for children, adolescents and teenagers to find their inner hero through the reading of an inspiring biography, mystery novel or extraordinary book.

The Summer Readings initiative focuses on reading, listening to a reading, or downloading an eBook for a minimum of two hours. Interested parties can subscribe through the Internet or at their nearest library.

All participants are eligible to win a prize through this program, which is sponsored by the Miami Dolphins Foundation and Friends of the Miami-Dade Public Library.

LEGO and Bricks

LEGO challenges are designed to educate children while they play. In this program, a learning leader explains the mechanics and engineering behind each challenge. The cut off is at 20 participants between 8 and 12 years of age.

This program is offered at three Miami-Dade libraries: Virrick Park, on Saturday, June 13, at 11 a.m.; Naranja Branch, on Tuesday, June 16, at 6 p.m. and on Saturday, June 27, at 11 a.m. in the Cutler/ Overtown Branch.

Engineer for an Hour is a program for children 8 through 12 years old and it aims to help them discover everything required to design cities, plan trips or find nutritional value in foods. This program, which is limited to 30 participants, will be offered at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, in the Kendall Branch and at 3 p.m. in the Coconut Grove Branch.

On June 11, it will be offered at 10 a.m. at the Hispanic Branch and at 1 p.m. in Pinecrest.

At the International Mall Branch and Golden Glades Branch, the program will be held on Saturday, June 13, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively. On Saturday, June 27, Engineers for an Hour will be held at 11 a.m. at the Palmetto Bay Branch and at 3 p.m. in the Coral Reef Branch.

Make a robot

The robot building workshop is the season's greatest novelty. This program is designed for adolescents who want to build and program their own robot. It will also feature a robot competition. The limit is 20 participants and interested parties can register at the library.

This workshop will be held at the Country Walk library, located at 15433 SW 137 Ave. You may also call 786-293-4577 for more information.

Miami-Dade County Public Libraries will also showcase the series Incoherent Stories by artist Aurora Molina, an exhibition which will run through Nov. 8 in the main library on Flagler Street. It features a series of drawings made out of cotton paper and that incorporates a series of different materials.

For more detailed information about the free lunch programs you can call 305-375-5291 or visit the Miami-Dade Library System's website www.mdpls.org/programs/free-lunch-program.html

Follow Isabel Olmos on Twitter @IsabelOlmos

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