C.C.O.D. Award 2017

Attitude of Gratitude for our Honorees:

Delou Africa’s Cultural Community Outreach Development (C.C.O.D.) award ceremony will be held during our Concert Extravaganza on Saturday August 5th.  We will honor and celebrate two individuals who have made an impact in the arts and education in our community:

Florene Nichols and Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall

This award exemplifies their commitment to developing communities through social and academic skills that enrich lives and enhance the futures of children, families and adults.

Florene Litthcut Nichols

Florene Nichols

Florene Litthcut Nichols, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, was born 1942 to the late Pearl (Broadus) and George Litthcut,Sr.,of Boston. She is recognized as a symbol of artistic excellence in South Florida, communicating her love of dance to countless children and boasting over 40 years of experience in art education, administration and management.

Florene Nichols serves as Trustee Member on the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade  and was appointed by the late Honorable Commissioner Arthur E. Teele Jr. to  serve on the City of Miami Civil Service Board.  She has been a  member of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church of Miami, under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. Gaston E. Smith, since 2005.

In 1969, Nichols joined the New York City and Atlantic City based” Larry Steele’s Smart Affairs Revue ” at the Eden Roc Hotel on Miami Beach, also appeared with the road company of the Broadway musical” Purlie ” at the Coconut Grove Playhouse and with the Frankie Kane Review ” A Tribute to Liza ” and ” Cabaret “.

Florene Nichols free lanced at schools and community centers throughout Dade and Broward Counties before opening her first children’s school in 1973, The Nichols Community of Performing Arts on N.W. 7Th  Avenue in Miami.

In 1995, Nichols joined a partnership with the Late Francina Thomas and Cathia Leconte Dash and together they founded  and incorporated Artz-N-The-Hood, Inc. a  not-for-profit that provided  cultural, performing and crime prevention/intervention programs for public housing youth in James E. Scott  Community Homes, Liberty Square, Larchmon Gardens and Edison Park.

In 1980, Nichols founded the Florene Litthcut’s Inner City Children’s Touring Dance Company, Inc (ICCTDC), a  non-profit organization. Due to structural problems at the 7th Avenue site, the organization was forced to vacate the property however, the African Heritage Cultural Arts    Center and Northwestern High School welcomed all 200 of our students from (1991-2001)

Since (2002 – present) the ICCTDC schools permanent home is located at the Carrie P. Meek Senior and Cultural Center-Hadley Park. ICCTDC continues to provided quality, professional training in creative dance, etiquette and social protocol for children ages 2 years – 12. The Touring Company has made national and international appearances with artists such as Ben Vereen, Lou Rawl’s, performing for The Consulate General of Nigeria, The NAACP, the Governor’s  Conference on Tourism,  The  ASTA Conference,  NFL Properties Super Bowl Party, The American Pavilion, Expo ’92 in Seville, Spain……to name a few.

Over the years,  ICCTDC has offered two successful International Cultural Exchange program to Sene Gambia Republic of West Africa where students perform  joint concerts with the Ballet National du Senegal and study traditional medicine, dance and percussion, cuisine, coiffureere and make-up.

Florene Nichols attended the Jeremiah E. Burke High School for Girls, Dorchester, Ma. and graduated  in 1960  She studied dance, music and drama  at cultural  institution in Boston and Robury between 1946 and 1959. In 1967 she Directed  Boston’s SouthEnd  Project Headstart, a resarch assistant for BU  Headstart Research and Evaluation Center .Nichols studied:  Education, Occupational Therapy and Art Administration at Mary Brookes School for Girls, Boston;  Florida Memorial College, Opa Locka;  University of Florida, Gainesville; Florida International University,;  Sagamont University;  and others throughout the  United States and Africa.

Florene Litthcut Nichols honors include 20 proclamations from the Mayors of Miami Dade County, Miami Dade County School Board and from the Cities of Miami, Opa-Locka and Miami Beach, with one  key to the City of Miami and two from Miami Dade County.

Her older siblings include brother George, Jr. and sister Pauline Litthcut Miller. Nichols has two adult sons Apon K and Karee Ali and a lovely 22 year old grandaughter Latianna who will marticulate to Johns Hopkins/ Masters Progam and  Urban Teacher, DC  in the spring  2017.

Dr. Dorothy Bendross-MindingallDr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall

Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, a former classroom teacher, principal, and current adult education administrator has made a lifetime of using education to unlock the doors of opportunity for hundreds of students, teachers, and parents. She lived in the Liberty Square housing projects in Miami during the days of segregation. After graduating from Miami Northwestern Senior High School, she matriculated at Tuskegee Institute, Nova University, Barry University and Florida International University (FIU), completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and several Master-level certifications. As the first chairperson of the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs, she convened meetings throughout the state to listen to the concerns of Florida’s citizens and to direct pro-active events to positively influence decision-makers, and support the overall goals of the Commission. Dr. Bendross-Mindingall was elected as the State Representative for District 109 where she served from 2000-2008.

Dr. Bendross-Mindingall’s leadership, advocacy and list of “firsts” has been publicly acknowledged by newspapers, magazine articles, plaques and trophies and other unique awards bestowed by national and international organizations. As a proactive leader, she developed a male-role model program, a project to increase attendance and a welfare-to-work program among others, long before local, state, and national politicians saw the value in her approach. On, November 17th, 2015, Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Minidngall became the first African-American woman elected Vice Chair for the Miami-Dade County School Board. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Miami-Dade County School Board District 2, where she continues to serve as an example of a strong, courageous, tenacious leader whose thorough collaboration and commitment advocates on the behalf of those who might otherwise not be heard.