For Kiara Rodriguez, joining the Town of Miami Lakes’ municipal government is a homecoming.
Rodriguez, 27, of Miramar, became the youth programs coordinator in March and oversees the Miami Lakes Youth Center, also known as The Spot.
“I have had my eye on this position for quite some time now,” Rodriguez said of the job that pays her $39,800. “Miami Lakes has always held a special place in my heart.”
Working from the youth center at 6075 Miami Lakes Drive East, Rodriguez will oversee the “open hang” events for teenagers to gather, play games and sports – archery, a running club and baseball -- during the school year.
There are also E-Sports competitions and a mobile skate park, and she coordinates the community service hours program for kids to get credit after picking up trash, filling sandbags and other volunteer activities.
Rodriguez wants to expand the programs that are available for the youngest Miami Lakers.
“I just want to have as many options as possible and give back to the community,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez is studying for a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education at Florida International University and is scheduled to graduate in December. She graduated from Mater Academy Charter Middle High School.
“The minute a position opened up [in town for] my line of work…It was almost like a no-brainer for me,” Rodriguez said about applying for the job.
Previously she was a business manager for Mardanha’s Beauty Studio and an administrative team leader for Quantum Storage Systems.
Rodriguez grew up in the Country Club community. Miami Lakes was a regular destination.
“Everything from childhood revolved around Miami Lakes,” Rodriguez said.
She returns to town during her off hours, to attend Elevate Church.
Other ties to Miami Lakes include her sister Kimberly Salero, a former town staffer, and her mother Maribel Saldanha, who is opening a new
Mardanha’s Beauty Studio on Main Street.
Kiara Rodriguez and her husband Christopher Rodriguez live in Miramar.
During her two months on the job, Rodriguez says she has begun to build bonds with the children.
“It’s really [to be a] part of helping them grow, whether it’s with coordination [in sports] or relational [among their peers],” Rodriguez said. “I just want to build a sense of community amongst the youth.”