History of Frontline Outreach Inc.
How it all started
For over a half century, Frontline Outreach has served the youth and families of Washington Shores and greater Orlando. Over the years, the baton of leadership has moved with the times. However, each iteration of leadership provided what the community required, exactly at that moment.
In 1951, Dr. James R. Smith, one of only five medical physicians serving the 40,000 person geographically dispersed African American community, established a safe and hygienic medical facility for African American women to give birth, known as a “Lying In Hospital.” It was also Dr. James R. Smith, who with the help of others, founded Florida’s first and only Black owned savings and loan institution, during the times of Central Florida racial segregation.
Dr. Smith additionally rallied the board of the Washington Shores Federal Savings and Loan Association and friends of the community to support his pursuit of purchasing and renovating the burned Roosevelt Bowling Lanes to house his dream of providing a building of refuge to address the community’s childcare needs. In 1967 he established W.S.A.R. (The Washington Shores Association for Recreation) to carry his dream forward.
Through the endeavors of Dr. Smith, who secured charitable contributions and financing through the Washington Shores Federal Savings and Loan Association, the burned and abandoned bowling alley soon became the home of W.S.A.R. This represented the continuation of Dr. Smith’s work to expand medical services and impact the lives of children and families until his death.
In the same year…
Less than a mile east of the facility, another passionate leader, affectionately known as, “C.R.”, with the same last name, Smith, was serving the same population. C.R. Smith owned and operated an area appliance business, and later started a local chapter of the Tom Skinner Club, housing it in one of his former store locations. Mr. Smith initiated this chapter as a tribute to a man who had risen above his Harlem gang challenges and wanted to spread a message of hope to the communities who seemed to be hopeless.
Both Dr. James R. Smith and Mr. C.R. Smith concentrated their efforts on meeting the needs of children and families during a time when segregation and racism were common. Leading up to Dr. James R. Smith’s passing, the W.S.A.R. building slowly succumbed to administrative difficulties, and Dr. James R. Smith’s dream, for a time, appeared to be stalled.
Mr. C.R. Smith felt called by God to greater works and service and with the help of Mayor William Frederick, C.R. launched a campaign to acquire the vacated building and build upon the foundation of service already laid by the previous community visionary, J. R. Smith. January 1, 1984, Mr. C.R. Smith relocated his operations from the Tom Skinner Club storefront location on Orange Blossom Trail and entered the new premises, naming it Frontline Outreach, Inc. With this move, the storefront now became the space for The Hope Church, pastored by Reverend R. W. Wiggins, to occupy as its’ starter home.
Mr. C.R. Smith set the course for Frontline Outreach to become a bold Christian outreach community engine. This organization would be pivotal in combating racism during a time of racial unrest and navigate towards becoming a full-service youth and family center offering services in education, character development, arts and sports. It was surely C.R.’s desire to bless others. With his wife Estelle by his side, working as a champion of Frontline Outreach, C.R. earned the following words in his obituary “Mr. C.R. Smith a man known as the Mother Teresa of Orlando.”
All of the Frontline leaders, whether Board Chairs, Board members or supporters, who have navigated along Frontline’s pathway of existence, have built upon the vision and legacies of Dr. Smith and C.R. Smith. Realizing that great success does not happen alone, we honor the many individuals who have served as Board Chairs or Executive Directors including Andy Snyder, Tony Jenkins, Bill Dillard, Arthur Lee, Ralph Veerman, Larry Curry, Arto Woodley, Paulette Edwards and others.
In 2013, Bishop Allen T.D Wiggins
The son of the late Rev. R.W. Wiggins and current Senior Pastor of The Hope Church, accepted the call to stand with those who labored before him and accepted the leadership of Frontline Outreach. In what can only be called “Divine appointment”, destiny positioned the paths of Frontline, The Hope Church and the Wiggins family to intersect.
Since the divine connection, many years ago, when C.R. made available his vacated storefront space for The Hope Church’s humble beginnings, Bishop Wiggins has been coalescing the area social, evangelical and community interests to create the Hope Center West Campus: a Live, Work, Learn, Play and Worship community that has impacted the lives of community children, families and particularly, the underserved; inspiring and enabling them to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.
Education has always been part of the Hope Center West Master Plan and the Nap Ford Community School/Legends Academy joined the Hope Center West Campus in 2015. Since then, the school has operated in 25 portables and doubled its census. Therefore, the conclusion was that the “highest and best use” of the Frontline building, for this next season of service, would be to become the permanent home for Legends, a school that needed space to grow and an organization with a leadership that would have an appreciation for the history and service of Frontline.
The Frontline organization, still very much alive, migrated to The Village Square, another place on the Hope Center West Campus. However, Frontline’s vision and purpose of leadership, character building, health and wellness of our community youth of purpose remain very much intact constitute the foundation to build upon Frontline’s added purpose of introducing youth to emerging technologies.
This next generation has been manifested through Frontline Outreach’s launch of Frontline Innovation Studios, where we Ignite the passion in our youth for technology and equip them with the skills to thrive in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Meet our Leadership Team
Meet our Board Members
Mylika Morton CPA, Esq.