- Renae Nottage founded Miami-Dade County’s Fit 2 Play program targeting childhood obesity
- The program provides children with after-school play activities, tutoring and teaching kids about healthy foods
- Nottage is the only African-American woman in the Parks department’s upper administration
Renae Nottage – Miami Dade – Parks & Recreation
When Renae Nottage and her family moved from Overtown to Richmond Heights in the early 1960s, an old dirt road separated U.S. 1 from the community where they lived. Her father, Earl Nottage, a World War II Army veteran, was able to move them into a new development reserved for ex-military.
During the time before the civil rights movement, Richmond Heights was one of the few places in South Florida where African Americans could find decent affordable housing.
“I remember there was a dirt road that would take us from U.S. 1 to our community. It was surrounded by farmland,” said Sam Nottage, Renae’s younger brother. “We would go to the U-pick fields and pick fruits and vegetables. Every now and then, one of the farmers would bring a horse and give us a ride. It was quite a bit different than living in Overtown.”
For the past 26 years, Renae Nottage has worked for Miami-Dade County’s Parks and Recreation Department. From her days as a park manager in Miami Gardens, steering kids away from the influence of drugs and crime, to her role now as a regional manager and founder of the county’s Fit 2 Play program targeting the childhood obesity epidemic, Nottage dedicates her life’s work to preaching positive health habits. She is also the only African-American woman in the Parks department’s upper administration.
“I’ve always had a love for parks,” she said. “That’s made me who I am.”
Both Renae, 59, and Sam, 58, recognize the importance their parents and their background played in getting them involved in outdoor activities and engaging with their community from a young age. Renae and Sam both went on to play Division I softball and baseball at Florida A&M, a historically black university where Renae majored in physical education and recreation.
“I don’t think Renae would be able to do her job as well as she has without the strength that comes through a connection with your history,” Sam Nottage said.