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Member Spotlight…Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

Posted By Sophia Raymond, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonprofits are doing extraordinary work in Palm Beach County. They are part of the fabric of our community — they protect, feed, heal, shelter, educate and nurture bodies and spirits of tens of thousands of residents, every single day.

 

Too often, their achievements fall under the radar. And so, Nonprofits First is showcasing some of the organizations and the differences they are making to improve our county.

 

Here is the story of one of them: Cultural Council of Palm Beach County -- which enhances the quality of life and economic growth of the community by creating a cultural destination through support, education and promotion of arts and culture. (Cultural Council is a member of Nonprofits First.)

 

 

 

For years, Palm Beach County schools have cut creative arts classes, mirroring a national trend to focus students toward “employable” subjects like math and science.

 

That’s a major concern for art advocates.

 

Research shows that art studies and activities help keep high-risk dropout students in school --and music, in particularly, not only improves skills in math and reading, but it promotes creativity, social development, personality adjustment, and self-worth.

 

Now what?

 

Here’s good news: as a result of squeezing the arts out of many school, our member, Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, started a new program to bring the arts and culture to children and families outside of traditional school classrooms.

 

Their Arts in My Backyard (AIMBY) program, kicked off in 2016, expanded arts instruction across the community by bringing arts educators and arts-related programming to the Council’s headquarters in downtown Lake Worth and pairing arts educators and their programs with designated schools and afterschool programs in Palm Beach County.

 

It’s part of the Council’s long-term vision: arts education is a proven factor in student achievement and workforce readiness for the 21st century.

 

“Our program provides opportunities for youth and families to engage with the visual and performing arts, along with providing exposure for partner cultural organizations to the education community,” said Ericka Squire, the Council’s manager of Arts and Cultural Education.

 

School districts have been slashing arts programs for years – for two main reasons. There’s been funding cuts to balance budgets. And there’s been shifts towards standardized testing and the common core subjects of reading and math.

 

Those decisions, though, have consequences, especially for underserved children: research from the National Endowment for the Arts reports that low-income high school students who earned few or no arts credits were five times more likely not to graduate from high school than low-income students who earned many arts credits.

 

And so Cultural Council’s AIMBY was developed to inspire children, as well as adults, to create and express themselves in a variety of forms. The arts education program comprises of five branches: Outreach, Field Trips, Afterschool, Early Learners and Family Saturdays.

 

Family Saturdays, for instance, aims for families to discover the arts together through visual art, dance, and theater. Upcoming sessions are: Food as Art (Oct. 13); Processional Arts Workshop (Nov. 10); and Thankful Expressions (Dec. 1). See more Family Saturday events here.

 

So far, the program is doing well -- attendance is consistent, and feedback indicates participants are satisfied, Squire said. (AIMBY programs, except Early Learners, are generously underwritten by the Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation, The Batchelor Foundation and Jim and Irene Karp. AIMBY Early Learners is generously underwritten by Christine and Bob Stiller.)

 

Will arts and cultural programs make a comeback in schools in the near future? It’s hard to know.

 

What’s clear is that the Cultural Council will continue planning and supporting programs that will keep children and adults engaged in the arts and allow them to have fun while exploring the world through different art forms.

 

Everyone in our community needs the arts, whether they realize it or not. Squire explains it better: “The simple creative activities and modes of exploration cultivated by the arts form the building blocks of child development, leading to healthy social interactions now and later in life.”

 

If you have any questions regarding the Cultural Council’s education programs, contact Ericka Squire: (561) 472-3347 or esquire@palmbeachculture.com.

 

If your nonprofit has a great story to tell, contact Charlotte Gill at Nonprofits First: (561) 910-3891 or cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org.

Tags:  Arts  Cultural Council  Nonprofit Philanthropy 

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Member Spotlight: Pathways to Prosperity

Posted By Sophia Raymond, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Nonprofits First is showcasing the extraordinary work of nonprofits in Palm Beach County and beyond.

 

This month, we focus on Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), an anti-poverty community nonprofit in Boynton Beach (and member of Nonprofits First).

 

P2P is pushing the envelope in helping hundreds of low-income families overcome poverty and become economically well-off. They run many programs including the Poverty Simulation, which educates residents about the pains of living in poverty.

 

Read on to learn how the Poverty Simulation is making a big difference.

 

 

“I’m a drug dealer – watch out,” a woman told a crowd of people rushing through a fictitious town created in a large meeting room of Pathways to Prosperity (P2P).

 

Dozens of people dart away from her, but a few desperate residents seek her out to get jobs selling drugs. They need work to feed their families because they can’t find other kinds of employment and have mounting expenses to pay off.

 

It’s how the drug trade grows in this fictitious world -- as well as in the real world.

 

These were the real-world lessons of a recent Poverty Simulation exercise aimed at showing business and community members what it is truly like to live in poverty in Palm Beach County.

 

About 70 participants took part in the three-hour simulation in Boynton Beach in June. They heard stories and acted out examples of what it takes to earn a living wage in the county.

 

A family of four needs to earn about $61,000 a year to live in Palm Beach County – which is nearly impossible for families lacking higher education, reliable transportation, safe housing, and the ability to work. About 176,000 people in Palm Beach County live in poverty (close to 12% of the population), data shows.

 

“We hosted the Poverty Simulation so people can understand just how hard it is for many families to live in Palm Beach County,” said P2P CEO Kemberly Bush. “That’s why we have a drug dealer in our simulation because, in the real world, desperate people fall into the drug trade if they have no other options.”

 

P2P hosts the simulations in conjunction with Palm Beach County Community Action Program. The exercises are also connected to the National Circles Campaign, another program that P2P is a part of and focuses on educating individuals on how to climb out of poverty and become prosperous.

 

The Poverty Simulation is based on real-life scenarios from careful research.

 

During the exercise, participants role-play the lives of low-income families, including single parents, people with disabilities, and senior citizens on Social Security. The task of each family is to provide for food, shelter and other basic necessities during four, 15-minute "weeks.” 

 

Although the simulation uses "play" money, fictional scenarios and time limits, it’s not meant to be a game. Participants get to immerse themselves in their characters, view poverty from different angles, and then discuss the potential for change within local communities. More importantly, the exercise is designed to sensitize those who frequently deal with low-income families and create a broader awareness among policymakers and community leaders.

 

P2P will host the next Poverty Simulation in October. It’s part of the organization’s mission to improve the social, mental, spiritual, economic and emotional well-being of children and families through education and social services.

 

The agency and its partners are hoping to cut the region’s poverty level by 10% within the next 10 years.

 

“We can do it – I know we can,” Kem said. “Our goal is to come up with policies, programs and most of all education, through initiatives such as the Poverty Simulation, so more and more people in the community understand what it’s like to be a low-income family trying to survive from month-to-month.”

 

Learn more about P2P here.

 

If interested in learning about the next Poverty Simulation, contact Kemberly Bush at: kbush@p2ppbc.org

Tags:  Financial Empowerment  Nonprofit  Pathways to Prosperity  Poverty 

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National Night Out at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 30, 2018

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2018 NATIONAL NIGHT OUT IN JUPITER 

Join the Jupiter Police Department for this annual, nationwide event at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. There will be Police Displays as well as vendors set up in and around the stadium. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 
• Gates open at 5:30 pm
• Game starts at 6:30 pm

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

Admission is FREE.

SCHEDULE:
4:30 pm shuttle bus starts
5:30 pm gates open / event starts
5:45 pm JPD K9 & SWAT teams demo
6:20 pm first pitch
6:28 pm National anthem
6:30 pm game starts
8:00 pm game ends (approximate)
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30 min after game ends: last ride for shuttle buses

Interested in becoming a vendor? Do you have a fun or interactive display you can show off at the event? Complete the form below and email it Sarah (Sarah@rogerdeanchevroletstadium.com) before August 3rd.

For additional event information, please check out the Facebook event page

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Need Funding?

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Monday, July 30, 2018

Do you know a charity in Palm Beach County that could benefit from support in either people power or donations? Of course you do! Submit your information to the West Palm 100 by September 30.

More information here: http://www.westpalm100.com/grants/ 

 

Tags:  Charitable Giving  Charities  Fundraising  Membership  Nonprofit Philanthropy 

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Member Spotlight!

Posted By Sophia Raymond, Monday, July 23, 2018

Nonprofits are doing extraordinary work in Palm Beach County. They are part of the fabric of our community — they protect, feed, heal, shelter, educate and nurture bodies and spirits of tens of thousands of residents, every single day.

 

Too often, their achievements fall under the radar. And so, Nonprofits First is showcasing some of the organizations and the differences they are making to improve our county.

 

Here is the story of Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group.

 

 

At the end of a long, dead-end road on the edge of Lake Worth, a small nonprofit is taking good care of the residents of the area’s close-knit immigrant community.

 

There, young children get extra help reading so they don’t fall behind in school and struggle academically. First-time moms and dads learn the qualities of being great parents. High school students are prepared for college, with many students going on to become the first in their families to attend college. And families take part in organized sports and social activities as well as getting a say in how their neighborhood is run.

 

Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group doesn’t have a high-visibility name, but its educational, recreational, wellness and cultural services are well-known among those who depend on them: the community’s influx of families from Central America, the Caribbean, and other areas of the world.

 

“We’re one of Palm Beach County’s best kept secrets,” said Rhonda Rogers, executive director of the organization, which has a staff of 16 full-time and part-time employees. “Our objective is to create opportunities for our residents to thrive. And that’s what we focus on in everything we do.”

 

Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group is centered in a renovated bungalow-style house surrounded by a well-maintained park, just off Military Trail south of Lake Worth Road. On any given day, dozens of families with young and older children pass through, taking workshops, signing up for benefits from other agencies, or simply stopping by to socialize with other residents.

 

It wasn’t always like this.

 

For many years, the community was dilapidated and overrun with drug dealers and gangs. But in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Palm Beach County government, Sheriff’s Office, and other agencies stepped in to work with residents in paving the roads, installing drainage, painting houses, landscaping yards, and kicking out the troublemakers.

 

And then Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County and other funders provided vital programming and social services dollars to help residents increase healthy births, prevent child neglect, improve literacy and tackle many other challenges. The community also has a resident group to solve problems in the neighborhood.

 

Rogers and her staff are always looking to make life better for residents.

 

For instance, there was a need to find activities for middle schoolers during the lazy summer months and in the hours after schools end during the rest of the year. Many children sat at home, watched TV and accomplished very little.

 

So this year, the organization applied for funding from charitable group Impact 100 Palm Beach County – and were awarded $100,000 to create a summer camp and yearlong after school program exclusively for those students and focused on health and wellness, as well as learning academic skills such as computer coding and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

 

“We set out and created a middle school camp to give the youth a place to go this summer that was educational and fun,” Rogers said. “I think we succeeded.”

 

There is still plenty of work to do.

 

That includes making sure parents encourage their children to attend school regularly, which is critical to keeping students on track to reading at their grade level. A committee of residents, business leaders, school administrators, pre-school operators and other stakeholders has looked at solutions to improve attendance for all students in the area west of Lake Worth – and, with it, raise reading proficiency levels.

 

“We’re always looking out for our residents – we want them to do great as they raise their families in our community,” Rogers said.

 

 

Learn more about Lake Worth West Planning Group here. And watch a video about the agency here.

 

If interested in having your nonprofit showcased by Nonprofits First, contact Charlotte Gill, Director of Development and Business Strategies at: 561-910-3891 or cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org.

 

 

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Tags:  Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group 

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