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May Member Spotlight: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Tuesday, May 26, 2020


As schools turned to distance learning during the coronavirus outbreak, Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast has helped to make sure students continue getting educated on career readiness, entrepreneurship skills, and financial literacy.


The organization’s Google Classrooms and virtual Career Speaker Series have served more than 10,000 students in Palm Beach County schools. They have offered “real-world” experiences for students and helped them prepare for a bright future.


As part of our May member spotlight, Nonprofits First asked Katie Spitzig, the agency’s Middle and High School Programs Manager, to explain what Google Classrooms is all about and tell us what Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast does in the community.


1) Explain your Google Classroom learning project.


Katie Spitzig: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast has created Google Classrooms in order to serve teachers, students and parents within our community. The specially-created digital classrooms provide resources which help to foster career readiness, entrepreneurship skills, and financial literacy. Our grade level specific classrooms include lessons, worksheets, interactive activities and educational games which teachers and parents can use to help their students understand these important life skills. 


We are constantly updating our Google Classrooms with new programs, lessons, activities and career speaker videos and encourage the community to join our classrooms and check back often! 


2) Explain, in general, the work Junior Achievement does in the community.


Katie Spitzig: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast helps to bridge the gap between the business world and the education world by creating experiential learning opportunities for local students. We work with volunteers to teach programs K-12 which support Junior Achievement’s three pillars: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Junior Achievement works to empower young people to own their own economic success through volunteer-delivered programs. Our goal is to not only inspire our local youth and prepare them to be productive members of a global society but in doing so, also prepare our local families as well.


3) Are there other virtual programs that Junior Achievement offers?


Katie Spitzig: In addition to our Google Classrooms, Junior Achievement has also partnered with The School District of Palm Beach County and our local business leaders to create a Virtual Career Day. Elementary students from around the county will watch videos created by local volunteers from a variety of professions in which they discuss their career path and a typical day in their life. Students will then work to explore different careers and reflect on their personal interests and future potential career paths.


Currently, our Google Classrooms and virtual Career Speaker Series have served over 10,000 students in Palm Beach County schools! With so many Career Days being cancelled in the District, we are excited to offer these “real-world” experiences for our local students and help them to prepare for a bright future!  


4) How has Nonprofits First helped your organization?


Katie Spitzig: Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast values its relationship with Nonprofits First because they help to ensure that we maintain excellence in nonprofit management. The partnership is essential as it helps Junior Achievement with networking, professional development, grant writing assistance and so much more!  


Learn more about Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast here.


If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:

Tags:  Education  Member Spotlight  Nonprofit  Palm Beach County 

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April Spotlight: Community Classroom Project

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Monday, April 27, 2020

School can be really stressful -- not just for students but also for their families and educators. Community Classroom Project (CCP) offers resources to make school less challenging for those struggling with stress. It’s an initiative of the organization: Space of Mind.


Now, during the coronavirus crisis, CCP has gone virtual to help children manage their challenges.


We asked Kristen Cairns, the community outreach director at Space of Mind, to explain the initiative.



1) What is Community Classroom Project?


Kristen Cairns: The Community Classroom Project (CCP) is a nonprofit initiative started by Space of Mind in 2017 to extend the mission of reducing school-related stress for students,

parents, educators and schools throughout the communities in Palm Beach County where resources for this type of programming are scarce.

By bridging the gaps between families, school faculty, mental health providers and community leaders, CCP is aligning these traditionally independent support systems by strengthening communication networks and providing programs and resources to develop social, emotional, creative, and life skills for each participant.


2) What services/programs are you still doing now during the coronavirus?


Kristen Cairns: Due to Covid-19’s lockdown on in-person services, CCP has gone virtual, too. Our afterschool group is in its first year, piloting our SOMewhere To Be Club at Poinciana Elementary, a Title 1 school in Boynton Beach. We have pivoted the program to meet through Google Classroom and are working with the nine boys handpicked for the club and their guidance counselor and in-school behavior specialist to help manage their stress, attention, time management and social/emotional wellness during this time. When not virtual, the group meets weekly afterschool to help these boys, all chosen because their attention spans and behaviors make it hard for them and others to learn in the traditional setting, to develop their full leadership potential. Still in its online infancy, we are learning more about their home dynamics, which will enhance our programming upon return to the in-person environment.


Additionally, our Community Classroom Kitchen, the culinary initiative of the CCP, has launched a One-For-One Meal Box program that is providing fresh ingredient meal boxes to encourage families to cook together during this time of home confinement. Each box is accompanied by a recipe and a video tutorial by our chef, Blake Malatesta, who has sourced ingredients from local restaurants, food purveyors, bakeries and farms. Each week we rotate box menus, and for every box we sell, a box is then donated through the week’s featured nonprofit partner to distribute the donated boxes (and groceries when donations permit) to their families. In the project’s first month, we have fed over 100 families in need through five local nonprofits, and we are gearing up for even more! This project will continue indefinitely as a foundation of our “Family Dinner” campaign, as we believe that the more families engage together in the kitchen, the more they learn about one another.

We are still working with parents and families, offering coaching sessions to ease the strain of confinement, sudden homeschooling and family management. Our Parent Educator Resource Center (PERC) is also currently seeking funding to provide a virtual space to offer curriculum and coaching resources for ESE coordinators, teachers, guidance counselors, administrators and parents through consultations, a lending library, psycho-educational resources, as well as our catalog of workshops, advocacy training, professional development, and inspiring educational events.


3) What impact has your organization had in Palm Beach County?


Kristen Cairns: Though our organization is still fairly new, we have been able to launch programming in each of our core missions. Our SOMewhere To Be program is changing the game for the nine boys in the first-year pilot program by empowering them to understand the way their brains work, articulate their strengths and weaknesses, advocate for their needs and

build leadership skills through social, emotional and life skill development. We are working to expand this project to other Title 1 and after school programs in the fall. Through professional development programs for educators, we have launched a dialogue around the importance of understanding how students’ organizational skills, brain wiring and social/emotional competency supports their classroom learning. When a teacher understands how to reach a student in the manner in which they learn best, possibilities for development and enrichment explode! Our mission is to reduce school-related stress at the source first, which is in the classroom relationships and information processing. As more educators expand their flexibility to reach more learners on a personal level, the “backpack black hole” that creates unfinished homework (and results in lots of family dinner table fights) will diminish and students will feel happier and

more confident in the classroom, at home and out in the world.


4) How has your organization’s staff benefited from services at Nonprofits First?


Kristen Cairns: Nonprofits First has some amazing free training programs that we have taken advantage of, which has supported us as we have launched. Being a new organization, we certainly are learning from the ground up! The online grant database has also been a major help to us, especially during the coronavirus.

Learn more about Space of Mind here.


If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:

Tags:  Education  Member Spotlight  Nonprofit; Membership  Virtual Learning 

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February Member Spotlight: Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Wednesday, February 26, 2020

February Member Spotlight: Loggerhead Marinelife Center


Right in our backyard is a leading ocean conservation organization: Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC).


This nonprofit does research, rehabilitation and education on the endangered population of sea turtles. It's great to watch them grow as they expand “out-of-the-classroom” learning programs in Palm Beach County and beyond.


As our February member spotlight, we asked Amanda Moore from the Center to explain her organization’s mission and programs in more details. We also asked her to share how the Center has relied on Nonprofits First’s workshops and services to help it become a stronger organization.



What is Loggerhead Marinelife Center?


Amanda Moore: Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is a nonprofit sea turtle research, rehabilitation and educational institution that promotes conservation of ocean ecosystems with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The Center features an on-site hospital, research laboratory, educational exhibits and aquariums.


The Center’s conservation team works with 90 local and international organizations across six continents to form partnerships and share conservation initiatives and best practices that are core to its mission of ocean conservation.


The Center is expanding and has launched its Waves of Progress capital expansion campaign, designed to accelerate and amplify LMC’s conservation and education impact. 


Tell us about your programs/tours.  


Amanda Moore: LMC's Education programs aim to empower and inspire individuals to engage in the conservation of the world's ocean by providing STEM-based knowledge and resources to take responsible action. Our education programs are designed for individuals of all ages and demographics. To accommodate a larger audience, our team offers programs and tours in ASL and English.


Designed as “out-of-the-classroom” learning experiences, our programs take guests into the field to understand South Florida’s natural ecosystems, including hammock and dunes. Throughout the week, guests can enjoy tours of the Center through our Public Guided Tours, Public Guided Tours - Evenings, Private Guided Tours, and Virtual Tours. In the Summer, guests have the opportunity to participate in engaging programs, such as Sea Turtle Walks, Hatchling Releases, Hatchling Feedings, and Sunrise Nest Excavations. 


What’s new at your organization?


Amanda Moore: In January, LMC launched its inaugural Hike2O event in partnership with the Florida Trail Association. Participants set foot on the Ocean to Lake trail, which connects Lake Okeechobee to the ocean. Guided by trail experts from LMC and the Florida Trail Association – Loxahatchee Chapter, participants hiked through some of the most iconic ecosystems of South Florida. The three-day, 2-night backcountry benefit supports marine conservation and education outreach to non-coastal schools across South Florida and promotes environmental stewardship of Florida’s fresh and saltwater systems.


In addition to this new event, LMC continues to add programming for individuals of all ages and demographics. 


Why do you support Nonprofits First?


Amanda Moore: Nonprofits First is a great addition to the community, the organization empowers nonprofit organizations to excel by providing resources and professional development opportunities. The workshops are designed to provide actionable tools to the nonprofits and focus on issues related to finance, fundraising, and training.


The organization provides support to our South Florida communities and helps amplify the impact of the work of nonprofits. With the assistance of Nonprofits First, local nonprofits can thrive, expand and enhance their mission.


Learn more about the Center here.


If you know a great story about a local nonprofit, please share it with Charlotte Gill, Nonprofits First’s director of development and business strategies. Her email is:

Photo courtesy of Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Tags:  Charities  Education  Membership  Nonprofit  Science  Storytelling 

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