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The Milagro Center in Delray Beach has been awarded a $100,000 grant from Impact 100 Palm Beach County to expand its Ladies Empowerment and Achievement Program, an education and enrichment initiative that benefits hundreds of at-risk teen girls throughout south Palm Beach County.
The center at 695 Auburn Ave. provides after-school and summer camp education and cultural arts programs to at-risk children and teens.
Milagro Center was chosen by Impact 100 Palm Beach County, a membership group of over 600 women who collectively fund multiple grants each year to nonprofits that implement high-impact initiatives in southern Palm Beach County, as one of the six 2021 $100,000 Grand Award recipients.
“We are tremendously thrilled and honored to have received this incredible funding”, said Milagro Center President and CEO Barbara Stark, who was on hand to receive the award during Impact 100 Palm Beach County’s 2021 Grand Awards presentation on May 19. “We’re beyond excited for the hundreds of at-risk teen girls in south Palm Beach County whose lives will be changed through our innovative L.E.A.P. program.”
The Impact 100 grant will enable Milagro Center to:
- expand L.E.A.P.’s impact from Delray Beach’s most poverty-stricken neighborhoods into other underserved communities throughout South Palm Beach County,
- enrich Milagro Center’s resources to support L.E.A.P.’s growth by engaging a Youth Impact Leader, teachers and career counselors, and funding group enrichment activities and emergency needs,
- strengthen the program throughout southern Palm Beach County during its first year with community involvement for shadowing, internships and mentoring opportunities; expanding L.E.A.P. enrollment to 150 teens; and coordinating enrichment activities, and grow the program in its second year to an enrollment of 250 at-risk teen girls.
In a video presentation to the Impact 100 membership, Stark outlined the urgent need for the program, citing that 40% of youth living in poverty drop out of high school.
“Women and girls are the heartbeat of Palm Beach County — in fact, the heartbeat of our world,” she said. “Economically challenged, academically at-risk teenage girls desperately need support, guidance and positive female role models to become empowered to understand and reach their full potential. Add the devastating pandemic and we’ve dramatically increased the urgency.”
Stark said the L.E.A.P. PBC program will introduce these vulnerable young women to career opportunities and successful female role models.
“We know many of the young women participating in L.E.A.P. PBC will become our future community leaders — perhaps future Impact 100 members — leading abundant successful lives,” she said.
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Stark shared a story of one of the teen girls who has already benefited from the L.E.A.P. pilot program, Cashalie, who gained an increase in self-esteem in addition to improved grades.
“Since enrolling in L.E.A.P., I have transformed from the inside out,” Cashalie said. “I know I can — and will — have a bright future. Because of our L.E.A.P. female mentors, I no longer struggle with social anxiety, I can be myself. I’ve earned great grades; I have learned to love me.”
Stark thanked her Milagro Center team for its efforts in helping secure the grant, including an extra shout-out to Glenn Mueller, director of grants administration, for his expertise and diligence in the application process.
The center was established in 1997 housing art exhibits, outreach programs, and after-school and summer camp programs for disadvantaged children. For nearly 25 years, the center has focused on having all of its academically at-risk students succeed in school, graduate from high school, move on to college, trade school or the military, and be prepared for productive, self-sufficient lives, reversing the repetitive generational cycle of poverty. On-site at the Milagro Center, disadvantaged children and youth experience art and academic enrichment daily in an environment that encourages creativity and learning.
Upcoming event: The center’s Milagro Professional Group will have a business networking event, “Incorporating Kindness During Challenging Times,” which will focus on the effect of COVID-19 on businesses and charities and how they can work together to ensure success. The event, the second in a series focused on Corporate Social Responsibility, is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 19 at the Social House, 512 Lucerne Ave., in Lake Worth Beach. The guest speaker is Alex Price, national director of community investment at Office Depot. Tickets are $35.