Working hard to achieve
Bernard (left) receives a certificate from MaliVai Washington. With more than $30,000 in scholarships from MWYF and its partners, Bernard will attend Florida A&M University in fall 2017 to study occupational therapy.
As one of 11 children, Bernard grew up in an impoverished area of Jacksonville. Despite significant life challenges, he persevered and recently graduated high school with honors. Bernard credits much of his success to being involved since second grade in the Tennis-n-Tutoring program at MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation (MWYF).
"I’ve had a lot of positive role models and mentors at the Foundation,” said Bernard. “In a way, it’s like a second family. They remind me to stay positive and focus on my future. A lot of my friends have gotten into some trouble, but being a self-starter and having the Foundation has really helped me."
At MWYF, children and youth receive after-school academic assistance, mentoring, fitness activities and life skills in a safe, enriching environment.
Learn about MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation
Making a difference for struggling families
"I am learning to battle the challenges dealt; I think I am blossoming into a role model for my girls," said Mary Helen. "I look forward to going back to school and I will excel!"
When a dissolving marriage prompted Mary Helen and her two daughters to move back to Palm Beach County without permanent housing or a job, she turned to Farmworker Childrens Center, Inc. (FCCI) for guidance. While growing up, she and her siblings participated in the nonprofit's programs, and she remembered its caring support and resources.
The staff encouraged her to apply for community housing, and after several months, she received a subsidized apartment. When her girls started attending FCCI's after-school program, she began lending a hand there and was soon hired on staff. Mary Helen is currently working as an assistant in FCCI's Campo Alegre, where her daughters are also enjoying being campers this summer.
Read more about Farmworker Childrens Center
Bright futures ahead
In April, 50 sophomores and juniors who actively participated during the year were invited on a multi-day tour of several universities throughout Florida.
Since 2011, more than 300 students at Deerfield Beach High School have prepared for success through the College Tour Program. Currently delivered by the Urban League of Broward County (ULBC), students receive academic instruction, community service opportunities, and college readiness assistance every Saturday during the school year.
The dedication of both staff and students has made a positive and lasting impact. During the 2016/2017 academic year, 100% of College Tour seniors not only graduated but were accepted to universities or other post-secondary institutions, and 80% of juniors increased their ACT scores.
"Your support is imperative for building on our proud history of empowering communities and changing lives," said Germaine Smith-Baugh, ULBC president & CEO.
Connect with Urban League of Broward County