Milagro Center, which provides after-school and summer camp education and cultural arts programs to at-risk children and teens, has been awarded a $100,000 grant from Impact 100 Palm Beach County to expand its « Ladies Empowerment and Achievement Program » (L.E.A.P.) program for underserved teen girls.
Milagro Center was chosen by Impact 100 Palm Beach County, a membership group of more than 600 women who collectively fund multiple grants each year to local 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 March 19th. « 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. »
Milagro Center’s Ladies Empowerment and Achievement Program is a major education and enrichment initiative for the community’s underserved risk teen girls. The Impact 100 grant will enable the organization to:
- further 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 South PBC 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 heartfelt video presentation to the Impact 100 membership, Stark outlined the urgent need for the program, pointing out 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 to reach their full potential. Add in a devastating pandemic and we’ve dramatically increased the urgency. »
Stark said the innovative L.E.A.P. PBC program will introduce these vulnerable young women to career opportunities and successful heart-centered female role models – like many of you watching today – enable them to:
- explore their talents, build new skills,
- bolster academics so they will graduate, go on to college or specialized training, become self-sufficient, and
- break out from the repetitive cycle of poverty.
« We know that 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.
Stark shared the stories of some of the teen girls who have already benefited from the L.E.A.P. pilot program, including Cashalie, who gained a huge increase in self-esteem in addition to improved grades.
She shared a quote from Cashalie: « Since enrolling in L.E.A.P., I have transformed from the inside out. I know that 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 their efforts in helping secure the grant, adding an extra shout-out to Glenn Mueller Director of Grants Administration, for his expertise and diligence in the application process.
Stark’s presentation concluded with a quote from legendary poet Maya Angelou: « Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. »
Countless at-risk teen girls will now be able to live those words and L.E.A.P. into the future, thanks to the Impact 100 Palm Beach County grant.
For more information about the Milagro Center, visit www.MilagroCenter.org or call 561-279-2970.