CLOWNS, WHALES AND FRIGHTFUL SIGHTS ADD TO CHILDREN’S MEMORIES
Literacy is a serious issue, and when it comes to instilling the desire to read into children in NOAH's pre-kindergarten programs at the Fortin Family Development Center, there's no clowning around -- unless the clown is reading.
On Oct. 2, the children were taken to one of their frequent stops -- the Clarence E. Anthony Branch Library in South Bay -- to see Ronald McDonald. The world's most recognizable clown treated the children to a magic show and sung the "ABC" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider" songs. He also read the story "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." At the end of the show, children were given free coupons for happy meals, ice cream cones, and French fries.
Earlier that same day, the staff and children participated in a reading the book "CORDUROY" with Gail Kressal from Family Central, Inc. The activity was part of a county-wide program of the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition.
The children in the pre-K classes of both the Building Blocks Family Development Center Pre-K and the Fortin Center Pre-K had a whale of a time during a Sept. 19 trip to the Miami Sea Aquarium, where they enjoyed seeing a performance by real Miami dolphins, whales and other exhibits.
On Sept. 29, it was "A Royal Affair" as a new court was crowned during the third Annual Homecoming Coronation. Kobe James and Frantasia Moore were crowned King and Queen. Esteban Muniz and Lydia Lewis are the new Prince and Princess.
During another trip to the Clarence E. Anthony Branch library on Oct. 9, the pre-K class learned about fire safety from local firefighters.
On Oct. 13, the pre-k class visited the Pumpkin Patch at the United Methodist Church in Belle Glade. They were entertained by a music teacher and sang pumpkin songs. They played games, explored a reading room and watched a movie about "How Pumpkins Grow." They also were able to buy their own pumpkins.
Enter if you dare! There was a blood-thirsty vampire, a flat-headed Frankenstein and a little red devil and other frightful sights, but NOAH family care workers chose this day to invite parents for an Open House Parent Meeting/Halloween Bash. The Oct. 30 event was a huge success. Parents enjoyed refreshments and met with teachers and talked about the development of their children. Then parents, children and their siblings participated in a Halloween costume contest. Gifts were given to children for cutest, scariest, most original and most identified character costumes.
The Halloween bash followed a field trip to Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach for the Fall Family Fun Day hosted by the Treasure Coast Early Steps Program. The children participated in crafts, fall games and a bounce house.
The Fortin center staff sends congratulations to Kentoria Wright, the Teacher Assistant in the 2-year-old classroom who completed the Requirements for the College Credit Certificate/Pre-School Certificate from Palm Beach Community College.
A Q&A WITH NOAH'S LONGEST TENURED EMPLOYEE
NOAH is entering its 25th year, and Cynthia Williams has been on staff for 19 of those years. Williams has been married for 32 years, has four children and seven grandchildren. She grew up and went to school in Belle Glade and attends the Greater Union Missionary Baptist Church. She recently answered a few questions about serving children of the Glades at Building Blocks Infant and Family Development Center for nearly two decades.
Job Title: Lead teacher in the Infant Classroom at Building Blocks. I went from Teacher II to Lead Teacher.
Question: What led you to NOAH 19 years ago?
Answer: I was led to NOAH by my sister-in-law, who was working with the company at that time. She came by my house and informed me that Ms. K. Joseph was looking for teachers to work at the Day Care. During that time, I was working in the field grading celery. This wasn't something that I wanted to do all my life. So when an opportunity came my way I took it. Now, 19 years later, I'm still here. I went from working in the field to being a college student and Lead Teacher.
Q: Why have you stayed with NOAH for so long?
A: I have stayed with NOAH for this long because of my love for the job. Over the years, I have met many children and parents who were a joy to work with.
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GLORIA WHITLEY NAMED MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Mrs. Gloria Whitley was named the Mentor of the Year with More than 100 volunteer hours with the Covenant Villas Youth Mentoring Program.
Mrs. Whitley is a retired teacher from the area and has shown genuine concern for the youth in the community. She worked with the youth assigned to her and provided other youths in the program with various science activities that were challenging and fun.
Mrs. Whitley was honored during a Recognition Dinner at Outback Steakhouse on Aug. 27. Attending the dinner was the Executive Director Thomas A. Roberts II, Program Director Gladys Givens-Barber, Program Supervisor Jeanette Keaton-Plair, and mentors Melton Crittenden, Rachelle Jean-Baptiste, Jacqueline G. Radcliffe and Sharon Singleton.
Mrs. Radcliffe was presented with a special token of appreciation for 75 hours of volunteering. The remaining mentors also received tokens of appreciation for the volunteer hours they served.
Keaton-Plair worked hard to recruit mentors and students to the program, and
for the first time since its inception, there is a waiting list for
participants. As a result of its success, an addition has been made to
staff: Sherry Martin has been hired as a Para-Professional/Recruiter in the
BOARDMEMBER SPOTLIGHT ON ANNIE PEARL SMITH HILL
Title: Retired 35-year Glades Area employee of the School District of Palm Beach County
Personal: Married 55 years to David Enoch Hill and mother of one daughter, Derald Cordelia Hill Shirley, a Head Start teacher in Broward County, who is married to Cedric Shirley of the Broward County Sheriff's Office
The best thing about working with NOAH is: Its dedicated board and employees who continue to march to the drum beat of its mission with focus, determination and perfection that's second to none.
I am most proud of: NOAH's comprehensive approach to service delivery to accomplish its mission to improve housing in the Glades area of Palm Beach County and to empower disadvantaged individuals toward self-help and sufficiency from prenatal to preschool. I'm also proud of how NOAH helps families raise healthy children, its childcare development center programs, dedication to helping new mothers and youth mentor programs that allow NOAH to be a resource for families in transition.
My vision for NOAH is a continued extension and expansion in fulfillment of its mission, expanding from rental properties to single family homes.
My background: Grew up in Belle Glade, former migrant, eldest daughter of the late Mr. Willie Ree and Mrs. Anna Lester Smith of Belle Glade. Attended elementary schools in Florida, New Mexico, California and New York. Retired in 1992 after 35 years of service in Belle Glade as a first grade teacher, K-12 resource teacher, West Area title I/Chapter I Migrant Program Coordinator, Early Childhood Specialist
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NOAH RESIDENT IMPROVES QUALITY OF LIFE AT SENIOR COMPLEX
If necessity is the mother of invention, perhaps Glades Pioneer Terrace resident Nettie Truttling is the mother of convenience and quality of life in her 70-unit universe.
Through her diligence and skillful efforts, Ms. Truttling obtained grants to have electric doors installed at Glades Pioneer Terrace senior apartment community in Belle Glade. The electric doors make it much easier for residents to enter and leave the complex which has 70 one- and two-bedroom apartments.
But Ms. Truttling did not stop there. She also won another grant that provided recreational and exercise equipment for residents of Glades Pioneer Terrace.
Truttling is a jewel. The three main sources of income for nonprofit organizations are earned income, donations and grants. It is a rare organization that can fulfill its mission without grants and that’s why organizations put so much energy into hiring skilled grant writers who are in such high demand. When such a highly specialized skill is found outside the efforts of staff and hired consultants, it is a precious gift.
"Ms. Truttling's efforts have really added to the quality of life for the residents at Glades Pioneer Terrace," said NOAH Executive Director Thomas Roberts.
"NOAH would also like to recognize and thank the Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization which is under the Management of Houston L. Tate and Latoya Ricketts of the OCR staff for providing the grants," Roberts said.
One needs only to review the daunting, detailed job description of a grant writer listed by the American Grant Writers Association to understand the complexity and value of Ms. Truttling’s achievements. The ease of residents passing through doors and joy and benefits gained by residents in the recreation room reveal even more value.