The program provides comprehensive education and support to families in the Belle Glade, South-Bay and Pahokee areas. The workers help parents develop goals that enable families to cope with daily problems, break cycles of poverty and lead to independence.
“We refer them to local resources in the community based on needs,” said Claudia Garrison who’s been directing the program for 10 years. “We do a monthly assessment. They come into the program prenatal and they can stay up to five years. They move up levels according to how they progress in the program. It mainly helps them work toward self-sufficiency.”
Three mothers offered testimonials during the ceremony at Mount Zion A.M.E. Multipurpose center in Belle Glade and spoke highly of the workers who assisted them throughout the program.
“There was one mom that said she was in dire straits when she came to the program,” Garrison said. “There was a parent who was in an abusive relationship and we got her into Harmony House. She stayed there until she got a job then she went to school and now she’s working.” Read more »
NOAH Honors Its Mentors
“What mentors do for children is to pass on 100 previous generations of experience. And if that is not passed on to a youngster, the youngster will get that experience from the street. That’s why mentoring is so important. That’s why each and every one of us who has some time, some talent and some willingness to get involved in the life of a child will volunteer to do that. It doesn’t mean you become their parent, it just means you’re there for them.”
-- Retired Army General Colin L. Powell
Founding chairman of America's Promise
-- The Alliance for Youth.
Who’s there for the youth in the Glades?
Jacqueline Radcliff is. She was recognized as Mentor of the Year for NOAH’s Covenant Villas Youth Enrichment Program during a summer luncheon at Stir Crazy Restaurant in Boca Raton.
Mrs. Radcliff is not new to the program; at last year’s luncheon she received special appreciation for donating more than 75 volunteer hours to it. This year she rose earn the top honor, said Jeanette Keaton-Plair who supervises the mentor program.
Other volunteers also were honored at the luncheon for being role models and helping to guide youth in the Glades area of Palm Beach County during the 2008-2009 school year. They are Melton Crittenden, Sharon Singleton, Gloria Whitley (last year’s mentor of the year), Dariel Smith and Talicia Walker. They all received tokens of appreciation.
Administrators who attended the luncheon with Keaton-Plair to honor the mentors included NOAH Executive Director, Thomas Roberts, Program Director, Gladys Givens-Barber, Recruiter, Sherry Buxton and, Outreach Specialist at the Mentor Center, Gary Graham.
Home Away From Home for NOAH Kids
The Clarence E. Anthony Branch Library in South Bay is such a great place for NOAH children to take a field trip, it’s almost like a second classroom. It’s no wonder that the children enjoy going there so much when the learning includes visits from fun characters.
The visits are often magical -- sometimes literally -- like one summer visit that included the “Magic Show” by: Gray Mac Night for the 2- to 5-year-olds. The children really enjoyed the show according to staff members and returned to school talking about the magic man named Mike Night. They also probably liked food certificate they received from McDonald’s.
Speaking of McDonald’s, repeat visitor and reader Ronald McDonald also entertained the 2- to 5-year-olds at the Clarence E. Anthony Branch Library. This time the theme for the day was “Catch the reading Bug” and Ronald did what he loves to do -- read to the children and encouraged them to read more. As you might have guessed, he also left the children with McDonald’s food certificates.
The library events are not the only ones that make a big splash with the children at NOAH’s child development centers. The Fortin Family Development Center held a 2009 Big Splash event that allowed the children to cool off from the summer heat in their swimming suits under a whimsical splash sprinkler pool. That is always a big hit with the kids.
On Aug. 20th, Building Blocks and Fortin centers held their 2009 Back To School Bash at Hand Park in Belle Glade in front of Building Blocks. New and current students were welcomed and there were a large number of participants including parents, teachers, volunteers and members of the grandparent program. The large group of attendees made the games and activities all that much for fun for the children and everyone enjoyed a lunch that included sandwiches, baby carrots, fruit cups, chips, and milk.
Parents were able to learn more about NOAH programs during an Open House/Parent Meeting. The parents were welcomed into their children’s classrooms to see their artwork and learn more about the learning activities of the kids. The parents also had opportunities to have conferences with the teachers. The open house included drawings for prizes and food that included fried chicken, baked beans, finger sandwiches, cake and juice.
NOAH GETS ITS FIRST 20-YEAR EMPLOYEE
Somewhere in the Glades and points beyond there are 20-year-olds walking around who, in their infancy, were led to the protective walls of NOAH and cradled in the arms of Cynthia Williams.
Williams, a lead teacher in the infant classroom at Building Blocks Family Development Center, recently became NOAH’s first 20-year employee.
Williams has been married for 33 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.
Before joining NOAH, Williams was working in the Glades fields grading celery. She Learned from her sister that there was an opportunity to work with children at NOAH. She received training and certification in child care and attended college to improve her early childhood education skills.
“My best memories are of working with the infants who have come and gone,” she said in a previous interview. “The parents still remember me and often bring their children to see me, telling them, 'this used to be your teacher.' The joy that I get from this brings loving memories to my heart.”