Project Grow sees success in helping homeless Palm Beach County students

Program provides academic, social, and emotional support to children in need
A student at Highlands Elementary School in Lake Worth Beach participates in Project Grow on April 18, 2023.jpg
Posted at 7:09 AM, Apr 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-19 07:10:55-04

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — A program designed to help homeless students succeed in Palm Beach County is showing big results.

Project Grow is part of Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches and provides academic, social, and emotional support to students who experience homelessness.

The program works with about 50 kids, mostly in Lake Worth Beach, helping them develop socially and academically in the classroom.


The Project Grow after-school classrooms are full of blossoming potential.

The program works with elementary school students who have faced homelessness and housing instability. Many of them attend Highland Elementary School in Lake Worth Beach and live in Adopt-A-Family housing.

"This program is really a labor of love for all of us here," said Daron Morse, the director of youth educational programs at Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches.

Morse leads Project Grow and said they strive to create an environment where students feel cared for and loved and are driven to succeed.

"Having a stable home to start with and going from there to enable the families to feel supported is key," Morse said.

Adopt-A-Family CEO Matt Constintine said he knew their work was leaving an impact, and a recent research project proves it.

The Project Grow Student Progress Report shows students who participated in the program scored higher on the FAST (Florida Assessment of Student Thinking) standardized test and had higher i-Ready scores and report card grades than students at their school with similar demographics and household income.

"The first emotion I was hit with was sort of, I knew it," Constintine said. "Confirmation of the good work we are doing is making a difference."

But that good work — which includes tutoring, counseling, and other resources — doesn't stop here as housing problems continue.

"Right now, unfortunately, it's a huge issue. We are getting calls every single day," Constintine said.

So they'll keep planting the seeds to watch the students grow.

"The kids that we serve are incredibly talented, resilient, and I think a big piece of becoming stably housed and really being able to take off from there," Constintine said.