PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A Palm Beach County organization is giving children who were once homeless the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive.
Project Grow is an afterschool program run by Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, Inc.
It gives formerly homeless and low-income children, along with kids who have learning disabilities and behavioral issues, a safe and stable environment to learn.
"Child care is crucial to our success because we need to make sure are kids are being well taken care of," said Daphney Lange, a mom who uses Project Grow. "So we can do what we need to to provide for them."
For Lange, there was a time when the mother of two was almost homeless. She was pregnant with her first child and she wasn’t making enough money to get a place of her own.
"It was awful. Everywhere you went they want first, last, and security, and I sure didn’t have that," said Lange.
That’s when she contacted Adopt-A-Family. Lange was able to get in one of their housing programs, but she said it was the free child care at Project Grow that helped her secure a good job.
"We want to A, provide stability to a child, but B also, make sure that that parent is able to achieve his or her goals," said Adopt-A-Family CEO Matt Constantine.
Constantine said Project Grow has a waiting list as they are currently working with 50 students in the suburban Lake Worth area.
"When you start talking about housing instability and child care, these are two huge issues in our community and really probably throughout the entire country," said Constantine. "But we focus on what we can do and we do the best we can, but we also know that more needs to be done."
Project Grow teaches STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) curriculum that introduces career fields to dozens of students in grades kindergarten through fifth grade.
According to Adopt-A-Family, by the end of the 2018-2019 school year, 98 percent of Project Grow students were promoted to the next grade level, which is higher than the local and national averages for formerly homeless and low-income students.
Project Grow is available for children from Adopt-A-Family housing programs in South Florida.
To learn more, click here.
The City of West Palm Beach is also helping parents who need child care options on days when there is no school.
The Parks and Recreation Department is offering activities from kids during teacher planning days on Oct. 18, and Nov. 25, 26, and 27 from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. at the following locations:
- K-5 at Coleman Park, 1116 21st St.
- K-5 at Howard Park, 1302 Parker Ave.
- K-5, 6-8 at Gaines Park, 1501 N. Australian Ave.
- K-5, 6-8 at South Olive Park, 345 Summa St.
The child care costs $18 for West Palm Beach residents and $30 for non-residents. For more information, call 561-804-4900.