By Amy Woods
While the world continues to be upended by COVID-19, Habitat for Humanity South Palm Beach County’s partner families —who had been struggling prior to the pandemic — are facing more challenges while waiting for their homes to be built.
That is why this year’s Women Build event, set for May 5-8, is presented with a “Build Your Way” theme. Forewomen will raise hammers, roofs and, most important, money to help hardworking, low-income homeowners-to-be.
The initiative has expanded to four days, up from three, and offers volunteers multiple options to contribute to the cause. They can join a crew at a construction site, receive a DIY kit with instructions at home or commit to a later date to participate. “We know it has been a gut-wrenching year for everyone, yet as we continue to work through it we have all been greatly inspired by exceptional acts of kindness and generosity given to those struggling in our community,” Co-Chairwoman Robyn Raphael-Dynan said.
“The 2021 Women Build offers yet another heart-warming opportunity for women leaders to give a hand up, not a handout, to hardworking, low-income families in our community who are in critical need of decent housing.”
For more information, call 561-819-6070, ext. 208, or visit www.habitatsouthpalmbeach.org.
Cultural Council fund supports arts organizations
The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County has awarded $186,191 to local arts organizations through a new grant program that was created using a portion of the county’s allocation of federal CARES Act money.
The Palm Beach County Cultural Resiliency Fund was developed to provide direct relief to arts organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic. A total of 15 nonprofits received money.
“As attention turned to addressing the global pandemic, many local cultural organizations lost significant income from donors, corporations and foundations as well as ticket sales,” said Dave Lawrence, the council’s president and CEO. “Thanks to the support of the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and County Administrator Verdenia Baker, the Palm Beach County Cultural Resiliency Fund supported recovery efforts throughout Palm Beach County.”
“Receiving this grant was a lifeline — it was what we needed to keep going and pay our performers,” said Elizabeth Dashiell, co-producer of the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival, one of the recipients. “Last year, we all learned that the arts are vulnerable, but they’re also vital.”
Elizabeth Smart headlines ‘No Excuse for Abuse’
The Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family Service’s “No Excuse for Abuse” event, the annual signature program of the agency, took place virtually featuring abduction survivor Elizabeth Smart as the keynote speaker.
Ilene Goldstein, Diann Mann and Judith Rosenberg served as event co-chairwomen, Peter and Barbara Sidel emceed, and Susan Shulman Pertnoy interviewed Smart.
“The 17th annual ‘No Excuse for Abuse’ virtual evening presented us with the unprecedented opportunity of raising awareness of the uncomfortable topic of domestic abuse with people who may not have been able to attend our event in the past,” CEO Marc Hopin said. “We adapted our signature event this year much like we have with all of the vital programs and services we provide, laser-focused on continuing to improve the lives of individuals and families facing challenges.”
Also at the event, the winners of the “No Excuse for Abuse” poster/poetry contest were announced. Submitted by Jewish students, the entries focused on the topics of bullying, teen dating abuse and emotional, verbal and physical abuse.
Retired doctor takes helm at Quantum Foundation
The Quantum Foundation has named Dr. Gerald O’Connor as its new board chairman.
O’Connor, a retired physician, will occupy the position for two years, leading Palm Beach County’s largest health care funder.
“Our board and staff are seen by the community as thought leaders in the health care space — tackling big issues facing Palm Beach County while always being there for those working on a grassroots level, since we know that is where a community’s health often happens,” O’Connor said. “I am passionate about helping people, and my experience as a physician will bring a unique perspective to the board chair position.”
“We are looking forward to having Dr. O’Connor as Quantum Foundation’s board chair,” President Eric Kelly said. “His passion for helping people and his community involvement makes him an asset to our foundation, and he is a true leader who will guide us through the upcoming years to help make health equity happen.”
Y helps South County kids be safe around water
As part of its commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep children safe in and around the water, the YMCA of South Palm Beach County will provide scholarships for swim instruction and water safety to youths from underserved communities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of death for children ages 14 and younger.
“Educating children how to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them to look both ways before they cross the street,” said Libby Moon, the Y’s drowning-prevention coordinator. “The Y teaches children of all ages and backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, and this practice not only saves lives, it builds confidence.”
In addition to acquiring water-safety skills, children can increase their physical activity by learning to swim, and the group settings aim to teach them life lessons such as sportsmanship.
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