Congratulations to the 2019 Community Involvement Awards Winners!
Broward County Public Schools Community Involvement Awards (CIA) was held on Thursday, May 9 at Bailey Hall, Broward College A. Hugh Adams Central Campus. The CIA was attended by more than 600 individuals who gathered to honor the District’s outstanding volunteers, mentors, family engagement initiatives and partnerships.
This year’s event, emceed by Lauderdale Lakes Middle School Principal, James Griffin, II, featured student performances from a Community Step Team, Dillard 6-12 School, Forest Glen Middle School, Silver Trail Middle School and South Plantation High School. Additionally, J.P. Taravella High School ProStart program provided an enjoyable breakfast.
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AWARD
Outstanding Person of the Year
Manatee Bay Elementary School
Jessica Gandara has volunteered with Broward County Public Schools for 8 years. In an effort to engage families and community members in education , Ms. Gandara implemented a “Family Fitness Night” at Weston Regional Park. More than 900 families attended and engaged in fitness activities and healthy food demonstrations. Families participated in physical activities, gained knowledge of healthy food options, and exemplified social and emotional skills. Her commitment to engaging the entire community knows no bounds. She is also the lead parent for the Health and Fitness Committee at Manatee Bay Elementary School, where she works with students to create and maintain a school vegetable garden.
Outstanding Group of the Year
William Dandy Middle School Food Pantry and Company
William Dandy Middle School
Each week, the William Dandy Middle School Food Pantry and Company ensures distributes thousands of pounds of food to the community. This group consists of students, staff and faith-based volunteers. They work together with Feeding South Florida, to sort, package and distribute non-perishable foods every Thursday and fresh produce biweekly. The Pantry program is crucial to student achievement as it allows food-insecure students and their families to receive fresh, healthy food from a familiar and convenient location. Additionally, students are learning the value of public service and volunteerism. In addition, the program increases family engagement by strengthening relationships between staff and parents/caregivers.
OUTSTANDING MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Mentor of the Year
Officer Arnando Hernandez
Liberty Elementary School
With a total of more than 1,400 hours, Officer Arnando Hernandez mentors 16 students each week at Liberty Elementary School. His involvement with the students does not stop when they graduate as he often follows up with past students who have moved on to middle school. In addition to his work as a mentor, Officer Hernandez works as the liaison between our school and the Margate Police Department to help coordinate donation programs such “Shop With A Cop”, “Toy Room” and food donations for families in need at the school. He works to ensure that gaps of needs are filled so no one is left out. He is a role model for all students and a great help to the school community. Officer Hernandez is a huge part of the Liberty Elementary Family.
Outstanding Community/Youth Mentoring Program of the Year
Lighthouse Community Church
Dania Elementary School
The Lighthouse Community Church Adopt-A-School program works with Dania Elementary School’s schedule to implement tutoring, homework assistance and team-building activities twice weekly, during non-instructional time and a community-based after-school mentoring program. The mentors in the Adopt-A-School program assist students who do not have access to academic help, the internet or computers. The program is beneficial to all students involved and according to a program review, students who are involved in both programs have shown improvement in both reading and math.
Mentoring Program of the Year – Elementary Level
Adopt-a-Scholar Mentoring Program
Village Elementary School
The school-based mentoring program at Village Elementary School provides guidance and support to students in need. It is an innovative supplement to the traditional learning that takes place at Village Elementary, providing students with another avenue through which they might feel more confident about their schoolwork, improve their attitudes and commitment to learning, and develop more fully as a person. The program focuses on improving academic performance, building feelings of scholastic competence and confidence, building relationships peers, teachers, and other school personnel and increasing attendance and class participation.
Mentoring Program of the Year – Secondary Level
Architecture Construction Engineering Mentor Program of America, Inc.
Atlantic Technical College and High School
The Architecture Construction Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program of America, Inc. helps high school students discover career options available to them in architecture, construction, and engineering by working with industry professionals in real environments. During the program year, professionals from local ACE industry firms, as well as high school and university educators, meet weekly after school with teams of Atlantic Technical High School juniors and seniors to share experiences and expertise. Through their involvement with ACE, students gain an understanding of the design and construction industry, connections to professionals who will continually provide support and networking during their college years and professional life as well as an introduction to college programs and degree requirements. Mr. Davis, the ideal expert role model, guides students’ learning and exposes students to the entire industry by providing hands-on activities, informal presentations, office visits and site tours.
OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Volunteer of the Year – Elementary Level
Lara Shah and Kristopher Nelson
Virginia Shuman Young Montessori Elementary School
Lara Shah and Kristopher Nelson are the visionaries behind The Morning Mile Program, which literally “taken off running” at Virginia S. Young Montessori Elementary School. The Morning Mile is a before-school walking/running program that gives children the chance to start each day in an active way while having fun and enjoying music and friends. Teachers praise their students’ new ability to focus and learn while parents rave about the sense of pride, accomplishment and dedication to a healthy lifestyle the participating students have made. The students love how exercise makes them feel - one kindergarten student has even completed more than 200 miles. They love wearing their reward necklaces and socializing with friends each morning. With more than 6,000 miles ran at Virginia S. Young Montessori Elementary, the Morning Mile Program keeps students highly motivated and allows them to expend energy on the field leaving them more likely to excel in academics once the school day begins.
Volunteer of the Year – Secondary Level
Indian Ridge Middle School
Kirsten Kustin started volunteering at Indian Ridge Middle School four years ago. One of Ms. Kustin’s special skill sets are identifying areas that need improvement and creating projects that benefit both parents and students. One such project is the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) website and on-line school store. Ms. Kustin also developed the Strive Awards, which recognizes student achievement, arranged for a new kiosk sign and installed refillable drinking fountains. Ms. Kustin is a meaningful part of the Indian Ridge Middle family and is recognized by all stakeholders with respect and honor. The face of the school’s PTO, Ms. Kustin has a professionalism that is rarely seen in a parent volunteer. Her energy, grace, work ethic and understanding are inspirational and creates an environment of focus and empowerment. Ms. Kustin has served Indian Ridge Middle with everything she has and will leave her beautiful imprint on the school for years to come.
Program Organizer Volunteer of the Year
Eagle Point Elementary School
Sophia LoMonaco’s impact at Eagle Point Elementary School is far reaching. Through the implementation of several initiatives such as the Daddy Daughter Dance, Mom and Son Fun Night and Spirit Sticks, Ms. LoMonaco has significantly increased the student, parent and community involvement at Eagle Point Elementary. The Spirit Sticks program is a huge success with the students. Spirit Sticks are small embroidered patches with motivational quotes, which are given to every student at the beginning of the school year. Students display their Spirit Sticks on their backpacks or lanyards with pride and are rewarded additional Spirit Sticks for amazing behavioral accomplishments and leadership qualities. Ms. LoMonaco’s outgoing and welcoming nature has brought together families from diverse backgrounds to work together for the good of the school. Eagle Point Elementary School is lucky to have such a dedicated and committed volunteer.
Senior Volunteer of the Year
Beachside Montessori Village
Kimber Newhouse is an integral part in the success of a very important program at Beachside Montessori Village, the Food Recovery Program. Through a partnership between the school, BCPS Food and Nutrition Services, Kids Can, and Broward Outreach, this program reduces food waste and the school’s carbon footprint, while supporting hunger relief in the community. Students give leftover, unopened, uneaten or unpeeled items from their lunch trays to Ms. Newhouse daily. As students bring items to the Food Sharing table, Ms. Newhouse keeps a tally of those items for reporting purposes. When the Food Sharing Table is full, she transfers the items to a special refrigerator so that the items are stored in the proper temperature. At the end of lunchtime, she loads the items and delivers them to the local homeless shelter where the food is consumed. In addition to that, she regularly volunteers in her grandson’s class by assisting students in the classroom and serves a mentor for other volunteers.
Student Volunteer of the Year
Cooper City High School
Each year, Brett Bartel, an 18-year-old senior at Cooper City High School is honored for outstanding service and leadership. His service to his school and community began as early as elementary school. In middle school, he launched a service project, the Cooper City Lemonade Stand for Charity to support a friend’s mother diagnosed with breast cancer. This fundraiser now honors four mothers of Cooper City High students, and through Mr. Bartel’s efforts, money is raised to buy wigs for chemotherapy patients. Now an annual event, the Cooper City Lemonade Stand for Charity has raised more than $14,500 for the American Cancer Society and has earned Mr. Bartel recognition from the American Cancer Society of Florida. Mr. Bartel has combined a passion for service, business, and leadership with several impactful projects that touch him personally. His leadership strategy is not centered on seeking service hours or awards but to motivate others to achieve their goals, whether in sports, service or academics.
SCHOOL-BASED PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR
Elementary School Partner Award
Liberty Elementary School with the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek
The Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek is comprised of owners and executives of a variety of businesses and organizations, all united in the cause of service - in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. Each week, the Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale/Cypress Creek helps to feed 20 children from Liberty Elementary School through the Club’s Pack-A-Sack program. These children may receive free breakfast and lunch at school, but without the Pack-A-Sack program, they go hungry over the weekend. Every week the Rotary Club, in partnership with New Horizons Methodist Church, purchases and distributes food for to help these youngsters on weekends and during breaks when school-subsidized meals are not available.
Middle School Partner Award
James S. Rickards Middle School with Harmony Development Center, Inc.
Harmony Development Center, Inc. began implementing its Afterschool and Summer programs in partnership with James S. Rickards Middle School in 2012 to address school behavior and performance, mental health, substance abuse and delinquent behaviors. Securing funding of more than $3M during that time, Harmony has positively impacted more than 800 James S. Rickards Middle students. Through this program, students are exposed to drama, music, dance, mathematics and construction skills. Harmony Development Center’s Afterschool and Summer programs have shown excellent results consistently helping students who are at high risk of dropping out of school. Ninety-eight percent of Rickard’s Harmony students have improved grades and school attendance.
High School Partner Award
Western High School with Motorola Solutions, Inc. and Motorola Solutions Foundation
Motorola Solutions, Inc. and Motorola Solutions Foundation in Plantation have been highly instrumental in STEM Education at Western High School and other schools in the District. In 2012, Alex Marron, an engineer at Motorola Solutions, Inc. began mentoring students in robotics and solar car development after school. In the ensuing years, Mr. Marron and Motorola Solutions, Inc. developed the Mentoring and Shadowing Program held each summer for District high school students. Students in Broward County Public Schools shadow more than 30 Motorola Solutions, Inc. employees for a week and learn the day-to-day workplace routines in the fields of engineering and marketing. The Western High STEM Academy has benefitted greatly from Motorola Solution Foundation grants, making it possible for more students to engage in hands-on, minds-on learning experiences. This support has enabled Western High School to provide after-school STEM activities to its feeder elementary and middle schools.
Center Partner of the Year
Seagull Alternative High School with Galen OB/GYN Group
Dr. Barrington Murray of the Galen OB/GYN Group has partnered with Seagull Alternative High School since 2007 to provide valuable obstetrical services and prenatal care to young ladies who are pregnant and at-risk. Galen OB/GYN Group provides support from the initial stages of pregnancy to delivery and beyond by providing free childbirth and breast-feeding classes to ensure these students are prepared to face motherhood. Thanks to the care, guidance and education provided by Dr. Murray, these young women are able to focus on their academics and pursuit of a high school diploma. They can visualize a future where they can continue their education in college or vocational school and provide a better life for their child.
Broward Education Foundation Partner of the Year
During the launch month of #depotdifference, Office Depot supported Broward County Public Schools in a major way by donating $50,000 to Broward Education Foundation’s Official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund along with thousands more in teacher gift cards and by providing truckloads of donated school supplies in the aftermath of the tragedy. At the start of the 2018/19 school year, Office Depot launched its new signature back-to-school philanthropy program called Start Proud! and selected Park Lakes Elementary School in Lauderdale Lakes as one of just 10 recipient schools nationwide. In early April 2019, Office Depot made their single largest donation of school supplies in their history to Broward Education Foundation’s School Supply Center, providing seven semi-trucks (or 180 pallets) full of essential products and supplies that Broward County Title I teachers receive free for their classrooms and students in need. For their holistic approach to community investment and philanthropy, and for their tremendous commitment to teachers and students in Broward County Public Schools, Broward Education Foundation is extremely proud to recognize Office Depot as its Partner of the Year and extends its heartfelt gratitude for making a #depotdifference!
District Partnership Of Thr Year
The National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement
Immediately after the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on February 14, 2018, the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (NCSCB) came to the assistance of Broward County Public Schools (BCPS). David Schonfeld, MD, FAAP, Center Director, and his colleagues, helped support students, parents and teachers as they coped with the trauma experienced after the devastating loss of their friends, siblings, children and students. From providing guidance for teachers on what to say to their students and how they could help a child to grieve to what support services should be established for families, the NCSCB team was a strong partner that helped the District establish the appropriate plan and resources to facilitate healing. The District could not have navigated these unknown areas without the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. While providing coping skills, they helped us stay true to our commitment to ensure that every school provides a nurturing and safe learning environment to enable our students to succeed in tomorrow’s world.
The 2019 Community Involvement Awards is a collaborative initiative between the Public Information Office, the Office of Student Support Initiatives and Recovery and Broward Education Foundation.