Palm Beach State College has received a $20,000 donation from philanthropist Laura Finfrock to launch a scholarship for Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County members at the Smith & Moore Family Teen Center in Belle Glade.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County-Belle Glade Teen Center Scholarship Fund will cover up to $1,500 per year for recipients to pursue an associate degree or career certificate at PBSC. By reaching youth early and supporting their college education, Finfrock aims to help develop a pipeline of qualified employees in the Glades, which has seen some of the highest unemployment rates in the county.
“To meet the challenges of tomorrow, we need to invest in our kids today,” said Finfrock. “I’m very impressed with the opportunities and technology available at the Smith & Moore Family Teen Center in Belle Glade. The obvious next step for the Club members is a scholarship program that creates a pathway to succeed. This investment can also ensure businesses in the Glades will have qualified employees in the near future.”
Finfrock was introduced to the needs in the Glades region when the family business, FINFROCK, announced plans to expand operations into Palm Beach County. FINFROCK is Central Florida’s largest commercial contractor and one of the area’s largest employers. Early last year, the company purchased 100 acres in Belle Glade to house precast concrete manufacturing facilities totaling over 140,000 square feet. The plant will allow FINFROCK to bring over 200 much-needed higher-wage jobs to the Belle Glade area and better serve commercial developers in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties and in Southwest Florida.
The scholarship is only available to active members of the Smith & Moore Family Teen Center who have been a member of a Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County for at least two consecutive years and have completed 20 volunteer hours at the Club. Scholarship eligibility includes a current GPA of 2.0 or higher and submission of a 250-word essay describing how the scholarship will benefit the applicant’s educational journey. Scholarship recipients can attend any PBSC campus. Priority will be given to students studying science, technology, engineering and math as well as industry, manufacturing, construction and transportation.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our Teen Center members. It builds on our career readiness programs at the Club that focuses on science and technology,” said Jaene Miranda, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. “We opened our new state-of-the-art center last year, and I am thrilled that the community is building upon our mission to help all youth reach their full potential by ensuring they can continue their education after high school.”
The application process opens in February for the first round of scholarships. While the initial gift allows the scholarship program to begin, additional contributions are needed to serve more students in the future.
“I feel the Glades has been neglected for too long, and we need to turn around the expectation of our children, Finfrock said. “We need their talents to help solve the problems of tomorrow, and this scholarship fund is one way to increase much-needed opportunities in the Glades.”
Dr. LaTanya McNeal, executive dean of the PBSC Belle Glade campus, said she is pleased to launch another partnership to help meet the education and workforce needs in the Glades.
“It has been an amazing experience to work with Chilondra Sheppard, Lotus Holem and Kimberly Sovinski from Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and our donor, Laura Finfrock, to create a new Foundation scholarship that links the vision of the organization for all youth to have a plan for their future to PBSC career pathways. These types of collaborations are a win-win for the College, the community and our current and future workforce. I appreciate Mrs. Finfrock for her passion, generous donation and willingness to support our youth.”
For more information on how to donate to Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County – Belle Glade Teen Center Scholarship Fund, please contact Kim Sovinsky at [email protected] or call 561-683-3287. To make a gift to the PBSC Foundation, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/foundation or call 561-868-3450.