Campus & Community

Three Boys & Girls Club teens are first recipients of new scholarship to attend PBSC

De’Mario Sims, Guilbert Amilcar and Ayanna Graham are the inaugural recipients of Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County-Belle Glade Teen Center Scholarship Fund for Palm Beach State College. Photo courtesy of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

The inaugural recipients of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County-Belle Glade Teen Center Scholarship Fund for Palm Beach State College were recently announced.

Ayanna Graham, De’Mario Sims and Guilbert Amilcar are the three Smith & Moore Family Teen Center members who will each receive a $1,500 a year scholarship to cover costs to pursue an associate degree or career certificate at PBSC. The scholarships were made possible by a seed donation to the College from community partner and philanthropist Laura Finfrock.

“I am thrilled that the first recipients of this new scholarship have started their journey for success,” said Finfrock. “Not only will this encourage Smith & Moore Family Teen Center members to attend college, but it will help to end generational poverty while ensuring businesses in the Glades will have more qualified employees in the near future.”

Laura 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 newly created scholarship fund is only available to active members of the Boys & Girls Clubs’ 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.

“We are so proud of these recipients as they are shining examples of the amazing young people at our Smith & Moore Family Teen Center. This scholarship opportunity builds upon our career readiness programs at the Club,” said Jaene Miranda, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County.

Graham who has been a member of the Belle Glade Teen Center for seven years. She is a 2022 graduate of Glades Central Community High School where she participated in several on-campus and off-campus activities. In addition to being a well-rounded student, Ayanna has a deep love of photography and has competed in several competitions, which have earned her national recognition.

Sims is a graduate of Wellington Community High School and has spent seven years at the Belle Glade Teen Center. He is a very astute and humble young man. His passions lie in gaming and videography, and he hopes to pursue a motion picture production degree in the fall. He finds it most exciting behind the scenes in the production room bringing concepts to life.

Amilcar is also a 2022 graduate of Glades Central Community High School where he was a member of the basketball team. Outside of school, he is a money maven, taking a keen interest in investing and the stock market. He is also one of four students who produced a recurring podcast for the Belle Glade Teen Center. He hopes to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner and will study nursing at PBSC in the fall.

“These scholarship recipients represent a fantastic group of individuals and organizations coming together to help the community of Belle Glade,” said Dr. LaTanya McNeal, executive dean of the PBSC Belle Glade campus. “Partnerships like this create opportunities that are life-changing for these young adults and go a long way in setting them on a path to being impactful engaged citizens. This is the next step in a process that we hope continues to grow, and I look forward to future years of scholars who go on to achieve remarkable things.”

The seed donation made by Finfrock kickstarted the scholarship program, but efforts are underway to raise further funds to ensure that the scholarship program will be available to even more deserving Club members in the future. For more information on how to donate to Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County – Belle Glade Teen Center Scholarship Fund, please contact Kim Sovinski at ksovinski@bgcpbc.org or call 561-683-3287.  To make a gift to the PBSC Foundation, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/foundation or call 561-863-3450.

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