24 JUNE 2021 www.goodnewsfl.org Good News • South Florida Edition GRADUATES Speak Up for Kids of Palm Beach County has launched Growing Grads, a new community campaign aimed to celebrate young adults who, despite involvement in the foster care system, are graduating! In conjunction with the launch, Speak Up For Kids received invaluable support from the Leadership Palm Beach County Engage Class of 2021. This year, Speak Up for Kids is celebrating 32 graduates in Palm Beach County! As Class of 2021, these students cross the finish line as graduates of high school, GED, college, and vocational school. De- spite involvement in the foster care system, each of these young adults has reached this significant milestone in their education and deserves to be celebrated. The 2021 Graduation Celebration- Growing Grads kicks off with the Celebrating YOUth Scholarship in which awards of $500 are available to high school graduates within the foster care system. With community support, Speak Up for Kids plans to grow the new scholarship fund in order to increase award amounts annually. Learn more by visiting the website speakupforkidspbc.org/celebrating-youth. In lieu of an in-person 2021 Graduation Celebration Event, Speak Up for Kids pivoted to bring the party to the grads despite COVID cir- cumstances. Grads are celebrated with a personal delivery of a con- gratulatory yard sign and Gifts For Grads swag bag filled with community contributions including gift cards from Speak Up! Learn more by visiting speakupforkidspbc.org/growinggrads. “For the teens we serve, normalcy and independent living skills are emphasized to ensure a bright future filled with lifelong connections and self-sufficiency,” said Fiona Wade at Speak Up For Kids. “We cel- ebrate the successes of our young adults- especially the significant milestone of graduation at each level in their education.” Today in Palm Beach County, there are approximately 1600 children in our local foster care system. While several organiza- tions are doing great work for segments of the foster care population, Speak Up for Kids is unique. As the nonprofit dedicated to the PBC Guardian ad Litem Program, Speak Up serves ALL of these children- from newborn to young adult. Each of these children has experienced abuse, abandonment, or neglect which has led to entanglement in a complex legal sys- tem. The Guardian ad Litem Program pro- vides direct legal advocacy on behalf of the children involved in dependency court proceedings. Their advocates are court-appointed to represent the best interest of the children - in doing so we support the physical, emotional, and educational needs of each individual child. “We are profoundly honored and humbled to celebrate our gradu- ates this year! Our triumphant students have risen above their circum- stances and worked hard to break the cycle of abuse and neglect through education and empowerment,” said Coleen LaCosta, Executive Director of Speak Up For Kids. Learn more by visiting the website https://speakupforkidspbc.org or emailing [email protected] Speak Up For Kids of Palm Beach County Launches Growing Grads CONGRATULATIONS to CCA’S CLASS of 2021 Pre–K3 through 12th Grade College Prep Schools We exist tomake disciples of Jesus Christ through a biblical school environment that prepares students to glorify God spiritually, academically, and socially. 1708 North 60th Ave (State Road 7) Hollywood, FL 33021 954–322–4375 | CCAEagles.org/Hollywood Anna Staten Abigail Bailey Sean Ambrose Vennabella Sisto Raquel Damus Alex Ulloa Renel Troutman Brianna Charles Nickolas Anello Kemuel St. Hilaire Isaiah Joseph Milagros Zepeda Gabriel Rodriguez Mizanee McIntrye Valedictorian Rene Lastres Carlos , a Growing Grads partici- pant, graduated from Palm Beach Lakes High School.