New Hope Charities, Inc.
Providing Services to Rural Disadvantaged, Poverty-Stricken Communities
Since 1988, New Hope Charities, Inc. has been providing programs and services to the disadvantaged children and families living in the remote western areas of Palm Beach County, Florida (REDI*). The populations located in this rural area have been trapped in poverty and have little hope for the future – their children. The following statistics provide a good indication of the problems facing these rural areas that we serve:
- 75% of children under the age of five live in poverty
- 60% of adults do not have a high school diploma
- 34% of the population is illiterate
- 33% of teenage girls will become pregnant
- 80% of homes are headed by a single parent
- 58% of students score in the lowest quartile of the state reading exam
- 48% of students score in the lowest quartile of the state math exam
- HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis are serious health problems
*REDI: Rural Economic Development Initiative Communities
The student population served by New Hope Charities, Inc. lives in the Western communities of Pahokee, Canal Point, Belle Glade and South Bay. New Hope targets youth ages 5 to 12 years of age and approximately 56% of the children participating in our program are Latino, 43% are of African-American or Haitian descent, and the remaining 1% is Caucasian. The population consists of 60% male and 40% female.
Young people living in these communities must contend with some of Palm Beach County’s highest levels of poverty, crime, teen pregnancy and school dropout rates. In fact, not even half of the residents in Pahokee, where our center is located, graduate from high school. This figure is nearly half of the national average of 80%. Many of the young people in our program come from single parent households and fall below federal poverty guidelines.
Statistics indicate that an estimated 40% of the children in Pahokee fall below the national poverty line with an average per capita income of only $10,346 (based on 2007 census). This level of poverty leads to isolation, as family units rarely travel beyond the borders of their own neighborhoods. A significant number of these children have little or no understanding of life outside their community having no connection to society.
New Hope Charities provides the youth with a stable environment that encourages growth and learning. We are also combating the high drop-out rates in the community schools by providing educational and cultural opportunities that would not otherwise be available. By identifying the needs of each student and providing them with individual homework assistance and tutoring, as well as access to our computer lab and lending library, we are helping them attain the skills necessary for grade promotion and improving their probability of graduating from high school.
Students also have the opportunity to attend field trips, including trips to local museums, cultural performances and environmental learning expeditions, exposing them to influences outside of their own community. Our belief is that these experiences build self-esteem, confidence and incite creativity, traits that will translate into stronger citizens building a stronger community for future generations.