Benefits of Supporting Literacy

We got a lot of support for our second annual Love of Literacy Luncheon on Feb. 8 in Boynton Beach.

Literacy is a word we use often in describing our programs and events.

Take a few moments to understand what it means and how beneficial it is for our children and families.

What is literacy?

The word literacy that seems to have been used since the end of the 19th century, refers to the ability of a person to read a text or produce it on a physical or virtual medium. Literacy is a process that begins when you learn to draw or recognize certain letters on a keyboard, and join those forming sentences and words that we can read and give them a meaning. For those who do not have the possibility to see, literacy is done by the Braille system. As a process is continuous and perfectible, because many can read and write, but do not know the meaning of many words, cannot understand the author’s message, cannot adequately convey what they wanted to express and so on. Those who do not know how to read and write are illiterate and who, despite being able to do so, do so in a rudimentary way, without being able to understand the meaning of the expressions, are called functional illiterates, which is natural in preadolescent children but should be gradually overcome as the skill is advanced.

The literacy rate is very important to determine the degree of development of a country or region. In most countries of the world, the primary education of children is at least mandatory, which is why the number of illiterates tends to decrease. The creation of adult education plans also contributes to eradicating the problem of illiteracy, which still registers very high rates especially in African countries.

Without a doubt, literacy is a very important stage in our lives, since it is in this process that we discover reading and interpreting things.

Professionals in this area, through a well-developed learning process and with adequate goals and objectives, are considered important people in this stage, as it has the responsibility to qualify the students, helping them on a wide range of subjects.

The way to learn or to read and write will depend on the student, since each one has its limitations and aptitudes for the methodologies, so it is up to the teacher to understand the need of each student and work on it.

The role of the teacher in the student literacy process is to work in the best possible way to teach, write and encourage reading, not to mention that he must find ways to make the student interested in learning. Student will know how to relate better to people and build knowledge for themselves.

The understanding of each teacher regarding the construction of knowledge and learning is fundamental for the students, because it is through literacy that he will make discoveries of the most varied subjects.

Reading is an option in building students’ interest in studies, so it is up to the teacher to provide that contact. This importance is due to the awakening of the will to read and learn, we become adults who have reading and learning as a habit, not to mention that we also know many ways to correctly pronounce words and understand texts that sometimes seem impossible to understand.

10 benefits of literacy

Literacy has benefits beyond improving reading and writing skills. There are several additional benefits that are not highlighted immediately.

Literacy is much more than just decoding letters – that is, learning to read and writing – because when you are literate you are open to understanding various social, cultural, and linguistic aspects. See 10 advantages literacy brings to your life:

  1. Being literate transforms the individual in various ways, because it will make him understand better about the social and cultural aspect.
  2. A literate person guarantees the best exercise of citizenship, since they will understand and know about their rights and duties.
  3. With literacy, you will be able to better understand what has been read and know what is the best use of the word and the meaning of it.
  4. It is a unique enrichment, not to mention that it is a form of human and social development.
  5. You will not only know how to read and write, but understand what was read and know how to make the best use of the word.
  6. Good learning is essential if students are to be able to develop their citizenship role in the future.
  7. You will feel closer to society, feel part of it as well and relate better to people.
  8. Literacy prepares you for life, both personal and professional.
  9. It is the basis for a concrete and constructive education.
  10. It is a right and a form of enrichment, since literacy is the basic essence of education.

Literacy is a fundamental process to guarantee the right of all people to quality education and lifelong learning. It promotes autonomy, self-esteem, social and gender equity, knowledge, capacity building, human, social, cultural and economic development.

BRIDGES Take Action

What’s on your mind?

Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group recently hosted two BRIDGES Take Action — Oscar-themed events (one in English and one in Spanish) to inspire our residents to tell us how our programs are received in the community and what our staff can do better to help families thrive in Palm Beach County. The events were also to thank the 118 members/clients who participated in a survey process.

The events came after an evaluation by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County that found many of the children attending our BRIDGES programs aren’t as proficient in reading and aren’t as ready for kindergarten as children in other parts of Palm Beach County. For example, in Palm Beach County, 90% of kindergarteners were screened as “ready,” whereas 77% of Lake Worth West kindergarteners were ready.

That’s no major surprise, considering our BRIDGES programs exist to raise children’s reading levels and get children prepared for school. As part of BRIDGES, there are monthly educational workshops on topics, such as improving reading and better parenting.

Rhonda Rogers, executive director of Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group, said our staff is making progress in getting children better prepared for school. But, she said, there are barriers — including language challenges, domestic violence incidents, and immigration concerns — that can stand in the way of children succeeding in school.

“Many of our families are going through a lot of things, but we’re working with them and helping their children get better prepared for school,” Rogers said. “These children are resilient and they will accomplish many good things.”

At the BRIDGES Take Action events, residents came to celebrate BRIDGES and have fun, as well as, of course, to offer ideas on making our workshops stronger and improving the community. Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group is now working on an action plan to address those issues.

“We set up the BRIDGES Take Action events to listen, take notes and commit to action – and that’s exactly what we’ll do,” Rogers said.

Our High School Girls Get Job Readiness Skills Through New Program

A group of Lake Worth West high school girls is learning job readiness skills and getting mentoring to prepare them for the future — thanks to a new program organized by Dress for Success Palm Beaches and funded by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

The eight-session program, called Next Step, is designed to help junior and senior girls gain a sense of self-esteem and self-worth so they are ready for the job market.

Rhonda Rogers, our executive director, said Next Step complements Lake Worth West’s College Prep program, which prepares high school students for the rigors of college life. She said about 10 low-income Latino girls are participating in Next Step.

“This is a tremendous addition to preparing our students for the future,” Rogers said.

The sessions, which started on Oct. 30 and will through Dec. 18, include:

  • How to look for a job, resume writing, and effective job applications
  • Networking and how to utilize resources in the community in a job search
  • Preparing for an interview – what to wear, how to act, and how to answer common questions
  • Setting short and long-term goals and using time-management to reach those goals
  • Money management and balancing a basic budget
  • Etiquette for professional and personal setting

Students completing Next Step will also get to consult with a personal shopper at Dress for Success boutique who will help them select workplace attires.

Lake Worth West is grateful to Dress for Success Palm Beaches for organizing the program and for Children’s Services Council for funding it through the Great Ideas initiative.

Interested in learning more? Contact Betsy Smith at: or 561-598-3574.

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary

Time certainly flies!

This year, we are celebrating our 20th anniversary as an organization that has transformed the Lake Worth West community.

With our partners at Palm Beach County government, Sheriff’s Office, Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, and so many other agencies and businesses, Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group accomplished what once seemed an impossible task – turning a dilapidated stretch of homes filled with drug dealers into a thriving community of active parents who are preparing their children to succeed in school and in life.

It all started in 1995 when residents decided it was time to fight back against crime and take back our community off Military Trail near Lake Worth Road in Palm Beach County. We obtained our nonprofit status in 1999 and began our steady growth in membership, scope, programming, and budget.

Read our entire history here.

Visit our community today – and you’ll see parents taking classes to improve their children’s literacy as well as their own, you’ll see middle and high school students getting mentored as they prepare for college and the business world, and you’ll see other families strolling through the community and enjoying our playground and ballfields without the fear of getting harassed by drug dealers.

“There’s so much to celebrate,” said Rhonda Rogers, executive director of Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group. “We’ll be marking our accomplishments throughout this year with small and large celebrations.”



(Pictured is our original board of directors as well as our original office building before it was renovated.)

Our Literacy Luncheon Moved to February 2019

Our annual Literacy Luncheon has moved to Feb. 8, 2019, with the theme: “Love of Literacy.”

We’ll celebrate our 20th anniversary as an organization as well as honor these four champions of literacy in our community:

  • Palm Beach County Library System, Gina Sousa, Library Associate V, System Children Services
  • Palm Springs Public Library, Suvi K. Manner, Director
  • United Way of Palm Beach County, Dr. Laurie George, President and CEO
  • Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach, Kristen Calder, Chief Executive Officer

Please attend our luncheon. Click here to buy tickets.

Also, please consider sponsoring our event. All of the proceeds will go to programming for our children and their families.

We’re grateful to our sponsors:

• Seacoast Bank, $1,250

• RLC Architects, $1,250

• El Bodegon #4, $2,500


Below are the levels of sponsorship. If interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Rhonda Rogers, our executive director, at 561-649-9600 or

Silver — $1,250 Contribution

– 4 luncheon tickets

– Vendor table

– Event signage

– PowerPoint presentation recognition

– Name and Logo recognition on Luncheon Program with Half page ad

Gold — $2,500 contribution

– 8 luncheon tickets

– Vendor table

– Event signage

– PowerPoint presentation recognition

– Name and Logo recognition on Luncheon Program with Half page ad

– Five minutes to speak at the luncheon

Platinum — $5,000 contribution

– 20 luncheon tickets = 2 tables

– Vendor table

– Event signage

– PowerPoint presentation recognition

– Name and Logo recognition in Luncheon Program with Full-page ad

– Ten minute presentation at the luncheon

– Name recognition on LWW website, center brochure and in social media promotion

Title Sponsor — $7,500+contribution (Only one available)

– 20 luncheon tickets = 2 tables

– Prime vendor table

– All event signage will have equal recognition as LWW

– PowerPoint presentation recognition

– Logo on program cover page and Full-page ad in Luncheon Program

– Fifteen minute presentation at luncheon

– Business name recognition in all media advertising, interviews, print, as well as LWW website, center brochure, and social media

– Receive contact information of luncheon attendees within fourteen (14) days

New Summer Camp Off To Good Start

Our Steps to Success Middle School Health & Wellness Summer Camp is in full swing.

“I really love it,” said Jaylissa Saint-Fleur, who is 11 and attends the eight-week camp at our center in Lake Worth West. “I get to do a lot of things like play outside and go on trips to movies and bowling. I’ve also made many new friends. And the counselors are so nice.”

More than 40 middle school youth are participating in the new camp that will run through Aug. 10. The camp’s focus is on health and wellness, as well as learning academic skills such as computer coding and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

But on a recent hot morning in mid-June, the youth just wanted to escape the sun and have fun. They were watching a World Cup soccer game inside the recreation building. They were eating snacks, cheering on the teams and just happy being together.

“The kids have a lot of fun. They like coming here,” said Lesha Roundtree, our summer camp director.

That’s the point of the camp. For many pre-teen youth growing up in the area, there was little to do in the lazy summer months until the camp opened. Many sat at home, watched TV and accomplished very little.

“We wanted to change that,” said Rhonda Rogers, executive director of Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group. “We set out and created a middle school camp to give the youth a place to go this summer that was educational and fun. I think we succeeded.”

The funding for the camp was made possible by Impact 100 Palm Beach County, which provided a $100,000 grant. These funds are paying for counselors, teachers and assistants to supervise the youth and emphasize nutrition, academics, and staying focused on the future.

Once the camp ends, the youth, as well as many of the staff, will continue on through an after-school program at our center. The youth will come three times a week to complete homework, get tutoring, and be involved in activities close to their home.

“We made sure that our programming for these middle school youth was year-round so they benefited from learning and relationship-building by being with each other – that was really important to us,” Rogers said.

Unique English Language Program Gets Refunded

For those in our community who haven’t learned to speak English, Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group offers a program to study the language – as well as learn about nutrition and wellness – all at the same time.

Thanks to Florida Blue and the Florida Literacy Coalition, we were recently awarded a $5,000 grant to provide Healthy ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) to our residents and members for another year. Our Executive Director Rhonda Rogers was recently presented with the check at the 34th Annual Florida Literacy Conference.

This isn’t a standard ESOL program. As participants learn basic and advanced components of the English language, they also learn about healthy eating and lifestyles. The goal is for students to use the information they learn in the classroom and apply it in a larger context.

Our 25 students also took part in a “project-based” learning initiative. This year, the topic was “legal and illegal drugs – let’s talk about them.” Instructor Louise Gourd worked with our students to understand the nation’s drug abuse epidemic, particularly how people are getting addicted and dying from opioid prescriptions.

In addition, our students went on field trips to a grocery store and dental office and attended our community’s annual Community Health Fair.

In all, the 16-week class, from January to April, got students to understand the challenges of learning English but also the challenges of living in the U.S.

“The students were so enthusiastic. They took on many challenges and they did a great job,” Louise said. “This program is indeed unique.”

To learn more about our ESOL program call us 561-649-9600.

Summer Camp Set to Start Thanks to Impact 100 Palm Beach County

Thanks to a $100,000 grant from Impact 100 Palm Beach County, Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group will offer a free summer camp and afterschool program for middle school youth in our community.

The funding will pay for 40 youth to attend an eight-week camp — from June 11-August 10 at our center at 4730 Maine Street in Lake Worth – that will focus on health and wellness. In addition, once the camp ends, the grant will enable these and other middle school students to gather after-school at our center to complete homework, get tutoring, and be involved in activities close to their home.

These funds will pay for teachers and assistants to supervise the children and emphasize nutrition, academics, and staying focused on the future.

“This funding is a huge accomplishment for us,” said Rhonda Rogers, executive director of Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group. “We’ve had plenty of activities for children in elementary schools and high schools but not for those in middle school. Now we’ll be well-rounded to offer programs to all of the children in our community.”

Again, the new camp is free. Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group will be providing lunch, snacks, and educational and fun fieldtrips. There is a $50 per child registration fee.

Learn more about the camp and registration here.

Steps to Success Middle School Health & Wellness Summer Camp

Registration is now open for our Steps to Success Middle School Health & Wellness Summer Camp.

This new camp is free. Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group will be providing lunch, snacks, and educational and fun fieldtrips. There is a $50 per child registration fee.

With a theme of health and wellness, the camp will run for eight weeks from June 11 to August 10.

Each child must attend all eight weeks. In addition, he or she must have completed 5th grade, and be going to middle school beginning in August until 8th grade.

To sign up, please print the registration form by clicking here and bring it to our office at 4730 Maine Street in Lake Worth.

The weekly themes are:

Health Factors – June 11 – June 15

Mental and Emotional Health – June 18 – June 22

Healthy Eating Habits – June 25 – July 6

Nutrients Your Body Needs – July 9 – July 13

Managing Your Weight – July 16 – July 20

Body image & Eating Disorder – July 23 – July 27

Managing Stress – July 30 – August 3

Create an Eating & Exercise Plan – August 6 – August 10

“Book Walk” Encourages Students To Read and Attend School Regularly

At our recent “Book Walk” event, our staff and volunteers got many students to read books and focus on their futures.

The Jan. 10th event was aimed at encouraging students from Palm Springs Elementary School to attend school regularly. The school, on Davis Road in Lake Worth, is where many of the young children in our community attend.

Our organizers distributed more than 30 free backpacks stuffed with books, snacks and other items to children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade. They also visited six homes and talked to parents to see how their children were doing in school. Volunteers also discussed the flu and other ailments with the parents and encouraged them to give their children flu shots and take other precautions to prevent them from getting sick.

“It’s vital that children attend school every day,” said Rhonda Rogers, executive director of Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group. “And so, we worked with our partners to establish the ‘Book Walk’ event so we could really educate our families about the importance of school attendance.”

The event was organized by Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group’s Early Childhood Leadership Collaborative which focuses on preparing students for kindergarten, getting them to attend school regularly, and making sure they are safe. The “Book Walk” was made possible by the support of our funders, including Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County and United Way of Palm Beach County.

“We had a lot of families interested in getting this backpack and talking to our staff and volunteers, so for us, this was a successful event that we hope to do next year and get even more families to participate,” Rogers said.