28 Underprivileged and Educationally At-Risk Children in Delray Beach When we were babies we watched and mimicked our parents. We learned the meaning of what were initially merely sounds to us. We learned that those sounds together formed words that had meaning. We learned how to talk. We learned English. But what would have happened to us if the only language spoken in the house wasn’t English? We started school, and we came home and if we didn't understand our homework, one of our parents could help. But what if there were no parents who could help? These are the real-life problems faced by many children in Delray Beach. The population includes many Haitian and Latin American families where the principal, if not only, language spoken at home is Creole or Spanish. Their parents are generally either unemployed or under- employed. The kids start school and more than 50% of them are “left back” during their first five years in school. The Milagro Center (MC) in Delray Beach runs a 52- week K-12 after-school program (full-day in the summer) to help children of families living below the federal poverty level. The program supplies the “language” and academic support missing at home. 98% of the participants in their program have been promoted to the next grade every year. Also, while less than 50% of the local population will graduate high school and less than a third of them are expected to go to college, based on the change in grades, study habits and attitudes 100% of the seniors in MC’s Teen Program are going to either a college or a trade school this fall. MC’s formula for success is easy to understand. Just by walking into their Young Child Center you see kids who are doing their homework, participating in workshops, asking questions and “learning” from both professionals and volunteers. At their Teen Center, we saw kids learning about “life.” Learning to have confidence in – and to respect – themselves. MC is giving these kids a chance to escape what could be an endless cycle of poverty. HOT has also given MC grants for a Security System, a Water Cooler, Math and Literacy Tutors, a Teen Center Van (matching grant), an Academic Tutor for the Teen Program and Summer Field Trip Transportation, and a New Roof (matching grants). MC’s current needs are: • $10,500 for ACT/SAT College Prep Course for Summer and Fall 2018 sessions • $13,000 for Summer Camp Bus Transportation for K-5 & Middle School programs • $20,400 for Literacy and Math Tutors for the K- 5th Grade for Fall 2018 and Winter 2019 Semesters $5,100 for each discipline for each time period • $26,500 for Academic Tutors for the each of the Middle School and High School Programs for each of the Summer and Fall 2018 Semesters $6,625 for each time period for each of the Middle School and High School programs