At Pioneer Park Elementary School in Belle Glade, an inspiring story is being written. The epic tale of overcoming adversity and discovering new frontiers of success begins with a dedicated principal, intelligent elementary schoolers and JustWorld International’s partner program, Storybook Treasures.
In 2014, Dr. Sandra L. Moreau became the assistant principal at Pioneer Park. The average literary proficiency at the third-grade level was 23.9 percent as measured by the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA). Students were unable to meet important milestones during the most formative years of their education. However, Moreau had a plan to change their trajectory for the better, because not all heroes wear capes, some carry books.
It was when Moreau stepped into the role of principal in 2020 that Pioneer Park’s ambitious goals truly came to fruition. Students have demonstrated exceptional gains, with 80 percent of students showing improvement in ELA, and FSA proficiency skyrocketing to 47.9 percent.
“I was able to plan with teachers and help our school increase reading gains by setting goals and ensuring that teachers had efficacy in themselves and in students to believe that the goals were attainable,” said Moreau, who didn’t let even the unprecedented challenges of a pandemic stand in their way.
To ensure that the Storybook Treasures program can continue changing the lives of students at Pioneer Park, JustWorld’s youth are answering the call to action. The newly formed Youth Ambassador Gala Committee is composed of 15 motivated JustWorld ambassadors between ages 13 and 22, who are not only ambitious equestrian athletes but dedicated young philanthropists.
The committee has already kicked off what is their biggest project ahead of the annual JustWorld International Gala, the End of Year Fundraiser, which has been nothing short of spectacular thus far. In two short weeks, they managed to raise an impressive $14,000 for Storybook Treasures — before the fundraiser had even officially gone live.
The fundraiser officially kicked off on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29. They have set a fundraising goal of $50,000 to reach by Dec. 31.
Yet champion youth ambassadors like Lucy Rappoport and Ethan Calvo have already exceeded expectations.
Rappoport joined the ambassador program in 2022, and as a result of her passion to make a difference, she has already raised more than $7,000 for the End of Year Fundraiser.
“I’ve spent the last few months as a member of JustWorld surrounded by the most generous and kind people,” Rappoport said. “Being a part of JustWorld allows me to see the world beyond my own. I can be the change I want to see thanks to this incredible organization.”
Calvo is also a new member of the JustWorld family, having joined the youth ambassador program in 2022, but the mission has always been close to home.
“Being part of the Youth Ambassador Gala Committee has been an amazing experience. As a first-generation American, I know and have seen the effects of poverty firsthand,” he said. “Being part of this committee and such an incredible organization, I am able to spark change and lead people to make a difference not only as an equestrian but as individuals. We are stronger together, and we are able to make a difference not only in our community but around the world.”
Established in 2003, JustWorld International was founded to provide equestrians with a way to support carefully vetted education programs for impoverished children around the world. To donate, become an ambassador, or learn more about JustWorld, visit www.justworldinternational.org.