The 17th annual Families First Children’s Day Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 3 will honor JustWorld International founder Jessica Newman as the recipient of the distinguished Harriet Goldstein Award.
This prestigious award is dedicated to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to families in need across Palm Beach County.
Families First of Palm Beach County is a nonprofit organization that offers essential family services, including health, mental health, behavior and housing programs. Goldstein was a social worker and longtime Families First board member who dedicated her life to the advocacy of children, and upon her passing, the Harriet Goldstein Award was established in her name.
This year, Newman was named the recipient in recognition of her outstanding philanthropic efforts and her dedicated advocacy and ambassadorship for at-risk children and child welfare. JustWorld’s deep connection to Palm Beach County can be found in Belle Glade, shining throughout Pioneer Park Elementary, a school that was once expressing negative literary statistics in students from pre-k to third grade.
The trajectory changed for the better in 2018 when JustWorld implemented a pilot literacy program called Storybook Treasures, which supplies classrooms with books and lesson materials while also building an at-home library for each student.
Over the next five years, students not only demonstrated exceptional learning gains, with Pioneer Park averaging more than a year’s growth annually in 2022 and securing the highest gains in the county, but fostered their love for learning.
Ensuring Storybook Treasures enjoyed continued success in 2023 was a youth equestrian community effort. The Youth Ambassador Gala Committee, composed of 15 motivated JustWorld ambassadors, raised more than $30,000 as part of their annual end-of-year fundraiser. Today, the nonprofit’s intervention continues to be an essential element of the Pioneer Park curriculum, brightening student’s educational paths every day.
With thousands of equestrians around the world riding for the cause, it all began with Newman’s dream 20 years ago to create a more “just world.” Growing up as an accomplished equestrian, Newman reached international Grand Prix level at the age of 16. After graduating from the American University of Paris with a degree in international affairs, she went on to gain extensive humanitarian experience working with organizations such as the American NGO Trickle Up in Honduras, the Friends World Experiential Program in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and the Crisis Center for children in Casa Alianza.
In 2003, Newman formally established JustWorld International to better serve children through comprehensive education, healthcare and nutrition programs. Throughout its 20-year history, Newman has never taken a salary and has devoted countless hours and resources to its success and growth. JustWorld and its local partners support more than 10,000 children in Cambodia, Honduras, Guatemala and the United States. Its positive impact has only grown, and the goal is to continue building the Belle Glade community for many years to come.
JustWorld is looking forward to celebrating these efforts at the 17th annual Families First Children’s Day Luncheon, co-chaired by philanthropists Denise S. Fraile and Domenick Macri Sr. The event will be held at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and promises to be an afternoon full of entertainment with art and music. Families First will also welcome Deonte Thompson as this year’s keynote speaker. Thompson is a former NFL wide receiver and Super Bowl champion who grew up in Belle Glade. “Guardian of the Glades” Tammy Jackson-Moore will also join him on stage to share her story.
For more information, or to purchase tickets to the 17th annual Children’s Day Luncheon, visit www.familiesfirstpbc.org or call (561) 318-4219.