The History of Boca Raton's Promise
1997America’s Promise started in Philadelphia when 5 Presidents held National Summit “America’s Future”. Chairman Colin Powell mobilized 5000 volunteers nationwide to develop resources for youth. Dr. Merrilee Middleton of Boca Raton attended.
Merrilee, 6 volunteer coordinators, and 22 community leaders founded Boca
Raton’s Promise at City Hall. A youth needs assessment was conducted. They made 5 promises to develop resources for youth. Boca Raton Community Hospital, the City, and FAU were our earliest partners. Operations were
handled from a home office and later moved to an office at the Community Hospital.
2000- 2001Boca Raton’s Alliance was formed and introduced to the community by Gen.
Powell and Gov Bush in a rally at FAU on March 30, 2000. The Rally
provided a spark which produced partners to join our mission. MBNA
helped launch summer career shadowing and Big Brothers and Big Sisters
trained mentors for Friday Friends after-school program. The Teen Talent
Troupe was busy performing for senior citizens.
2002Grants were secured and technical assistance was provided by America’s Promise to build a website. The Checklist was introduced to 300 community members at Muvico Palace 20. Youth and families became a valuable resource to the Alliance and planned the West Boca Youth Fair at Loggers Run. What a disappointment when it was rained out ! Peace Gardens became popular. An intergenerational service project was funded by the Community Foundation For Palm Beach and Martin Counties and we opened a West Boca office.
2003A Busy Year ! The intergenerational Community Service Council received a 2nd year of funding, the Checklist was developed, with a grant from the Quantum Foundation, e- mentoring was created by IBM, and the Sheriff helped with West Boca programs. Board members attended a regional forum with America’s Promise. West Office closed and storage space was at a premium. Teen talents were “hot”, and educational options and mental health were under study.
2004Youth needs were reassessed, new goals established and office space was
rented for the first time. Financial problems emerged and a Resource Development Committee was created. A yardsale was held. The Service
Council received a 3rd grant and two West Boca arts programs were funded
by the County. Forums introduced Educational Options and Mental Health issues. A Mental Health Plan was approved. Four youth attended a national youth summit. Six new service programs were created by the Servic
2005Collaboration became the focus and sustainability the goal. We sought larger office space and held a successful ($25,000) first annual golf tournament.
Friday Friends was funded and the Learn, Lead & Serve rally was held at
Safe Schools. Regards to Broadway “ was a great show and the Mental Health Alliance was created with its first luncheon held at the Country Club at Boca Raton. Two coordinators were hired to develop a report and recommendations. Funding was secured from the Boca Raton Community Hospital Foundation and the Schmidt Family Foundation.
2006 We adopted a new way to set goals. The Board now requires that five Promise Teams establish their own goals and plan for implementation. Four Teams were seated and Big Brothers and Big Sisters are sharing new office space donated by Prime Management. For the first time all five Promise Teams were active and goal focused. The Mental Health Report was presented on October 17, four days before The 2nd annual golf tournament. Both were successful. In December, a Mental Health Task Force was seated and an exploratory meeting on Character Education was held.
2007The founder, Dr. Middleton, Patricia Thomas, and Mike Adams retired from
the Board due to term limits. Two Friday Friends after school programs were funded by the Sun Sentinel Childrens’ Fund, BRP sponsored the South
County Character Council, and the Mental Health Task Force adopted education and awareness goals and introduced Breaking the Silence at Boca Raton Middle School. A Promise Club was created at West Boca High School. Boca Raton Middle School hosted Sy Sperling’s first Middle School Promise Club of America and held the Lovewell Spring Break Workshop. The Dr. Merrilee Middleton Youth Activity Fund was established and reached $25,540.