From left to right: Bobbi A. Marsh, Joseph DePaolo, Evelyn R. Johnson, Pedro del Sol (CEO of the Migrant Association of South Florida) and Samuel Bruce McDonald.
Bobbi A. Marsh
Since 1985, Bobbi Marsh has been a part of the Crossroads displaced homemaker program at Palm Beach Community College – first as a participant in the program, then as a seminar instructor and now as the program manager. Through that time, Crossroads itself has transitioned through many changes, but the need for the program remains as great as it was 21 years ago when it was first established at the college.
Life circumstances brought Bobbi to the Crossroads program after years of raising her two sons and working in various positions such as junior high English teacher, church secretary and elementary school paraprofessional. Like many of the women with whom she’s worked through the years, the idea of having a career was not a primary concern until it became a necessity. For her, that career choice – assisting women in their efforts toward economic self-sufficiency and greater self-esteem - has become a passion.
After participating in the Crossroads seminar in November of 1985, Marsh took a job at the college as the administrative assistant for the Gender Equity grant program. In 1986, she started the Connections single parent program. She served as its director for 15 years. When funding for Connections ended in 2001, she became program manager for the Crossroads displaced homemaker program. For 13 years, the Crossroads and Connections programs worked collaboratively to provide career guidance, life skills training and assistance in continuing education for single parents and displaced homemakers.
More than 3,000 individuals, mostly women, have been helped since Crossroads began. Many come back to tell her how she has changed their lives forever.
Marsh holds a bachelors’ degree in English education from Elmhurst College in Illinois and a master’s degree in human resource development from Palm Beach Atlantic. She’s a former participant in PBCC’s Leadership Enhancement and Advancement Program. She’s also an active member of the First Congregational Church of Lake Worth
Joseph DePaolo became a full-time education professor at PBCC in Palm Beach Gardens in 2002, after spending more than five years as an adjunct instructor at PBCC and Florida Atlantic University. Prior to moving to Palm Beach County in 1996, he worked in Connecticut as a teacher, a principal, a director of special programs, a consultant with the Connecticut Department of Education and also a self-employed educational consultant.
Dr. DePaolo is known for his strong commitment to community service. Since education students are required to complete a 15-hour field experience, Dr. DePaolo has established a partnership program with high-risk elementary schools in Riviera Beach to make that field experience meaningful for the aspiring teachers and beneficial for children, particularly those who have struggled on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).
His students provide mentoring and tutoring in reading, language arts and math for the high-risk children in grades 1-5. Dr. DePaolo also works to help schools educate parents to help their children and create professional development opportunities for elementary school teachers. For his work, Dr. DePaolo received a Gimelstob Professor of the Year Award for excellence in teaching from PBCC in 2004.
Dr. DePaolo holds a bachelor’s degree from Providence College, a master’s degree from the University of Hartford, an advanced certificate of graduate study from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate of education from Nova University.
Evelyn R. Johnson
For 36 years Evelyn Johnson has worked at the School District of Palm Beach County in several capacities to help migrant children get settled into the school system and get connected, along with their families, to health and social services available in the community.
Helping people is more than a job for the Belle Glade native. She spends countless hours of her own time making phone calls and attending evening appointments to ensure that students in the Migrant Education Program get the services they need. She has passed on her vast knowledge of the Migrant Education Program by skillfully creating, producing and serving as lead presenter at district, state and national conferences and forums. For her work, she was named Migrant Advocate of the Year by the state Department of Migrant Education in 1999.
But Johnson’s involvement in the community doesn’t stop there. She has made voter education and registration one of her personal missions. She walks around the neighborhood, knocking on doors to get people out to vote.
She serves on the board of the Association for Retarded Citizens. She’s a member of the planning committee for the Glades Community Living Christmas Tree and she has been a member of the Living Christmas Tree Choir for 15 years. She is chairperson of the city of Belle Glade Civil Service Board and a member of the NAACP. She also served on the advisory board for the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center from 1994 to 1995.
She received a Women of Accomplishment Award from PBCC at Belle Glade in 2000. She also was named Woman of the Year for outstanding community and civic service by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, The Women’s Civic League and El Dorado Civic Club of Belle Glade.
She holds an associate in arts degree from PBCC and a bachelor’s degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Caridad Health Clinic
The Caridad Health Clinic, operated by the Migrant Association of South Florida, provides
free medical and dental care year round to more than 6,784 unduplicated, children
and families of low-income (150% of the poverty level), migrants, laborers and the
underserved who live and work in Palm Beach County.
The Migrant Association of South Florida (MASF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1989, when co-founders Caridad Asensio and Connie Berry decided that something had to be done to help the children and families of hard-working migrant farm workers who worked the field every day from sunrise to sunset. In 1992, with the help of volunteers, the Caridad Health Clinic was opened in a doublewide trailer. In 1997, with generous help from benefactors, the clinic moved into a new 7,600-square-foot building.
This past year the clinic provided healthcare to over 20,000 patient visits with the help of over 500 volunteers. The clinic is among several programs and services provided by the MASF, including an after school enrichment program where 43 at risk students in grades K-5 receive individual attention from the volunteers.
The organization continues to carry out its original vision of ending the cycle of poverty by providing medical, dental and education assistance to children and families of this often forgotten population in our community.
Samuel Bruce McDonald
Samuel Bruce McDonald grew up in West Palm Beach with a brother in a single-parent home. He graduated from Industrial High School (now U.B. Kinsey-Palmview Elementary School of the Arts) in 1946. Four years later, he received his bachelor’s degree from Talladega College in Alabama. After serving in the United States Army, European Theater, for two years, he returned to West Palm Beach where he began his career as an educator. He later completed his master’s degree in education from Florida Atlantic University and did further studies in the Diocese of Southeast Florida School of Ministry.
McDonald, a retired administrator, has been an intricate part of the School District of Palm Beach County for over 30 years. He has served as a classroom teacher, administrative assistant, assistant principal, principal and area superintendent. He also served as adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University and Palm Beach Community College.
McDonald came out of retirement in September 1999 to become the chief administrator for the Urban League of Palm Beach County, accepting the role of interim president and chief executive officer until 2001. Soon after, he accepted the role of interim executive director of Hope House of the Palm Beaches, Inc.
As an advocate for children, McDonald has been a consultant to various civic and social organizations and served as a member of the Steering Committee for The Children Service’s Council, Board of Directors for the United Way of Palm Beach County, Prenatal &Infant Health Care Coalition Board of Directors, Palm Beach County Head Start Policy Council, Palm Beach County Full Service School Oversight Council, Foster Care Citizen Review Steering Committee, Village Academy/Village Center School Advisory Committee and many others. He presently serves as a member of the Glades Community Development Corporation Board of Directors, Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Board of Directors of the Mary & Robert Pew Public Education Fund Board of Trustees. He’s also a member of the NAACP, St. Patrick’s and St. Gregory’s Episcopal churches and a founder and member of the West Palm Beach Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
Along with his championing the cause for excellence, McDonald is a family man who is devoted to Merle, his wife of 49 years, and their three daughters, son and five grandchildren. His philosophy: “One’s purpose in life must be to help others reach beyond their immediate grasp.�?
More info - MLK Story in Perspectives Newsletter