In 2013, Delray Beach, Florida was named “The Most Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today. For many, this did not come as a surprise – Atlantic Avenue is vibrant and young, with bars and restaurants popping up like weeds and young affluent people flocking to socialize and enjoy the scene. It is not uncommon to see Audi R8s or even a Ferrari cruise down the Avenue, causing on-lookers whiplash as they stare with envy.
However, not far west of Atlantic Avenue’s hustle and bustle is a much different Delray Beach. This Delray Beach is much poorer and run down, and not-so-much a vacation hot spot. Here, there is no BCBGMaxAzria store or 2-story Urban Outfitters. Instead, there are hundreds of families struggling to skirt by on the little that they have. While Palm Beach County is known to be a very affluent area, the sad reality is that there are many families who live below poverty and lack the resources to support their families with even the most basic items for survival. Sadly, this part of the community is often overlooked, except for when the affluent must cross through to get to the Avenue. However, one institution in Delray Beach is making a difference for these families who have so little.
“Community” is the second pillar in Spirit of Giving’s motto: Charity. Community. Collaboration. “Community” also happens to be the heart of Spirit of Giving’s motto. Village Academy is the host site of the 2015 Back to School Bash, and is known to many as a “community within a community.” Located in the heart of Delray Beach, Village Academy offers Pre K-12 schooling, as well as a nursery for newborns and onsite care for young children to accommodate parents in school. After touring and researching dozens of different venues in the Southern Palm Beach County area, the Spirit of Giving team selected Village Academy to host the Bash for a third time due to a multitude of reasons. Not only did the school’s layout best compliment and fulfill the needs of the Bash, but the school is symbolic in that it represents community. To elaborate: without the school’s onsite daycare programs, many of the school’s students would not be able to attend classes and consequently, not graduate. Having the Village Academy in Delray Beach benefits the community, helping those who would not normally be able to finish their education without daycare services onsite, do so.
Inside the Village Academy are dedicated, selfless staff working relentlessly to better their community. One of those individuals is Barbara Haider, who is the founder of the non-profit One Love One Community (OLOC). One Love One Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works in the Delray Beach community to bring much resources, such as clothing, sanitary napkins and even guidance, to children and families in need. Ms. Haider’s passion for volunteering is evident in her everyday life and for the 2015 Back to School Bash, Ms. Haider is collaborating with OLOC to bring “closets” for the children to shop. The closets will consist of donated clothing in all sizes for the children attending the bash to shop for and take home, whether for themselves or a family member. Options will range from school uniforms to casual clothing for outside school. In the past, OLOC has hosted closets at Carver Elementary as well as Pine Grove Elementary, both of which were a big hit.
The great minds at Spirit of Giving created the Back to School Bash because of the unfulfilled needs of those less fortunate in the Southern Palm Beach County community. Much like the scene described in the opening paragraphs, when you think Palm Beach you likely think of high-end retail, upscale dining, the beach, and flashy cars; not poverty and young parents who struggle to complete their high school degrees. The Back to School Bash, an invite-only event, provides local in-need school children with the school supplies and health exams they need to start the school year off right. Without the Back to School Bash, these children would likely go without school supplies, and would not have access to dental or eye exams, preventing them from learning and excelling in school. Often schools will attribute distracted or bad behavior to the nature of the child, when in reality it is often that they do not have access to the same medical resources as their peers. The Back to School Bash gives these select children the opportunity to obtain the tools needed for their success, whether it be a new backpack or eyeglasses with a correct prescription.
The Annual Back to School Bash, hosted at Village Academy in Delray Beach, will be Saturday, August 8th and is an invite only event. To learn more about the event or to learn about how your child can attend, please visit or email