PBSC’s Panther mascot getting groomed and ready for the fall semester.
Photo by Palm Beach State College
Palm Beach State College’s Belle Glade campus served as one of four locations for the third annual “Back to School PBC!,” an invitation-only event that provides students from low-income, unhoused or foster families free resources to start the school year on the right foot. The event offered free backpacks, school supplies, health screenings, books, shoes, haircuts and more to ensure those students felt prepared and supported as they went back to school.
“You want these kids to be in school on the first day of class. That’s why this event is so important,” said Houston Tate, the director of Palm Beach County’s Office of Community Revitalization. “It’s not the backpack. It is getting the physical. It’s getting all of the services we provide. It’s a big village.”
Tate’s office and the county Board of Commissioners present “Back to School PBC!” with the Spirit of Giving Network, the Children’s Services Council, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and other community partners.
PBSC joined the initiative in 2020 to offer students in the Glades a more accessible location. The Belle Glade campus drew over 1,000 kindergartners through 12th-graders this year.
“We continue to support the Glades residents and families as they prepare for youth to return to school,” said LaTanya McNeal, the executive dean of the Belle Glade campus. “We’re happy to be a part of this event and a staple in the community. We continue to expand and broaden our services and enhance it each year.”
For the first time, the list of volunteers from across Palm Beach County included instructors and alumni from the college’s cosmetology and barbering programs, who provided manicures and hairstyles.Five professional barbers, including PBSC graduates Daniel Roman, Jose Sanchez and Josue Vital, offered haircuts.
PBSC Student Government Association members volunteered to help with check-in. Security, facilities, theater and student activities staffers all gave their time to ensure that the event ran smoothly.
“It’s important to give back to the community,” said adjunct instructor Beth Guarino, who took a day off her second job to volunteer. “It’s for the kids.”
Village Academy in Delray Beach, the Palm Beach County Convention Center and the Edna W. Runner Tutorial Center in Jupiter served as the other “Back to School PBC!” locations.