DAYTONA, May 6, 2014 -- Food Brings Hope, Inc. (FBH) celebrated the accomplishments of the 500 members of its after school program at Daytona International Speedway on May 1. The program, titled Kids Zone in the elementary schools and Teen Zone in the middle and high schools, provides meals, tutoring and enrichment activities for disadvantaged VolusiaCountySchool students.
"This is always our favorite event of the year," said Forough B. Hosseini, Founder and Chair of FBH. "It's a time where we gather to celebrate our amazing students who have dedicated extra time and focus on their studies with the objective of improving their performance. And at FBH, we believe this is an important step in achieving success in their lives."
The atmosphere in the room was festive and filled with energy as students from 10 area schools attended: Osceola, Pierson, Turie T. Small and WestsideElementary Schools; Campbell and NewSmyrnaBeachMiddle Schools; and Mainland, NewSmyrnaBeach and SpruceCreekHigh Schools. They were treated to tours of the 2.5 mile speedway; dinner, catered by Sodexo, music and entertainment from DJ Tremble of 103.3 THE VIBE, awards presentations and words of wisdom from guest speakers.
Mrs. Maurie Johnson, an Ambassador for Embry-RiddleAeronauticalUniversity, served as the keynote speaker. Mrs. Johnson is particularly committed to encouraging young women to explore careers in engineering, aviation and aerospace. She is also a board member and an active volunteer for various area organizations and a strong supporter and advocate for FBH. She shared her time at the podium by inviting ERAU's Dean of Students, Jason Glenn, and a group of students from ERAU to speak to the FBH students in attendance. "I wanted the focus to be less on me and more on the wonderful FBH students and our outstanding ERAU students," said Mrs. Johnson. "We brought five remarkable ERAU students to show how it paid off for them to stay strong in math and science while in grade school, middle school and high school."
While the event is held to congratulate all students for their participation in the after-school program, two from each school were recognized for outstanding achievement. The following students received Citizenship Awards:
Westside Elementary Taurus Norwood & Ariah King
Campbell Middle Breonna Ford & Keyonna Ford
Starke Elementary Leslie Vargas & Karla Olvera
Osceola Elementary James Banks & Samantha Jennings
Turie T Small Elementary Johnny Edwards & Shariah Taylor
Pierson Elementary Lily-Mae White & George Perez
New SmyrnaBeach Middle Ronnie O’Connor & Savannah Willhoite
New Smyrna Beach High Joseph Ramsey & Julia Jones
Spruce Creek High Channing Graham & Richard Rogers
Mainland High School Xavier Carlile & Nyla Davis
Mrs. Hosseini and Mrs. Johnson presented the awards and posed for photos with these exceptional students.
Mrs. Hosseini said, "Poverty, homelessness and hunger are a problem for too many children in our community. The problem belongs to all of us and we all have a responsibility to work together to solve it. This event is particularly representative of our community working together on the solution. Every year, the Speedway donates the beautiful Daytona 500 Club and takes all of the students on tours. Sodexo prepares and serves the food, with the help of students from Embry-Riddle. Local professionals and community members volunteer their time and their gifts to make the event even more fun and special. We know this was an experience the students will cherish for years to come."