In the Magazine: Fuller Lives

Ellyn Okrent on the Florence Fuller playground with kids (Photo by Aaron Bristol)

Florence Fuller Child Development Centers continues to aid impoverished children and their families

On the outside, Boca is a charmed city. Yet beneath the glitz and glam, more than 32 percent of the families in Boca Raton are considered impoverished. This hidden community lives at or below what the United Way defines as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families, meaning they are living paycheck to paycheck.

Florence Fuller Child Development Centers are here for those children and families. Serving 800 kids and 600 of their family members, these centers aim to provide children with a pathway out of poverty.

Florence Fuller provides children with breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack every day, along with medical screenings for vision, dental, hemoglobin levels, hearing and more. The organization also helps their parents, offering them career counseling and childcare classes.

“It’s a lot smarter to make an investment in keeping children healthy than repairing damaged adults,” says Ellyn Okrent, CEO of Florence Fuller. “The outcome of  what we do here is much more beneficial, and we are much more able to ensure that kids can reach their full potential than having to repair them when they’re broken.”

Okrent worked in child welfare before starting her career at Florence Fuller in 2012, which has allowed her to see the importance of helping children early on. Among Boca’s  conspicuous wealth, it can be hard to see its poverty, but Okrent says awareness is the best solution for this engrained issue.

“There are so many things that are set up to make these people fail, and that’s why it’s so complicated,” she says. “It’s really a systemic problem that’s much bigger than Boca. It’s worldwide. I think if we’re ever going to really have peace and a good community we need to find a way to take care of the people who take care of us.”

For more information on how to support Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, visit ffcdc.org.


This story comes from our January 2019 issue of Boca magazine. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine.