The Glades Initiative was formed in 2002 in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the Board of County Commissioners for Palm Beach County through the Department of Community Services. The RFP outlined the need for a local source to identify and coordinate the health and human service needs of the community as well as develop and encourage collaborative relationships to collectively address the community's needs. Improvements are being sought in terms of outcomes (positive impact on the residents in the community) and efficiency (better outcomes achieved with the various funding streams available within the community). We believe that 'our people are our fortune' and are committed to effective change.

With health, human, and social services, there is an apparent organizational shift from the traditional system to a more holistic system of care. While each component of our system is vitally important, it is only through collaboration and coordination of these components that we will be successfully affect systemic changes. The Glades Initiative attempts to establish itself as an organization rich in community resources with much potential within the scope and purpose of the Initiative. Through the efforts of the Glades Initiative, member organizations should be able to accomplish more as well as accomplish those objectives more effectively, thereby building capacity within existing resources.
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Development of Model    The Glades Initiative's model has evolved because:
  • There is a system that includes a broad array of service components; however those components are not always working together synergistically. The impact is two-pronged: not only are the residents not able to take advantage of a 'well-oiled' machine, but the agencies cannot either.
  • Within the 'system', there exists a fair amount of confusion about which services are available, where those services are, and how to access those services.
  • There is not an infinite amount of resources. Agencies are being called upon to 'do more with less'.
  • Agencies are being held to a greater standard of accountability.
  • There is a need to consolidate some things for the sake of efficiency.
Mission Statement

The mission of The Glades Initiative is to improve the coordination and effectiveness of the health and human service delivery system in the Glades area of Palm Beach County.

Operating Objectives

As a membership organization, The Glades Initiative will accomplish its mission through:
  • Identifying critical issues and needs affecting the human conditions of residents of the Glades communities
  • Developing community collaborative relationships
  • Strengthening the operational and goverance infrastructure of member organizations
  • Implementing effective responses to the identified needs
  • Advocating on behalf of the community
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The Glades Initiative Membership is made up of organizations that are either 501(c)3 organizations with a Glades  address, are health and human services organizations that provide services west of 20-Mile Bend, or are local educational institutions or churches, or otherwise have a vested interest in the health and human services program in the Glades area.  The membership shall reflect a broad representation of health and human service entities that provide services in the Glades. Becoming a member is a formal indication of your commitment to working collaboratively to address the health and human service needs of the Glades community. Membership entitles you to many benefits.  Click our application below to find out more.
Become A Member
Membership Options

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The Glades Initiative Staff, Our People Truly are Our Fortune!

Marie Jean Jacques, Community Resource Educator email here
Marie Jean Jacque is a Community Educator, helping Glades residents become aware of the health and human services they are eligible for. She does outreach activities, attending various community events educating the public. Marie invites residents to visit her at the Glades Initiative office, where she personally assists them in applying for federal, state and county benefits such as  Medicaid/Medicare, Food Stamps, and healthcare. Marie is fluent in Haitian Creole.

Yasmin Gama, Community Resource Educator  email here
Yasmin Gama is a Community Educator, helping Glades residents become aware of the health and human services they are eligible for. She does outreach activities, attending various community events educating the public. Yasmin invites residents to visit her at the Glades Initiative office, where she personally assists them in applying for federal, state and county benefits such as Medicaid/Medicare, Food Stamps, and healthcare. Yasmin is fluent in Spanish.
Sandy De Jean, Program Assistant email here
Sandy De Jean is a Program Assistant who assists customers of the Glades Initiative at our front desk and the telephone. She handles general office duties to include developing our weekly e-blast newsletter and conducting digital fingerprint screenings. Sandy is fluent in Haitian Creole and speaks some Spanish. She is currently attending Palm Beach State College in pursuit of her bachelors of nursing degree.

Sister Laura Cavanaugh, Training Coordinator  email here
Sister Laura Cavanaugh plans and coordinates all of our training initiatives to include the Cooking Matters Nutrition Education program. 

Carol Rodriguez, Director of Programs email here
Carol Rodriguez is the Director of Programs. She manages various programs and initiatives aimed at improving the effectiveness of health and human services in the Glades. She seeks to identify areas for improvement in Glades area health and human services and implement solutions. Carol manages the operations of the Glades Initiative food bank, and background screening program, as well as engages in grant writing.

Karis Engle, Executive Director email here
Karis Engle is the Executive Director of the Glades Initiative and in that role, oversees the operations of the organization as well as provides the vision and strategic direction of the organization, in collaboration with the board of directors. Karis is fluent in both Haitian Creole and Spanish.

Telephone: 561.996.3310


Postal address:

141 South East Avenue C
Belle Glade, FL  33430

Email: info@gladesinitiative.org

The Glades is located in the western part of Palm Beach county.  It is easily accessible from U.S. 27 or U.S. 441 (also known as S.R. 80).  Comprised of three cities -- Pahokee, Belle Glade, and South Bay and outlying unincorporated areas, the Glades has approximately 36,000 residents.  This area is one of the leading agricultural areas in the country, producing sugar cane, citrus fruit, vegetables, rice, and sod grass.  The Glades also boasts boundaries for Lake Okeechobee, the 2nd largest freshwater lake inside U.S. boundaries.


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Email: updates@gladesinitiative.org
141 SE Avenue C, Belle Glade, FL 33430
Tel: 561.996.3310 Fax: 561.996.3349

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