President: Colson Zulmar
As a volunteer with the Delray Beach police department in 2010, I saw firsthand some of the disparities that were in the community. Our kids were failing at a higher rate due to lack of support, resources and language/cultural barriers. Politicians made promises in times of election but never followed through to ensure that the communit
As a volunteer with the Delray Beach police department in 2010, I saw firsthand some of the disparities that were in the community. Our kids were failing at a higher rate due to lack of support, resources and language/cultural barriers. Politicians made promises in times of election but never followed through to ensure that the community has some of the basic necessities i.e. security, housing, employment, etc… One of the fellow volunteers Mr. Joseph Louis motivated me to step up by creating an organization that will be the voice of those who are not able to speak up. The community did not have a representative oraccess to the right channels to get some of their concerns heard. So with the support of my peers in 2011, Volunteer Association and Fund of Florida was founded and registered with Sunbiz. For the next few years, the organization had a close relationshipwith the Haitian-American Roving Patrol (HARP). HARP is a volunteer group that aids the city of Delray Beach Police Department. In 2014, with the help of attorney Mac Bernard, the organization established a major staple by becoming a 501C3 organization. With this accolade, we started networking with other organization in the Palm Beach County area to shed light on social, economical, and educational disparities facing our communities. Some of the organizations that we have partnered with are:
• New Florida Majority, • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)• and NW + SW Alliance• Rural Women’s Health Projects (RWHJ)• Radio Nouvelle Lumiere WPBR 1340 AM 96.1 FM
On February 2018, the organization held its first symposium and it made history for more than one reason. It is the first time that a debate was held in the Haitian community, for the Haitian community and by Haitian activists. This debate was held for the city of Delray Beach municipal election. It was a debate where the community can speak with those who running directly to bring for their concerns. We did not stop there; we know the importance of education, so we held a debate with the runners for three district seats in the Palm Beach County School District. There were debates for county commissioners and judges race as well. In 2019, we launched our monthly community meetings and it is through these meetings that we were able to hear the concerns of the community. We often bring guests who are able to share resources on programs offered for housing, earning a trade, small business, etc. We also took their concerns to city officials to fight for Delray Beach to become a welcoming city, we also are currently fighting and working with the school district to implement a dual language program that will help students who are Haitian-Creole speakers. We have hosted immigration clinics, food drives and media platform to educate the community on important matters. Every week, there is a radio emission on Radio Nouvelle Lumiere WPBR 1340 AM 96.1 FM called “Enfomasyon se pouvwa”, where we talk to the community about important matters. It is now the year 2020 and with this pandemic affecting so many, we have partnered with Rural Women’s Health Projects (RWHJ) to fight for accessibility to affordable testing for all. As an organization, we understand the impact of this pandemic on the lives of many. This pandemic has affected everyone to some extent, so we are working with county officials in our county to see how they can ensure that important information about the illness and resources available during this economic crisis are printed in different languages so that all are aware and educated on the illness and resources accessible. Many students are struggling with e-learning for various reasons but the main two that we have heard over is accessibility to academic resources and technology. Some of these students have illiterate parents or parents with limited education, so with libraries and schools closed they really do not have access to academic assistance. Some households have 5 plus more kids and they were only given one laptop; so there are not all able to complete their activities as required by their teachers. So, we are working diligently to see how we can provide support to these families with the help of the school districts and volunteers in the community. So as this pandemic continues to wreak havoc and bring about changes to all that we have known, the organization is working hard to ensure that everyone has the basic necessities whether it is academically, accessibility to testing, accessibility to resources and information in their native language, etc. As the organization continues to grow, it is our heart’s desires to see a community center for the unvoiced minorities, to see a dual language program in Haitian-Creole/English in our school district, to see not just the city of Delray Beach but the state of Florida as a welcoming state for the Haitian community and to see less disparities in the healthcare field. These are some of the concerns that initiated this organization and over the years we have brought awareness to these issues; we may have won the battle but the war is still raging. Therefore, Volunteer Association and Fund of Florida will continue to be the voice of those who do not have a voice.
President: Colson Zulmar
Jennifer Jones is a resident of Palm Beach county, residing in the city of Delray Beach. Jennifer is a proud child of Haitian immigrants. When her family fled Haiti to escape the Duvalier regime, they first found refuge in Canada in the late 1970’s. Jennifer then migrated to South Florida in the mid 1990's. After graduating high school, she was unable to afford college. Her fortunes changed when she met her mentor in 2003. The late Emmanuel Isma taught her all about the benefits and virtues of being self-employed.
Jennifer became the founder and CEO of her own tax preparation firm. Her firm later diversified and specialized in providing services for immigrants applying for legalized immigration status, either for themselves or families abroad. Jennifer’s professional career is also distinguished by experience as a private judicial interpreter, interpreting and translating documents from Haitian-Creole to English. In 2016, after the sudden and unexpected passing of her loving mentor, Jennifer decided to honor his memory by dedicating her life more fully to serving others. Seeing the need for legal representation among low income and minority communities, she enrolled in college.
Jennifer graduated Cum Laude from Palm Beach State College in December 2017. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Minor in Philosophy from Florida Atlantic University on August 6, 2019. Jennifer proudly graduated with Magna Cum Laude academic honors.
As a first-time politician, Ms. Jones has served her community as an activist for the Haitian Community of Palm Beach County. She holds membership in multiple community-based boards, has worked tirelessly with churches and numerous nonprofit organizations to invoke change and improvement in the local community. Jennifer currently serves as the Public Relations Director of the Volunteer Association Fund of South Florida, a non-for-profit organization that collaborates closely with Palm Beach County cities and the Palm Beach County Board of Superintendents to pursue improvement and positive changes for our community. Jennifer is instrumental in being a voice for the voiceless, while representing and championing core American values.
Jennifer is married to Jairus Jones, whose support and love has been unconditional and inspiring.
Volunteer Association & Fund of Florida
We are a community-based organization focused on helping make the world around us a better, happier place. With the help of our tireless staff, we organize fundraisers, exciting community-building events, and in-depth training sessions for our volunteers.
Are you passionate about what we're doing? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our vision a reality. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you. We're excited to have you join the team!
Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you.