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Star Center Joins Forces with Lighthouse 4Students to Empower Youth at the Hollywood Boat Race

Fostering Collaboration Skills in the Future Generation of Leaders


Hollywood, FL, November 9, 2023 -  The Star Center and Lighthouse 4Students partnership left an unforgettable adventurous memory for young participants, as they navigated the waters of personal growth and collaboration. Together, these organizations are charting a course towards a brighter future for the next generation.


In a vibrant display of teamwork, creativity, and community spirit, the Hollywood Cardboard Boat Race saw Lighthouse 4Students, the beacon of hope for at-risk youth, collaborate with the STAR Center's TECH Engineering Apprentice students and Emmon Toner (Hollywood Rotary) to design and build an extraordinary cardboard boat. While the boat didn't clinch victory, the journey was a testament to the power of community partnerships and the potential they hold for transforming young lives.


Lighthouse 4Students is on a mission to "rebuild communities from the inside out," and has been diligently working to enrich the lives of urban youth and their families. Their focus lies in helping at-risk students with reading and math scores below basic, a population where nearly 70% maintain a GPA of 1.5 or lower. The Hollywood Cardboard Boat Race became a platform to showcase the incredible potential of these young minds and the vital role community support plays in their growth.


The STAR Center, renowned for its commitment to technical education and training of the American Maritime Officers Union and its members, stepped up to the plate, offering its Tech Apprentice Students to lend a hand in this exciting endeavor. Grace Chrisman, Tech Program Coordinator at the STAR Center, provided invaluable guidance and expertise in the boat's design, while Captain Jerry Pannell, Director of Training for the STAR Center, ensured a seamless construction process supplying our students with the material needs and technical support to construct the Lighthouse 4Students/Early act and STAR Center entry.


The synergy between Lighthouse 4Students and the Star Center students was palpable from the outset, with a shared vision of empowering young minds and building a brighter future for them. The cardboard boat, a symbol of this alliance, took shape under the watchful eyes of these dedicated mentors. Lighthouse Community Church of Danai Beach provided the ideal location for this project.


While the team didn't claim the top prize, the real victory was in the collaboration itself. The participants of Lighthouse 4Students, guided by the student mentors from the STAR Center, learned invaluable life skills, including teamwork, problem-solving, and perseverance. They also realized the importance of setting goals and working hard towards achieving them.


"Our participation in the Hollywood Cardboard Boat Race was about more than winning," shared Terrance McElroy (Bro Mac), CEO of Lighthouse 4Students. "It was a testament to the potential that lies within our youth when they are supported by their community. We are incredibly grateful for the STAR Center's unwavering support and dedication, and Tony Suriani’s cheering our students on.”


This collaborative effort showcases the true spirit of community engagement. It underlines the fact that when different segments of our community come together for a common cause, they can help young minds set sail on the sea of possibilities, even in the face of challenges.


As our cardboard boat sails into the sunset, its journey symbolizes the journey of the students involved—filled with hard work, determination, and the unwavering support of their community. Lighthouse 4Students and the STAR Center have proven that it takes a village to raise and nurture our young talents, giving them the tools to shape their own success stories. The true victory lies in the collaboration, the friendships formed, and the valuable life lessons learned. And it is these victories that will help rebuild communities from the inside out, one young mind at a time.


To learn more about opportunities to partner with Lighthouse 4Students, email 



Providing an In-School and After-School Mentoring/Tutoring Program along with a Summer experience, Lighthouse 4Students is committed to students who need additional academic help in math and reading. The organization also provides homework and mentoring support to its students.





Terrence McElroy


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