Unity in CommUNITY

Celebrating the 4th Annual EJS CommUNITY Block Party Presented by Pulte Family Charitable Foundation


Above: There were lots of smiling faces at the 4th Annual EJS CommUNITY Block Party Presented by Pulte Family Charitable Foundation. Aparra Photography.

Measuring social impact in its entirety is as impossible as counting the water molecules in a cup runneth over, largely because the ripple effects travel far and wide lasting generations in longevity. Genuinely knowing the impact on so many lives cannot be assessed as one hand holds another, the way molecules bond in togetherness.

If impact could be quantified, it might look like the 4th Annual EJS CommUNITY Block Party presented by the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation in Delray Beach, Florida. A culmination of year-round efforts, it’s a place for all to unite and honor one another.

Around 1500 people from all over Palm Beach County gathered on May 4th, 2024, for the lively celebration of community, connectedness, andEJS Project’s mission to build and empower tomorrow’s leaders. The event symbolizes the vision originally set forth by Emanuel “Dupree” Jackson, Founder and Executive Director of the EJS Project, to reduce the vulnerability footprint for folks in the community he grew up in.

Above: Romeo Brown, Brooklyn Johnson, Christopher Johnson, Malachi Kennick, Jacolby Baker, Gertavian Blake (orange), Jose Brown (black), Oscar Watson, Jordan Lyles-Mann, Dupree Jackson, and Robert Shanfield pose for a photo. Aparra Photography.

People danced in front of the stage, which amplified live performances from local talent, a drum circle, step teams, the DJ, and music. Children laughed and wove their way through the Kids Zone and bounce houses and got dressed up in first responder gear while exploring the ins and outs of emergency vehicles brought by the Delray Beach Fire Department and Delray Beach Police Department. The dunk tank drew a crowd as community leaders like Delray Beach Deputy Vice-Mayor Rob Long and Atlantic High Football Coach Jamelle Murray volunteered to make a splash. Games, a towering stilt walker, and contests entertained everyone. Local businesses, marketplace vendors, community resource tents, and food trucks were also present to keep attendees hydrated, fed, and well-informed. The day brought everyone together, emphasizing the UNITY in commUNITY.

“The energy is contagious. I want people to feel good year-round and know that they have help. Know that they’re not in this alone. That’s what I hope,” said Jackson. “Any movement is as strong as the people that believe in it. Our sponsors cover the production costs, so we can host a friendraiser that brings people together.”

Connecting the community to resources is a cornerstone of the EJS Project’s daily work and is met with eager participation from supporters- many of whom were in attendance.

“We are longtime supporters of the EJS Project. Community Partners of South Florida (CPSFL) is all about investing in community, and what better way to do that than to come out and support an event that brings families and communities together,” said Dr. Clarice Redding, Director of Advancement for CPSFL and one of the event sponsors in attendance.

On the other 364 days of the year, the EJS Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides teen mentorship and programming in a safe after-school center at 700 West Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444. Programming includes ‘Bout Dat Action, designed to keep youth engaged in City Commission meetings with the Delray Beach Police Department, beautification efforts, civic engagement, and leadership. Purpose Pays engages participants in meaningful employment, internships, and summer work experiences. Project Hub allows youth to drop in during the regular evening hours to hang out, complete homework, and utilize free WIFI and technology. Youth also have access to mental health support, and transportation is provided, eliminating one of the biggest obstacles to participation.

The youth that attend the center reflect Dupree Jackson’s childhood, and as an adult, he knew he wanted to be a producer of positive outcomes instead of a product of his environment.

“Watching Dupree grow the EJS Project over the years and seeing the impact on current and future generations has been inspiring. One of the first things that caught my attention was his passion for the work he’s doing, and it’s just been a pleasure to witness and be a part of,” said EJS Project Board Director Robert Shanfield.

As another successful year of the Annual EJS CommUNITY Block Party presented by the Pulte Family Charitable Foundation closes, the daily work continues. Creating positive core memories, refocusing trajectories, and decreasing vulnerability footprints guarantees that the impact will spill out well beyond the Delray Beach community, this generation, or every person the EJS Project has yet to meet for themselves- a promise that Emmanuel “Dupree” Jackson’s mission to empower tomorrow’s leaders is thriving. 

To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.ejsproject.org.

Above: Delray Beach Fire Rescue and law enforcement provided a hands-on experience for attendees. Aparra Photography.

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