Pathways Blog

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Steven Kissinger of The Immokalee Foundation honored at Governor’s Mansion

Stephanie and Steven Kissinger with First Lady of Florida Ann Scott at The Governor's Mansion

Stephanie and Steven Kissinger with First Lady of Florida Ann Scott at The Governor’s Mansion

Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, recently was selected as an honored guest for a Community Leadership Dinner hosted by Florida First Lady Ann Scott.

Kissinger and his wife, Stephanie, were seated with Mrs. Scott for dinner, which followed a gathering in the State Reception Room at the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee. Each of the 20 honorees – including professionals from the field of education, civic leaders and members of the armed forces – had an opportunity to address the attendees and talk about their work.

“I enjoyed sharing The Immokalee Foundation’s mission and successes with leaders from throughout the state,” Kissinger said. “And Mrs. Scott was very gracious. She thanked us for the work we are doing and being a catalyst for change. She also presented a great overview of the mansion and the renovations they have completed over the years.”

The Greek Revival mansion, known as The People’s House, was built in 1956 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

CREW lands become classroom for The Immokalee Foundation’s Middle School Summer Academy

Students in The Immokalee Foundation’s Middle School Summer Academy learned about complicated, delicate ecosystems during a June outing to the CREW Land & Water Trust.

The goal for the visit – part of the foundation’s Junior Academy program – was to introduce young students to various environmental conditions and how scientists work in them. Students learned how experts evaluate environmental health by testing the levels of phosphate, nitrogen and oxygen in water samples, along with other experiments.

Not surprisingly, a field trip in which they trekked through marshy water and used large nets to (temporarily) catch water scorpions, shrimp, tadpoles and bugs drew enthusiasm from the middle-schoolers.

“I liked walking through the deep water,” said Eloy Anzualda III. “I have never done anything like that in my life. It was really cool to see the entire landscape and see where our water comes from.”

“I liked the fact that we had to walk through the water and see amazing orange crickets,” said Daniel Trejo-Garcia.

The creatures also impressed Vanessa Hernandez, who said, “Critter netting was my favorite activity because we got to experience the ecosystem very close up.” Similarly, Alfonso Hernandez said, “I enjoyed the marsh because I got to see where our water comes from and also all the different types of animals in this environment.”

According to Middle School Summer Academy STEM teacher Tyler Wippel, who is also a math teacher at Immokalee Middle School, “The students saw firsthand how they are connected to their environment. We learned about aquifers and ecosystems in our classroom, then bam! They were right in front of us.”

The CREW Land & Water Trust was established in 1989 as a nonprofit organization to coordinate the land acquisition, land management and public use of the 60,000-acre Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed. CREW is the largest intact watershed in Southwest Florida, straddling Lee and Collier counties. For more information, visit www.crewtrust.org.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

 

Ethan Rincon, Alex Martinez, Suzie Lopez-Trejo, Jenesis Sanders, Jessi Drummond (CREW)

Ethan Rincon, Alex Martinez, Suzie Lopez-Trejo, Jenesis Sanders, Jessi Drummond (CREW)

David Hernandez, Eloy Anzualda III, Jessi Drummond (CREW)

David Hernandez, Eloy Anzualda III, Jessi Drummond (CREW)

Emmanuel Vega Arreola, Laura Hernandez

Emmanuel Vega Arreola, Laura Hernandez

Students design apps for community well-being in The Immokalee Foundation’s first Engage Summer Academy

The Immokalee Foundation's social entrepreneur project - ENGAGE Summer Academy - judges, team and winners

The Immokalee Foundation’s social entrepreneur project – ENGAGE Summer Academy – judges, team and winners

Twenty-eight students recently spent six weeks learning new skills and solving community problems in the Engage Summer Academy, a new social entrepreneurship offered in The Immokalee Foundation’s College Success initiative. The academy was free to attend, and students earned college scholarship money for their efforts.

Students first conducted a needs assessment for the Immokalee community. Then instructor Steven Becker taught them the basics of coding, including app design. They practiced by building games and tools; the teams then created apps to fill community needs identified as part of the assessment.

Rising high school senior Alejandro Hernandez and junior Angelina Grimaldo won first place for Energos, an app to inform students about activities they can use to fill their time productively, such as sports, clubs and volunteer opportunities. Names, phone numbers and other information were provided through the app to get young people involved more easily. Hernandez and Grimaldo each were awarded $500 in scholarship money for their win, which was determined by a panel of community leaders.

Second-place winners were Hailey Vinton and Noah Garcia, both entering 11th grade, for Order It, an app to help Immokalee residents who don’t have transportation arrange for food to be delivered. Each won a $250 scholarship.

Students could learn about cultures other than their own through the app designed by third-place finishers Mariceliah Cruz, Giselle Ramirez and Cindy Jaimes, all 10th graders. Their app, Culture Connect, earned each of them $100.

Each program participant earned a surprise $100 for their work, in addition to any scholarship money won.

Additional students who successfully completed the academy included Ashley Puente, Ruthamar Bellevue, Ariana Ruiz, Stephanie Saintyl, Griselda Martinez, Diana Lito, Ruth Bellevue, Araceli Garcia, William Plata, Jennifer Herrera, Galilea Pedraza, Juan Santos, Yuridia Zaragoza, Yazmin Ruiz, Alberto Bastida, Jason Ixcoy, Julian Plata and Mireya Leon.

Their apps provided community news and connections, help for buying and selling products at home, finding transportation, scholarships and more.

Serving as judges were David Gordley, market area president, IberiaBank; Jamie Scott, director, Great Programs Synergizing, an NCEF Children’s Out of School Time initiative; Matt Krueger, program designer, Arthrex; Amy Hale, vice president, managing director and private wealth advisor for BMO Private Bank; Timothy Cartwright, chairman of the Tamiami Angel Fund; and Mary Vance Duggan, a former CBS computer programmer.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

 

1st place winners - Energos app - Alejandro Hernandez (12th grade), Angelina Grimaldo (11th grade) with instructor Steven Becker

1st place winners – Energos app – Alejandro Hernandez (12th grade), Angelina Grimaldo (11th grade) with instructor Steven Becker

2nd place winners - Order It app - Hailey Vinton (11th grade), Noah Garcia (11th grade)

2nd place winners – Order It app – Hailey Vinton (11th grade), Noah Garcia (11th grade)

3rd place winners - Culture Connect app - Mariceliah Cruz (10th grade), Giselle Ramirez (10th grade), Cindy Jaimes (10th grade)

3rd place winners – Culture Connect app – Mariceliah Cruz (10th grade), Giselle Ramirez (10th grade), Cindy Jaimes (10th grade)

The Immokalee Foundation's social entrepreneur project - ENGAGE Summer Academy - judges and students

The Immokalee Foundation’s social entrepreneur project – ENGAGE Summer Academy – judges and students

The Immokalee Foundation’s career program backed by Bank of America grant

(left to right) Kelsey Wright, The Immokalee Foundation Development Manager Julie Schmelzle, Senior Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Noemi Perez, The Immokalee Foundation Program Services Director Leslie Gallegos, The Immokalee Foundation student Perla Soto, The Immokalee Foundation Student Jamie Andersen, Senior Vice President/Private Client Advisor at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation Executive Director Gerri Moll, Bank of America President, Southwest Florida branch

(left to right)
Kelsey Wright, The Immokalee Foundation Development Manager
Julie Schmelzle, Senior Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Noemi Perez, The Immokalee Foundation Program Services Director
Leslie Gallegos, The Immokalee Foundation student
Perla Soto, The Immokalee Foundation Student
Jamie Andersen, Senior Vice President/Private Client Advisor at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management
Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation Executive Director
Gerri Moll, Bank of America President, Southwest Florida branch

 

The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program recently received a $7,500 boost from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

In announcing the award, Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor Jamie Andersen said, “It is through awesome work done by dedicated agencies like yours that help lift up our local communities. We’re proud to support The Immokalee Foundation’s efforts to address issues related to jobs and education, areas vital to the economic health of our community. We celebrate with you.”

The grant represents one of Bank of America’s Economic Mobility Workforce Development and Education partnerships.

Whether Immokalee students consider attending a technical school or college, joining the military or going directly into the workforce, the foundation’s Career Development program provides full knowledge of the available choices in those career paths. The program helps young students to realistically plan their futures – and succeed. Workshops teach the application process for college, technical schools and scholarships, and provide advanced training and education.

Financial support for the Career Development program is used for workshops, career panels, college tours, and programs that provide productive activities for the students, such as leadership training.

One hundred percent of the students who participate in The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program graduate from high school, and 100 percent of those students pursue a college or vocational post-secondary education. Of those who pursue higher education, 75 percent graduate from their respective programs.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

The Immokalee Foundation students, staff mark year’s end with fun and games

Students in The Immokalee Foundation programs recently celebrated accomplishments of the 2016-17 school year with an end-of-the-year celebration, including food, music, games and raffles at Immokalee High School.

Friendly competition played out for teams of students in a hula hoop race, shoe race and musical chairs, which 12th-grader Ernesto Blanchard and 10th-grader Shirley Vilsaint won. Tug of war pitted students against staff for one challenge and boys against girls for another.

Eighth-grader Ted Blanchard won the top raffle: a new laptop computer. Ben Lucio, who is in 12th grade, won a basket of school supplies. Bryan Reyes, 12th grade, won a movie basket. And 12th-grader Anita Cruz won the “Fun in the Sun” basket.

Students also enjoyed eating pizza and getting creative at an art center.

Supplies and prizes were donated by Immokalee Technical College, Winn-Dixie, Florida Gulf Coast University, Seminole Native Arts & Crafts, Fiesta Tents, Mr. Fix It, Mi Ranchito, Rib City, Senor Pinas, El Taquito No. 2, B-Hive Flowers & Gifts, On the Spot Printing, Roma in Havana, Creative Cuts, Styles on the Edge, Eddie’s World Class Barbershop, Lozano’s Mexican Restaurant and Culver’s.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

 

TIF student Ted Blanchard won the top raffle, a new laptop computer

TIF student Ted Blanchard won the top raffle, a new laptop computer

TIF student Ben Lucio won a basket of school supplies

TIF student Ben Lucio won a basket of school supplies

TIF student Bryan Reyes won a movie basket

TIF student Bryan Reyes won a movie basket

TIF student Anita Cruz won the “Fun in the Sun” basket

TIF student Anita Cruz won the “Fun in the Sun” basket

TIF students Ernesto Blanchard and Shirley Vilsaint were the musical chairs winners

TIF students Ernesto Blanchard and Shirley Vilsaint were the musical chairs winners

TIF middle school students playing tug of war

TIF middle school students playing tug of war

TIF students playing hula hoop race

TIF students playing hula hoop race

TIF students playing musical chairs

TIF students playing musical chairs