Pathways Blog

The Pathways Blog features stories and updates from TIF’s students and staff. But this is no fun unless you join the conversation. So please comment on what you find here — and be sure to visit the Pathways Blog regularly.

Students from The Immokalee Foundation treated to a taste of Italy at Fine Folk Pizza

Andrew Maldonado, Kenniya Miller, Leoncio Jiminez, Jenesis Sanders, Susie Lopez Trejo, Vanessa Hernandez

Andrew Maldonado, Kenniya Miller, Leoncio Jiminez, Jenesis Sanders, Susie Lopez Trejo, Vanessa Hernandez

Students from The Immokalee Foundation’s Middle School Summer Academy recently experienced a taste of Italian hospitality at Fine Folk Pizza in Fort Myers.

The visit was part of an incentive program for the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students participating in the foundation’s Summer Academy, part of its Junior Career Development program.

Artisan Dough Masters shared pizza facts and stories with the students, along with a few special techniques used to create their handcrafted specialty pizzas. The certified pizza acrobats also offered tossing lessons, including a “dough off” tossing contest.

“We believe in The Immokalee Foundation’s mission to help students realize there are many opportunities available to each of them,” said Michael DeNunzio, Fine Folk Pizza owner. “Pizza is our passion, and it’s fun for us to give back to the community this way.”

Family-owned and -operated, Fine Folk Pizza is located off Daniels Parkway near JetBlue Park. For more information, visit www.finefolkpizza.com.

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.

Leslie Escalante

Leslie Escalante

Edwin Ramirez, Daniel Trejo Garcia, Chris Batties, Abraham Salazar

Edwin Ramirez, Daniel Trejo Garcia, Chris Batties, Abraham Salazar

DJ Gibson , Elmer Santiago

DJ Gibson , Elmer Santiago

Chris Batties, Ariadna Gomez-Trejo

Chris Batties, Ariadna Gomez-Trejo

Andrew Maldonado, Vanessa Hernandez, Susie Lopez Trejo, Kenniya Miller

Andrew Maldonado, Vanessa Hernandez, Susie Lopez Trejo, Kenniya Miller

DJ Gibson and Michael DeNunzio “dough off”

DJ Gibson and Michael DeNunzio “dough off”

Fine Folk Pizza team - Arianna Schnarr, DJ Gibson, Chris Batties, Andrew Maldonado - with TIF students

Fine Folk Pizza team – Arianna Schnarr, DJ Gibson, Chris Batties, Andrew Maldonado – with TIF students

The Immokalee Foundation receives $10,000 grant from United Way for Career Development program

The Immokalee Foundation has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the United Way of Collier County to support the foundation’s Career Development program.

High school and middle school students in The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program participate in workshops and career panels, internships and job shadowing to gain exposure to industries outside of agriculture. So often these students, mostly from migrant families, are simply unaware of the opportunities available to them.

The program also provides job and college readiness initiatives to ensure that by graduation, students have the academic knowledge and professional skills needed to succeed in post-secondary education or training for their chosen careers, whether through attendance at a community college, university, technical or vocational program, or an apprenticeship with a major corporation. Critical components of the Career Development workshops include ACT preparation, resume writing, networking skills and financial literacy.

The award was made based on a United Way-commissioned report indicating that 75 percent of families in Immokalee cannot afford the necessities of life; they are families living in poverty, defined as the inability to meet a survival-level budget. The report, known as the 2017 ALICE (asset limited, income constrained, employed), suggests that nonprofits can make a difference for these households by providing job training and educational assistance.

For more than 25 years, The Immokalee Foundation has been dedicated to mitigating the effects poverty for youth in the community through academic intervention, educational support and vocational training.

The success of The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program speaks for itself: More than 1,200 students to date have received this critical support at no cost to them, and 100 percent of the students enrolled in its programs graduate from high school. Similarly, 100 percent of those high school graduates continue on to a college or vocational post-secondary path, and nearly 90 percent of those post-secondary students have graduated or are on the path to graduation from their institutions of choice.

“We are very excited to have The Immokalee Foundation join the United Way of Collier County as a partner agency,” said United Way of Collier County President and CEO Steve Sanderson. “Their Career Development program utilizes volunteer mentors from our amazing community to provide mentoring, encouragement and motivation to help encompass strong professional development. United Way strives to support the building of pathways to success through education and life skills, which makes this partnership a perfect match.”

“Through the Career Development program, the foundation is working to close the education gap by supporting students who not only find success in their post-secondary endeavors, but those who also are beginning to improve their community by returning to Immokalee as educators, physicians and business owners,” said The Immokalee Foundation Executive Director Steven Kissinger.

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.

Hertz employees supply students from The Immokalee Foundation with backpacks – and career insights

Hertz backpack drive for The Immokalee Foundation was an A+

Hertz backpack drive for The Immokalee Foundation was an A+

More than 100 students in The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program started school well stocked thanks to backpacks generously donated by employees of He

In addition to the backpacks filled with supplies for the new school year, students received information from a number of Hertz employees about careers with the company.

Speakers on a career panel included Senior Corporate Counsel Dominick Muracco, Global Relocation Specialist Samantha Simmons, Senior Director of Social Media & Content Strategy Chad Israel, Senior Compensation & Business Analyst Marisa Miner, and Public Affairs Manager Beth Davis.

After students toured the building, Hertz employees joined them over lunch for an informal networking session.

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 thank Hertz team

The Immokalee Foundation students thank Hertz team

Hertz career panel with The Immokalee Foundation students (left to right) •Beth Davis, Manager, Public Affairs  •Marisa Miner, Senior Compensation & Business Analyst  •Chad Israel, Senior Director of Social Media & Content Strategy  •Samantha Simmons, Global Relocation Specialist •Dominick Muracco, Senior Corporate Counsel

Hertz career panel with The Immokalee Foundation students (left to right)
•Beth Davis, Manager, Public Affairs
•Marisa Miner, Senior Compensation & Business Analyst
•Chad Israel, Senior Director of Social Media & Content Strategy
•Samantha Simmons, Global Relocation Specialist
•Dominick Muracco, Senior Corporate Counsel

Hertz backpack drive for The Immokalee Foundation

Hertz backpack drive for The Immokalee Foundation

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