Pathways Blog

Science is engaging for middle school students in The Immokalee Foundation’s program

STEM sounds very academic as an acronym, but when Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are the subjects of a field trip to a hands-on museum, it’s all fun and games.

On Presidents Day, 30 middle school students in The Immokalee Foundation’s Junior Career Development program visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. Many had not previously been to a large-scale museum. As the largest science center in the Southeast United States, MOSI encompasses 400,000 square feet and boasts 450 hands-on exhibits.

Immokalee students enjoyed activities such as riding a high-wire bike and experiencing both hurricane-force winds and a roller coaster ride in simulators.

“MOSI was great because I got to experience new things I’ve never seen before, such as a 3-D simulator,” said Greg Reyna. The simulators were high points of the day for Daniel Trejo Garcia, too.

Linda Gomez Trejo liked the planetarium show best. Ethan Rincon agreed: “I liked the planetarium because I got to learn many things about our solar system and galaxy.”

Jaelyn Sanders liked the IMAX movie best.

The Junior Career Development program exposes younger students to a range of careers through office trips and places of business, and hearing speakers from various professions. Both the Career Development program for high school students and the junior equivalent introduce young people to the importance of STEM subjects, and a trip to MOSI afforded such an opportunity.

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.

 

Alondra Estrada enjoyed hands-on experiences at MOSI

Alondra Estrada enjoyed hands-on experiences at MOSI

 
Ethan Rincon experiences a high-wire simulator at MOSI

Ethan Rincon experiences a high-wire simulator at MOSI

 
Greg Reyna and Daniel Trejo Garcia try an experiment at MOSI

Greg Reyna and Daniel Trejo Garcia try an experiment at MOSI

 
Jaelyn Sanders and Linda Gomez Trejo interact with an exhibit at MOSI

Jaelyn Sanders and Linda Gomez Trejo interact with an exhibit at MOSI

The Immokalee Foundation post-secondary students receive ‘fun money’

Ten post-secondary students with The Immokalee Foundation recently received “fun money” scholarships through the Massoud and Isabella Eghrari Charitable Foundation.

Dr. Eghrari and his late wife, Isabella, knew from their personal experiences how difficult it is pursuing an education and career. So, in addition to funding scholarships for higher education through The Immokalee Foundation, they established $500 scholarships for first-year post-secondary students that each student may use for whatever they wish. Recognizing the hard work of the students – and the financial challenges that students frequently face in their first year of studies – the Eghraris wanted to reward them in a unique manner, which they refer to as “fun money.”

“I am extremely grateful for the extra money, because being a full-time student doesn’t allow for a lot of extras,” said Naidelyn Maldonado, who attends Florida SouthWestern State College as a Take Stock in Children scholarship recipient through The Immokalee Foundation.

A retired surgeon who moved to Southwest Florida from New York eight years ago, Dr. Eghrari and his wife, Tayebeh, are strong supporters of education and The Immokalee Foundation. “This nonprofit is involved in educating underprivileged children,” Dr. Eghrari said. “It provides them a new life, makes them wise and useful members of society. Many of them return to Immokalee and share what they have learned. You don’t have to wait a generation to see what a difference the scholarships make. We appreciate the money directly benefits the students.”

To receive the “fun money,” students completed an application with general information and an essay stating what they would do with the money if they received it. To support the spirit of the award, the students are required to spend the funds on themselves rather than others.

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.

Left to right: Steven Kissinger, Bianca Juarez, Naidelyn Maldonado, Roberto Gabeaud, Karina Estrada, Judeson Rhau, Nyla Reyna, Priscilla Bonilla, Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Miranda Herrera, Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari, Ana Martinez, Laura Simmelink, Christopher Bances, Noemi Perez, Daniel Hernandez

Left to right: Steven Kissinger, Bianca Juarez, Naidelyn Maldonado, Roberto Gabeaud, Karina Estrada, Judeson Rhau, Nyla Reyna, Priscilla Bonilla, Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Miranda Herrera, Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari, Ana Martinez, Laura Simmelink, Christopher Bances, Noemi Perez, Daniel Hernandez

Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Naidelyn Maldonado, Ana Martinez, Christopher Bances, Nyla Reyna, Miranda Herrera, Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari

Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Naidelyn Maldonado, Ana Martinez, Christopher Bances, Nyla Reyna, Miranda Herrera, Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari

The Immokalee Foundation students meet WWII fighter pilot who promotes peace

Jerry Yellin, Diego Villalobos-Perez

Jerry Yellin, Diego Villalobos-Perez

Captain Jerry Yellin was a fighter pilot who enlisted to defend his country after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He flew the last mission of World War II. Today, Yellin is on the front lines of an educational campaign about peace and compassion and the ravages of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Immokalee Foundation recently sponsored Yellin’s visit to Immokalee and a presentation to students by this man who has been through several wars: a military one as well as a fight against severe PTSD and the grief of becoming a widower after a 65-year marriage. His emotional challenges – and then his recovery – were also affected by his son’s move to Japan and marriage to a Japanese woman in the 1980s. This “opened his heart to the possibility of acceptance and love,” according to a documentary being produced about Yellin, titled “Last Man Standing.”

“It was an absolute honor to have Captain Jerry Yellin take time to speak to our high school students,” said The Immokalee Foundation Program Services Director Noemi Perez. “As he spoke to the group, each student was captivated by every story he shared with them. He gave the students words of wisdom, and many students met with him after the presentation to thank him for his time and service.”

Students were impressed and inspired by Yellin’s stated goal, “to help heal the wounds of war and dissolve barriers and misunderstandings that bring us to the point of destroying ourselves.” They also were honored to be in the presence of a man of grace who played such a part in the nation’s history.

“There’s a lot of dignity with Mr. Yellin – you can tell he has dignity,” said Diego Villalobos-Perez, an Immokalee High School student. “That is the level of respect you try to reach from people, but it’s so hard to get. He has it! Our class even wrote him a thank you letter.”

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.

Students from The Immokalee Foundation to be featured on national news program

Four students from The Immokalee Foundation were interviewed in Immokalee this week for national news broadcasts scheduled to appear on CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on Friday, Jan. 20, and CBS Sunday Morning on Jan. 22.

The students discussed with CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman their expectations for the presidential inauguration, which they are attending with a group of 24 students – sponsored by The Immokalee Foundation – who are traveling by bus to Washington, D.C., to witness Friday’s swearing-in ceremonies.

“For many students in the group, this is their first trip out of Immokalee and Southwest Florida,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “Witnessing such a historic event will not only be an incredible educational opportunity, but also a cherished memory for their lifetimes.”

Locally, CBS Evening News airs at 6:30 p.m. and CBS Sunday Morning airs at 9:30 a.m. on WINK News.

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 - Jennifer Flores, Perla Soto, Bryan Reyes, Ulna Beaubrum - with CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman

The Immokalee Foundation students – Jennifer Flores, Perla Soto, Bryan Reyes, Ulna Beaubrum – with CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman

 

The Immokalee Foundation students with CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman

The Immokalee Foundation students with CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman

 

TIF students with CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman

TIF students with CBS Correspondent Steve Hartman

The Immokalee Foundation receives $11,000 grant from community foundation

The Immokalee Foundation has received an $11,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Collier County to support the nonprofit’s Immokalee Readers program.

Immokalee Readers is an after-school early intervention literacy tutoring program designed to help the lowest-performing young readers by supplementing their regular classroom instruction. More than 550 students in all five Immokalee elementary schools are tutored by more than 100 trained high school students, who are supervised by certified classroom teachers.

“The curriculum for Immokalee Readers is aligned with Sunshine State standards,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “We’re very proud that the graduation rate for our high school tutors is 100 percent, and they carry an average 3.29 GPA. These are accomplished students who enjoy working with their elementary-age counterparts to help further their education.”

Collier County Public Schools regularly assesses elementary students’ reading comprehension, phonemic awareness, letter-sound recognition, sight words and vocabulary; results demonstrate that all students in the Immokalee Readers program have made measurable gains.

The Community Foundation of Collier County awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process.

“The Immokalee Foundation helps students reach their full reading potential,” said Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Collier County. “By providing educational opportunities, the foundation is improving the future of its students – and of our entire community.”

The Community Foundation of Collier County is one of Florida’s fastest-growing community foundations. Established in 1985 to increase and focus private philanthropy in Collier County, the tax-exempt, public, charitable fund has invested more than $79 million in grants and scholarships over its 30-year history. At its core, the foundation is an organization created with gifts from generous people committed to local causes. For donors, it serves as a philanthropic advisor. For the community, the foundation serves as a grantmaker and a civic leader. Through the support of its donors and fundholders, the foundation has addressed some of the community’s most pressing needs. Today, the Community Foundation manages more than 510 funds, collaborates with more than 400 nonprofits, and holds over $100 million in assets. For more information, visit www.cfcollier.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.

Osbaldo Vasquez with young reader at Eden Park Elementary

Osbaldo Vasquez with young reader at Eden Park Elementary

 

Miranda Herrera tutoring young Immokalee Reader Selest Martinez

Miranda Herrera tutoring young Immokalee Reader Selest Martinez

 

Juan Sandoval provides reading tutorial with Village Oaks Elementary students

Juan Sandoval provides reading tutorial with Village Oaks Elementary students