The Immokalee Foundation installs 2018-19 board of directors

board announcement 2018 photos

The Immokalee Foundation recently announced the installation of the organization’s 2018-19 board of directors.

Board members at large are Joyce Hagen, chair; Jim Markiewicz, treasurer; Alison Douglas, secretary; Chuck Campbell; Luis Cartagena; John Costigan; Curt Culver; Don Gunther; Donald Huffner; Kevin Johnson; David Legus; Barbara Morrison; Pete Negri; Steve Pryor; and Joseph Zednik.

Board emeritus members are George Franks, Blake Gable, John Henry, Skip Hildebrand, Wil Larson, Mac McDonald, Lisa Merritt, Don O’Neill, Louise Penta, Peggy Redlinger, Ann Stallkamp and Dick Stonesifer.

“Our board of directors demonstrate an unconditional devotion to The Immokalee Foundation and our mission,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director. “Our board members are an inspiration to our students and their families – as well as to our staff and supporters throughout Southwest Florida. We are grateful for the selfless dedication and encouragement of our foundation family in providing countless opportunities for our students’ futures.”

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers 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 receives $10,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation

The Immokalee Foundation recently received $10,000 from the Naples Daily News, which administered a grant awarded by the Gannett Foundation Grant Program. The parent company of the Naples Daily News and The News-Press, the Gannett Foundation awarded a total of $40,000 to five nonprofits chosen from among more than 100 applicants. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $10,000.

“We’re pleased to receive this significant grant, which will enhance our ability to provide pathways to success through education for the youth of Immokalee,” said Executive Director Steven Kissinger, who accepted the award on behalf of The Immokalee Foundation.

The nonprofit was founded in 1991 to assist the Immokalee community by investing in its youth. In 2001, the foundation began partnering with the statewide Take Stock in Children scholarship program; it also offers Immokalee Readers, Career Development and Career Success, among others.

A look at the numbers proves the success of the foundation’s programs, made possible through a strong staff, committed volunteers, and generous community and corporate support. Students enrolled in The Immokalee Foundation programs have a 100 percent high school graduation rate. In addition, 84 percent of enrolled students are post-secondary graduates from college or vocational institutions.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers 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, Champions For Learning recognized for excellence with state scholarship program awards

Take Stock in Children awards - Champions For Learning, Ashley Bowers, Barbara Uible, Lisa Church - The Immokalee Foundation, Steven Kissinger

Take Stock in Children awards – Champions For Learning, Ashley Bowers, Barbara Uible, Lisa Church – The Immokalee Foundation, Steven Kissinger

The Immokalee Foundation and Champions For Learning, Collier County’s affiliates in the Take Stock in Children program, have each been recognized with the Gold Level of Excellence Award for the sixth consecutive year, as well as the nonprofit scholarship program’s Innovation Award. Both organizations were recognized at the annual Take Stock in Children Leadership Summit & Day at the Capitol.

“We’re grateful that Take Stock recognizes the work that we are doing to forge pathways to success for the students of Immokalee,” Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation said. “The Immokalee Foundation’s excellent staff, dedicated mentors and invaluable community and corporate support make honors like this possible.”

“We are so proud that we are collaborating and sharing best practices between our organizations to ensure that the students who are part of the Take Stock in Children program in Collier County have the best possible experience and outcomes for their future,” said Susan McManus, president of Champions For Learning.

The Gold Level of Excellence is reserved for the local affiliates of the statewide organization that meet high marks on its Balanced Scorecard indicators. These include student recruitment, mentor pairing, timely advocacy, two-year action plan, student growth, increased GPA and EDGAR self-certification – which indicates compliance with federal education funding guidelines. The Balanced Scorecard provides a uniform way for Take Stock in Children to assess performance of all affiliates through the same lens, and to manage their performance through action and improvement plans.

The Innovation Award recognizes consistent innovation and expansion of support to students and families.

Take Stock in Children was established in 1995 and operates in every county in Florida. In Collier County, the students in Immokalee are part of the program through The Immokalee Foundation. Other students across Collier County are served through Champions For Learning, to help low-income, academically qualified students escape the cycle of poverty through education. Through both organizations, all Collier County students have access to the high-quality program that offers college scholarships to students, provides caring volunteer mentors, and instills hope for a better life. Take Stock’s comprehensive programs begin in middle school, continue through high school and include the transition to college or vocational education.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers 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, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Champions For Learning, the education foundation in Collier County is an independent, community-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that makes it possible for our community to impact lives by enriching the environment for student learning through educators and directly with students. The organization has been awarded a four star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency by Charity Navigator. The Education Foundation of Collier County (Champions For Learning) has been ranked among one of the top 25 education foundations in a national study. Become a Champion for Learning and visit www.ChampionsForLearning.org.

‘Fun money’ scholarships reward 16 students in The Immokalee Foundation’s programs

Sixteen post-secondary students in The Immokalee Foundation’s programs each have been granted a $500 scholarship from a nonprofit organization established to award “fun money” to deserving students.

Dr. Massoud Eghrari and Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari awarded “fun money” to The Immokalee Foundation students

Dr. Massoud Eghrari and Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari awarded “fun money” to The Immokalee Foundation students

Dr. Massoud Eghrari and his late wife, Isabella, knew how difficult it is to pursue an education and career – particularly so for Immokalee youth, who have limited resources. So they set up the Massoud and Isabelle Eghrari Charitable Foundation not only to support worthy students’ educational goals, but also to enhance students’ quality of life by awarding the money with no requirement other than that the students spend it on themselves.

That could mean extra pillows and dorm room decor, a dinner out on a test day or anything else – including a trip to Disney World. That’s what Graciela Cervantes plans for a portion of her award, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she never imagined having.

“Receiving this scholarship helped me feel like there was someone who not only cared about my education but about me as well,” Cervantes said. “The point of this scholarship is to use it on something other than school, which was very unexpected because most scholarships are intended for tuition or books.”

“The Immokalee Foundation has helped me so much in the past three years,” Cervantes said. “During this time, I have been in the Career Development Program. I can honestly say it is because of The Immokalee Foundation that I am in college. They always served as a guide to me when I needed help applying for college, submitting scholarships, and providing help to answer any questions that I had.”

When Eghrari became a widower, the nonprofit he co-founded continued to provide scholarships like the one Cervantes received. Today, Dr. Eghrari and his wife, Tayebeh, continue to be strong supporters of The Immokalee Foundation’s efforts.

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.

 

Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari, Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Jose Munguia

Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari, Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Jose Munguia

Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Graciela Cervantes

Dr. Massoud Eghrari, Graciela Cervantes

The Immokalee Foundation’s middle school students meet artists and learn new skills as part of national program

The Immokalee Foundation has collaborated with Young Audiences of Southwest Florida Arts for Learning to bring a variety of arts programs into Immokalee Middle School this year.

Along with the local nonprofit arts program, the foundation is encouraging kids to think creatively and express themselves with confidence – and likely is widening the range of careers that students can imagine themselves pursuing one day.

This school year, Immokalee Middle School students experienced opera singing, puppeteering, acting, and stage and prop design in this after-school program that brings instruction in fine, performing and media arts to schools.

Young Audiences is a 60-year-old national nonprofit that introduces children to artists and their work, either as part of the school curriculum or as a supplement.

“The inclusion of an arts component into the curriculum makes it more fun to learn, and more approachable to kids,” said Cynthia Arnold, executive director of the local affiliate. “Children need to be engaged in learning and to learn in ways that can hold their attention, the way social media and internet sites like YouTube do. The easiest way to do this is to make it fun and interesting. The inclusion of arts does this, for a wider range of children.”

“One of our big goals has been to increase our students’ confidence,” said Amber Barr, after-school program coordinator for The Immokalee Foundation. “Especially for our middle school students, this type of program is a great benefit when they are speaking in front of a class or in public.”

In its pilot year in Immokalee, Arts for Learning reached 26 students in grades six through eight who voluntarily participated; each student is a member of The Immokalee Foundation’s Junior Academy program. Students must apply and be interviewed for the Junior Academy, where they obtain homework help, extension lessons on world affairs and STEM subjects, and supplementary lessons in technology and leadership.

Recently, puppeteers with The Naples Players visited Immokalee Middle School to present a session that involved children making puppets according to characters in a script they read.

“We learned how to make puppets and show emotions with the puppets,” said Emili Carmona, who is 11. “We presented puppets to the class. I made a cyclops.” Emili’s twin sister, Abigail, made a unicorn. The girls and their classmates also learned to make props.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers 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.

Emili Carmona participates in the after-school theater program from Arts for Learning through The Immokalee Foundation

Emili Carmona participates in the after-school theater program from Arts for Learning through The Immokalee Foundation

Hailey Turner works with an instructor during the after-school theater program

Hailey Turner works with an instructor during the after-school theater program

Eduardo Interiano practices his presentation skills

Eduardo Interiano practices his presentation skills