TIF is home to programs that enhance the lives of Immokalee’s next generation by emphasizing education, vocation, and life skills that build pathways to success.
immokalee_readers
Immokalee Readers helps Immokalee’s youngest generation become strong readers today so that they can be strong students tomorrow.
take_stock
For the hard-working students in TIF’s Take Stock in Children program, college is never out of reach.
future_builders
TIF's Career Development program empowers students to make informed choices about their career paths to better ensure their professional success.
college_vocational_services
The transition from high school to college is made easier through the Post-Secondary & Career Success program.
scholarships
The Direct Scholarships program ensures that hard-working students have educational opportunities after high school.
strategic_grants
Through the Community Collaborations, TIF teams up with community partners to better the lives of Immokalee’s children.

WHAT:
The Immokalee Foundation’s 2017 Charity Classic Pro-Am will be held Monday, Nov. 13, at Bay Colony Golf Club. The low-net score golf tournament will pair more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers with Naples’ most philanthropic players.

Each amateur foursome will be paired with a different professional player for the first and second nine holes during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club Sunday, Nov. 12.

WHO:
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.

Chairing the event for the seventh year is Kevin Johnson of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, along with Sunny Sapiente of Bay Colony Golf Club.

WHEN:
Monday, Nov. 13, 2017
7:30 a.m. breakfast and golf demonstrations
9 a.m. shotgun start
Lunch and awards presentation immediately following the tournament

WHERE:
Bay Colony Golf Club
9740 Bent Grass Bend, Naples

TICKETS:
Entry fees begin at $5,000.

INFO:
The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org, www.immokaleefoundation.org

WHAT:
The Immokalee Foundation’s 2017 Charity Classic Pro-Am will be held Monday, Nov. 13, at Bay Colony Golf Club. The low-net score golf tournament will pair more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers with Naples’ most philanthropic players.

Each amateur foursome will be paired with a different professional player for the first and second nine holes during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club Sunday, Nov. 12.

WHO:
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.

Chairing the event for the seventh year is Kevin Johnson of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, along with Sunny Sapiente of Bay Colony Golf Club.

WHEN:
Monday, Nov. 13, 2017
7:30 a.m. breakfast and golf demonstrations
9 a.m. shotgun start
Lunch and awards presentation immediately following the tournament

WHERE:
Bay Colony Golf Club
9740 Bent Grass Bend, Naples

TICKETS:
Entry fees begin at $5,000.

INFO:
The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org, www.immokaleefoundation.org

Students from The Immokalee Foundation recently toured Norman Love Confections and Artisan Gelato by Norman Love in Fort Myers, with the founder himself leading the visit.

Master Chocolatier Norman Love shared personal stories with the students, along with several secrets to his success; he also revealed a few special techniques used to create his world-renowned chocolates.

Love led 22 foundation students through the chocolate salon, kitchens, packaging and warehouse areas. He explained the process of making exquisitely crafted chocolates, desserts, crepes, pastries and holiday specialties. After offering the students samples of his confections, Love surprised them with handmade authentic Italian artisan gelato.

“Mr. Love shared his history and culinary experiences with us, which was really interesting,” said Jennifer Villa, who is currently dual-enrolled at Immokalee High School and in iTECH’s Culinary Arts program and will be attending Keiser University Center for Culinary Arts in Tallahassee. “I couldn’t believe he invited me back to be a pastry chef in training for an entire day. That will be another experience I will never forget.”

Norman Love Confections has Chocolate Salons in Fort Myers, Estero and Naples in Southwest Florida, as well as Artisan Gelato in Fort Myers. The chocolatier creates and distributes handcrafted artisanal chocolates from its Fort Myers corporate headquarters that encompasses both production and retail operations. For more information, visit www.normanloveconfections.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.

 

The Immokalee Foundation’s students at Norman Love Confections

The Immokalee Foundation’s students at Norman Love Confections

Norman Love with The Immokalee Foundation’s students at Artisan Gelato by Norman Love

Norman Love with The Immokalee Foundation’s students at Artisan Gelato by Norman Love

Norman Love, Jennifer Villa

Norman Love, Jennifer Villa

NLC packaging and warehouse

NLC packaging and warehouse

NLC team member describes confections

NLC team member describes confections

Students from The Immokalee Foundation recently toured Norman Love Confections and Artisan Gelato by Norman Love in Fort Myers, with the founder himself leading the visit.

Master Chocolatier Norman Love shared personal stories with the students, along with several secrets to his success; he also revealed a few special techniques used to create his world-renowned chocolates.

Love led 22 foundation students through the chocolate salon, kitchens, packaging and warehouse areas. He explained the process of making exquisitely crafted chocolates, desserts, crepes, pastries and holiday specialties. After offering the students samples of his confections, Love surprised them with handmade authentic Italian artisan gelato.

“Mr. Love shared his history and culinary experiences with us, which was really interesting,” said Jennifer Villa, who is currently dual-enrolled at Immokalee High School and in iTECH’s Culinary Arts program and will be attending Keiser University Center for Culinary Arts in Tallahassee. “I couldn’t believe he invited me back to be a pastry chef in training for an entire day. That will be another experience I will never forget.”

Norman Love Confections has Chocolate Salons in Fort Myers, Estero and Naples in Southwest Florida, as well as Artisan Gelato in Fort Myers. The chocolatier creates and distributes handcrafted artisanal chocolates from its Fort Myers corporate headquarters that encompasses both production and retail operations. For more information, visit www.normanloveconfections.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.

 

The Immokalee Foundation’s students at Norman Love Confections

The Immokalee Foundation’s students at Norman Love Confections

Norman Love with The Immokalee Foundation’s students at Artisan Gelato by Norman Love

Norman Love with The Immokalee Foundation’s students at Artisan Gelato by Norman Love

Norman Love, Jennifer Villa

Norman Love, Jennifer Villa

NLC packaging and warehouse

NLC packaging and warehouse

NLC team member describes confections

NLC team member describes confections

Middle school students enrolled in The Immokalee Foundation’s Junior Career Development Program spent their spring break traveling away from the beaches, sunshine and leisure of Florida to snow, large buildings and learning – and they loved it. The mid-March trip to Washington, D.C., was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to Alondra Estrada. Ivette Varella called it “a dream come true.”

Ten Immokalee Foundation students visited the White House; U.S. Capitol; Smithsonian Institution museums; Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; war and military memorials; Arlington National Cemetery; and Mount Vernon.

This is an annual experience for young teens in The Immokalee Foundation’s program, but for the first time, students also were able to see the original copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives.

Along with her classmates, Cenaida Herrera was very impressed. On a web page created for the students to submit their memories, she wrote, “They were the authentic (documents), and it was so cool to see how they preserved the original paper and the writing of the documents.”

Students spent long days taking in new experiences.

“We also learned about temperatures below 50 degrees!” Daniel Trejo-Garcia wrote on the site.

Abraham Salazar not only enjoyed the Lincoln Memorial because he was able to see in person the iconic image of the 16th president in his chair, but also because he and the honored man share the same first name. “Also, the quote at the top of the monument inspired me,” Salazar wrote. “All of this would not be possible without The Immokalee Foundation.”

“One of my favorite things I did during this trip was seeing the White House,” wrote Dalila Gonzalez. “It was great that I finally got to see it in person and not in textbooks or in a picture. The people I got to spend time with and the sights were unbelievable. I think everyone should know how great The Immokalee Foundation is for making this trip so amazing!”

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 group at the White House

The Immokalee Foundation group at the White House

The Immokalee Foundation group at The Capitol

The Immokalee Foundation group at The Capitol

Leslie Escalante, Cenaida Herrera

Leslie Escalante, Cenaida Herrera

Elmer Santaigo

Elmer Santaigo

Daniel Trejo-Garcia

Daniel Trejo-Garcia

Cenaida Herrera, Leslie Escalante, Jaelyn Sanders

Cenaida Herrera, Leslie Escalante, Jaelyn Sanders

Middle school students enrolled in The Immokalee Foundation’s Junior Career Development Program spent their spring break traveling away from the beaches, sunshine and leisure of Florida to snow, large buildings and learning – and they loved it. The mid-March trip to Washington, D.C., was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to Alondra Estrada. Ivette Varella called it “a dream come true.”

Ten Immokalee Foundation students visited the White House; U.S. Capitol; Smithsonian Institution museums; Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; war and military memorials; Arlington National Cemetery; and Mount Vernon.

This is an annual experience for young teens in The Immokalee Foundation’s program, but for the first time, students also were able to see the original copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives.

Along with her classmates, Cenaida Herrera was very impressed. On a web page created for the students to submit their memories, she wrote, “They were the authentic (documents), and it was so cool to see how they preserved the original paper and the writing of the documents.”

Students spent long days taking in new experiences.

“We also learned about temperatures below 50 degrees!” Daniel Trejo-Garcia wrote on the site.

Abraham Salazar not only enjoyed the Lincoln Memorial because he was able to see in person the iconic image of the 16th president in his chair, but also because he and the honored man share the same first name. “Also, the quote at the top of the monument inspired me,” Salazar wrote. “All of this would not be possible without The Immokalee Foundation.”

“One of my favorite things I did during this trip was seeing the White House,” wrote Dalila Gonzalez. “It was great that I finally got to see it in person and not in textbooks or in a picture. The people I got to spend time with and the sights were unbelievable. I think everyone should know how great The Immokalee Foundation is for making this trip so amazing!”

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 group at the White House

The Immokalee Foundation group at the White House

The Immokalee Foundation group at The Capitol

The Immokalee Foundation group at The Capitol

Leslie Escalante, Cenaida Herrera

Leslie Escalante, Cenaida Herrera

Elmer Santaigo

Elmer Santaigo

Daniel Trejo-Garcia

Daniel Trejo-Garcia

Cenaida Herrera, Leslie Escalante, Jaelyn Sanders

Cenaida Herrera, Leslie Escalante, Jaelyn Sanders

36 Immokalee students inducted into The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program

36 Immokalee students inducted into The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program

Thirty-six students pledged to regularly attend all of their classes, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, and be positive role models to other students in school as the newest inductees in The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program.

In addition, the seventh- through 11th-grade students pledged to meet with their mentors regularly, remain drug and crime free, volunteer in their community, and attend all required Take Stock in Children workshops and events.

During the March 9 ceremony at Ave Maria University, the new inductees joined hundreds of students from Immokalee who – during the foundation’s 25 years – have met their commitments and been offered scholarships to Florida colleges or universities upon high school graduation.

Inductees also were joined by parents, siblings, friends, mentors, board members and The Immokalee Foundation staff for dinner. While they dined, a slide show featured photos of each student.

Among those watching for his photo to come around was eighth-grader Israel Briones Jr., whose parents saw him cross the stage and pick up the certificate he earned as an Immokalee Foundation Take Stock in Children student. Briones already has an idea that he’d like to become an engineer, having been on a field trip to a local university where he learned about the study of engineering with his Immokalee Middle School class.

But should he change his mind, Briones will be able to explore additional career options through The Immokalee Foundation’s community partners in its Career Development program – just one new educational avenue he will have as a Take Stock student.

Student speaker Ulna Beaubrum talked about other benefits of being chosen for the program. “Being accepted into Take Stock in Children provided me with hope that college was a possibility,” she said. “My biggest blessing from The Immokalee Foundation came when my student advocate encouraged me to apply to Florida State University’s summer medical program. I applied with little faith that a small girl like me from a small town would be selected. Due to my faith and the faith my advocate had in me, I was indeed selected.”

She continued down that path until she came face to face with her future. “I will graduate in May and attend Florida State University to major in biology and become a pediatrician,” Beaubrum said.

Mentor Joseph Sciortino spoke about the rewards of mentorship and passed along appreciative comments he had heard from Take Stock mentees. “My mentor has been interested in my well-being as well as my academic success,” said one. “My mentor believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself,” said another.

Parent Tavis Rios expressed his appreciation for having four children selected as Take Stock in Children recipients.

The Immokalee Foundation Board Chair Joyce Hagen said, “Students, you would not be here without this family support that surrounds you tonight. Your family believes in you. And now, you believe in yourself. And we believe in you, too.”

Hagen finished with a promise: “Our staff will do everything in their power to position you for a brilliant future.”

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.

 

Mackenson Yrelus

Mackenson Yrelus

Ulna Beaubrum

Ulna Beaubrum

Hector Trejo, Martin and Daniel Trejo-Garcia, Flora Garcia

Hector Trejo, Martin and Daniel Trejo-Garcia, Flora Garcia

Yuridia Zaragoza

Yuridia Zaragoza

36 Immokalee students inducted into The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program

36 Immokalee students inducted into The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program

Thirty-six students pledged to regularly attend all of their classes, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, and be positive role models to other students in school as the newest inductees in The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program.

In addition, the seventh- through 11th-grade students pledged to meet with their mentors regularly, remain drug and crime free, volunteer in their community, and attend all required Take Stock in Children workshops and events.

During the March 9 ceremony at Ave Maria University, the new inductees joined hundreds of students from Immokalee who – during the foundation’s 25 years – have met their commitments and been offered scholarships to Florida colleges or universities upon high school graduation.

Inductees also were joined by parents, siblings, friends, mentors, board members and The Immokalee Foundation staff for dinner. While they dined, a slide show featured photos of each student.

Among those watching for his photo to come around was eighth-grader Israel Briones Jr., whose parents saw him cross the stage and pick up the certificate he earned as an Immokalee Foundation Take Stock in Children student. Briones already has an idea that he’d like to become an engineer, having been on a field trip to a local university where he learned about the study of engineering with his Immokalee Middle School class.

But should he change his mind, Briones will be able to explore additional career options through The Immokalee Foundation’s community partners in its Career Development program – just one new educational avenue he will have as a Take Stock student.

Student speaker Ulna Beaubrum talked about other benefits of being chosen for the program. “Being accepted into Take Stock in Children provided me with hope that college was a possibility,” she said. “My biggest blessing from The Immokalee Foundation came when my student advocate encouraged me to apply to Florida State University’s summer medical program. I applied with little faith that a small girl like me from a small town would be selected. Due to my faith and the faith my advocate had in me, I was indeed selected.”

She continued down that path until she came face to face with her future. “I will graduate in May and attend Florida State University to major in biology and become a pediatrician,” Beaubrum said.

Mentor Joseph Sciortino spoke about the rewards of mentorship and passed along appreciative comments he had heard from Take Stock mentees. “My mentor has been interested in my well-being as well as my academic success,” said one. “My mentor believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself,” said another.

Parent Tavis Rios expressed his appreciation for having four children selected as Take Stock in Children recipients.

The Immokalee Foundation Board Chair Joyce Hagen said, “Students, you would not be here without this family support that surrounds you tonight. Your family believes in you. And now, you believe in yourself. And we believe in you, too.”

Hagen finished with a promise: “Our staff will do everything in their power to position you for a brilliant future.”

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.

 

Mackenson Yrelus

Mackenson Yrelus

Ulna Beaubrum

Ulna Beaubrum

Hector Trejo, Martin and Daniel Trejo-Garcia, Flora Garcia

Hector Trejo, Martin and Daniel Trejo-Garcia, Flora Garcia

Yuridia Zaragoza

Yuridia Zaragoza

A group of nearly 100 mentors and their mentees from The Immokalee Foundation marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January by attending the foundation’s traditional Mentor-Mentee Movie Day. A few weeks later, pairs had another opportunity to meet, this time enjoying lunch and bowling together.

The group met on MLK Day at California Pizza Kitchen, followed by an afternoon screening of “Hidden Figures,” the Oscar-nominated true story about a group of African-American women at NASA in the early years of the space program who – while facing racism and sexism – became instrumental in the operations that sent John Glenn into orbit.

“Hidden Figures couldn’t have been a better choice this year,” said mentor Janice Backlund. “The exposure to strong women of color and the struggles they endured and overcame meant so much to all of us. And on MLK Day – it couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Mentor Hans Heinsen agreed. “The movie provided a great opportunity for our mentees to see how perseverance can overcome obstacles in society,” he said.

The events also were opportunities for mentors and mentees to relax and have fun. “These are the times to be more yourself and personable,” said mentor Joseph Sciortino, who – like all mentors with The Immokalee Foundation – devotes an hour each week during the school year to meet with his mentee, Osbaldo Vasquez, in Immokalee.

More recently, mentors and mentees met at IL Primo Pizza & Wings for lunch and ventured to HeadPinz for two hours of bowling.

Among them were Debbie Devita and her mentee, Litzy Rojas. “I love being able to give back to a young person and also just to become a part of their life and help any way I can,” said Devita.

Clearly, these relationships are meaningful on both sides. “My mentor has encouraged me to further my education and to keep striving to accomplish my goals,” said Lessett Perez of mentor Teddy Sitter. “Most importantly, she is one of my greatest friends.”

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.

Debbie DeVita, Litzy Rojas

Debbie DeVita, Litzy Rojas

 

Audrey Appleby, Maria Espinoza

Audrey Appleby, Maria Espinoza

 

Teddy Sitter, Lesseett Perez

Teddy Sitter, Lesseett Perez

 

Daniel Hernandez, Loudjina Louis, Bryan Reyes, Andres Estrada

Daniel Hernandez, Loudjina Louis, Bryan Reyes, Andres Estrada

 

Arthur Goldstein, Mark Trejo, Rafael Rodriguez, Dick Rothwell

Arthur Goldstein, Mark Trejo, Rafael Rodriguez, Dick Rothwell

 

Julissa Montalvo, Dorothy Campbell, Crystal Moreno

Julissa Montalvo, Dorothy Campbell, Crystal Moreno

 

Dominique Rios, Jackelyn Banda-Soto, Jan Backlund

Dominique Rios, Jackelyn Banda-Soto, Jan Backlund

A group of nearly 100 mentors and their mentees from The Immokalee Foundation marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January by attending the foundation’s traditional Mentor-Mentee Movie Day. A few weeks later, pairs had another opportunity to meet, this time enjoying lunch and bowling together.

The group met on MLK Day at California Pizza Kitchen, followed by an afternoon screening of “Hidden Figures,” the Oscar-nominated true story about a group of African-American women at NASA in the early years of the space program who – while facing racism and sexism – became instrumental in the operations that sent John Glenn into orbit.

“Hidden Figures couldn’t have been a better choice this year,” said mentor Janice Backlund. “The exposure to strong women of color and the struggles they endured and overcame meant so much to all of us. And on MLK Day – it couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Mentor Hans Heinsen agreed. “The movie provided a great opportunity for our mentees to see how perseverance can overcome obstacles in society,” he said.

The events also were opportunities for mentors and mentees to relax and have fun. “These are the times to be more yourself and personable,” said mentor Joseph Sciortino, who – like all mentors with The Immokalee Foundation – devotes an hour each week during the school year to meet with his mentee, Osbaldo Vasquez, in Immokalee.

More recently, mentors and mentees met at IL Primo Pizza & Wings for lunch and ventured to HeadPinz for two hours of bowling.

Among them were Debbie Devita and her mentee, Litzy Rojas. “I love being able to give back to a young person and also just to become a part of their life and help any way I can,” said Devita.

Clearly, these relationships are meaningful on both sides. “My mentor has encouraged me to further my education and to keep striving to accomplish my goals,” said Lessett Perez of mentor Teddy Sitter. “Most importantly, she is one of my greatest friends.”

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.

Debbie DeVita, Litzy Rojas

Debbie DeVita, Litzy Rojas

 

Audrey Appleby, Maria Espinoza

Audrey Appleby, Maria Espinoza

 

Teddy Sitter, Lesseett Perez

Teddy Sitter, Lesseett Perez

 

Daniel Hernandez, Loudjina Louis, Bryan Reyes, Andres Estrada

Daniel Hernandez, Loudjina Louis, Bryan Reyes, Andres Estrada

 

Arthur Goldstein, Mark Trejo, Rafael Rodriguez, Dick Rothwell

Arthur Goldstein, Mark Trejo, Rafael Rodriguez, Dick Rothwell

 

Julissa Montalvo, Dorothy Campbell, Crystal Moreno

Julissa Montalvo, Dorothy Campbell, Crystal Moreno

 

Dominique Rios, Jackelyn Banda-Soto, Jan Backlund

Dominique Rios, Jackelyn Banda-Soto, Jan Backlund

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

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

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.

 

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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 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

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 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

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

Marie Sanon, Maria Aguilar, Michael Benson, Melinda Gunther (back)

Marie Sanon, Maria Aguilar, Michael Benson, Melinda Gunther (back)

The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration and Charity Classic Pro-Am raised a record $2,323,356 to honor the organization’s 25th anniversary serving the youth of Immokalee.

The Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, held Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, was led by honorary chair Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991. The evening featured the debut of “Heroes of Immokalee,” a film by Los Angeles filmmaker David Serota.

Long-time supporters and fellow board members Jay “Dick” Stonesifer, Don O’Neill and Mac McDonald co-chaired the event. “The key to this event was the celebration of a 25-year history of this organization, which was started by Parker Collier and has grown to a team of thousands who are helping to build pathways to success for the children of Immokalee,” Stonesifer said. “The results were on display as the kids on stage gave their personal stories of success.”

Much of that success involves post-secondary education; in fact, this year the organization celebrated its first doctoral graduate with Dr. Kristen Dimas, who is now serving her medical residency at Lee Health after graduating from the Florida State University College of Medicine with support from The Immokalee Foundation.

At the Charity Classic Pro-Am, 26 professional golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – joined 100 of Southwest Florida’s most philanthropic golfers at the Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples.

Kevin Johnson again chaired the Pro-Am with an important assist from PGA and Champions Tour professional Mark Lye, a founder of the tournament. Lye recruited other top golfers for the day of clinics, demonstrations, a round of play and an awards presentation. Among those responding to Lye’s invitation, in addition to Walker and Thompson, were Briny Baird, Bobby Clampett, Erik Compton, Laura Diaz, Kendall Dye, Steve Flesch, Tom Gillis, Dudley Hart, Kim Kaufman, Skip Kendall, Casey Kennedy, Paige Mackenzie, Michelle McGann, George McNeill, Kristy McPherson, Shaun Micheel, Brooke Pancake, Charlie Rymer, Chris Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, Kris Tamulis, Kris Tschetter and Mike Weir.

The top men’s foursome of Kevin Powderly, Will Bobb, Hal Cohen and Phil Warren played nine holes with Bobby Clampett and nine with Brooke Pancake. The top women’s foursome included Joyce Hagen, Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente and Kristin Miller, who played with pros Lexi Thompson and Dudley Hart. In the mixed-flight competition, winners were Doug Esson, Jay “Dick” Stonesifer, Mike Gavin and Carol Shuttleworth, who played with Kim Kaufman and Steve Flesch.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events were Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation, and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, 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.

 

Don Gunther, Iain Mossman

Don Gunther, Iain Mossman

Heather Avalos, Alex Martinez

Heather Avalos, Alex Martinez

Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald, Scott Robertson, Jay 'Dick' Stonesifer

Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald, Scott Robertson, Jay ‘Dick’ Stonesifer

Joseph and Dee Zednik, Rena Rutstein

Joseph and Dee Zednik, Rena Rutstein

Bette Noble, Aaron Sevigny

Bette Noble, Aaron Sevigny

Mac McDonald

Mac McDonald

Curt and Sandra Edwards

Curt and Sandra Edwards

Peggy and Don Redlinger, Kaye Negri

Peggy and Don Redlinger, Kaye Negri

Robyn Mathias, Jay 'Dick' Stonesifer

Robyn Mathias, Jay ‘Dick’ Stonesifer

Ronald Johnson, Michael Mulroy

Ronald Johnson, Michael Mulroy

Woodelene Pierre, Sandra Soto

Woodelene Pierre, Sandra Soto

Susan Hodgson

Susan Hodgson

Kristin Miller

Kristin Miller

1st Place Ladies - Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente, Lexi Thompson, Joyce Hagen, Kristin Miller

1st Place Ladies – Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente, Lexi Thompson, Joyce Hagen, Kristin Miller

1st Place Ladies - Dudley Hart, Kristin Miller, Joyce Hagen, Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente, Lexi Thompson

1st Place Ladies – Dudley Hart, Kristin Miller, Joyce Hagen, Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente, Lexi Thompson

2nd Place Men’s - Blake Benjamin, Jimmy Walker, Cary Putrino, David Call (missing Jack Morgan)

2nd Place Men’s – Blake Benjamin, Jimmy Walker, Cary Putrino, David Call (missing Jack Morgan)

2nd Place Mixed - Kathie Markiewicz, Mike Weir, Mary Coughlin, Emily and John Costigan

2nd Place Mixed – Kathie Markiewicz, Mike Weir, Mary Coughlin, Emily and John Costigan

Kevin Powderly, Bobby Clampett, Will Bobb, Hal Cohen, Phil Warren

Kevin Powderly, Bobby Clampett, Will Bobb, Hal Cohen, Phil Warren

Jim Fligg, James Baiter, Jimmy Walker, Harry Debes, Barry Frank

Jim Fligg, James Baiter, Jimmy Walker, Harry Debes, Barry Frank

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson

Sunny Sapiente chipping onto the green

Sunny Sapiente chipping onto the green

The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration and Charity Classic Pro-Am raised a record $2,323,356 to honor the organization’s 25th anniversary serving the youth of Immokalee.

The Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, held Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, was led by honorary chair Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991. The evening featured the debut of “Heroes of Immokalee,” a film by Los Angeles filmmaker David Serota.

Long-time supporters and fellow board members Jay “Dick” Stonesifer, Don O’Neill and Mac McDonald co-chaired the event. “The key to this event was the celebration of a 25-year history of this organization, which was started by Parker Collier and has grown to a team of thousands who are helping to build pathways to success for the children of Immokalee,” Stonesifer said. “The results were on display as the kids on stage gave their personal stories of success.”

Much of that success involves post-secondary education; in fact, this year the organization celebrated its first doctoral graduate with Dr. Kristen Dimas, who is now serving her medical residency at Lee Health after graduating from the Florida State University College of Medicine with support from The Immokalee Foundation.

At the Charity Classic Pro-Am, 26 professional golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – joined 100 of Southwest Florida’s most philanthropic golfers at the Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples.

Kevin Johnson again chaired the Pro-Am with an important assist from PGA and Champions Tour professional Mark Lye, a founder of the tournament. Lye recruited other top golfers for the day of clinics, demonstrations, a round of play and an awards presentation. Among those responding to Lye’s invitation, in addition to Walker and Thompson, were Briny Baird, Bobby Clampett, Erik Compton, Laura Diaz, Kendall Dye, Steve Flesch, Tom Gillis, Dudley Hart, Kim Kaufman, Skip Kendall, Casey Kennedy, Paige Mackenzie, Michelle McGann, George McNeill, Kristy McPherson, Shaun Micheel, Brooke Pancake, Charlie Rymer, Chris Smith, Sarah Jane Smith, Kris Tamulis, Kris Tschetter and Mike Weir.

The top men’s foursome of Kevin Powderly, Will Bobb, Hal Cohen and Phil Warren played nine holes with Bobby Clampett and nine with Brooke Pancake. The top women’s foursome included Joyce Hagen, Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente and Kristin Miller, who played with pros Lexi Thompson and Dudley Hart. In the mixed-flight competition, winners were Doug Esson, Jay “Dick” Stonesifer, Mike Gavin and Carol Shuttleworth, who played with Kim Kaufman and Steve Flesch.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events were Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation, and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, 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.

 

Bette Noble, Aaron Sevigny

Bette Noble, Aaron Sevigny

Sunny Sapiente chipping onto the green

Sunny Sapiente chipping onto the green

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson

Kevin Powderly, Bobby Clampett, Will Bobb, Hal Cohen, Phil Warren

Kevin Powderly, Bobby Clampett, Will Bobb, Hal Cohen, Phil Warren

Jim Fligg, James Baiter, Jimmy Walker, Harry Debes, Barry Frank

Jim Fligg, James Baiter, Jimmy Walker, Harry Debes, Barry Frank

Canadian golf legend Mike Weir practice putting before the tournament

Canadian golf legend Mike Weir practice putting before the tournament

2nd Place Mixed - Kathie Markiewicz, Mike Weir, Mary Coughlin, Emily and John Costigan

2nd Place Mixed – Kathie Markiewicz, Mike Weir, Mary Coughlin, Emily and John Costigan

2nd Place Men’s - Blake Benjamin, Jimmy Walker, Cary Putrino, David Call (missing Jack Morgan)

2nd Place Men’s – Blake Benjamin, Jimmy Walker, Cary Putrino, David Call (missing Jack Morgan)

1st Place Ladies - Dudley Hart, Kristin Miller, Joyce Hagen, Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente, Lexi Thompson

1st Place Ladies – Dudley Hart, Kristin Miller, Joyce Hagen, Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente, Lexi Thompson

1st Place Ladies - Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente, Lexi Thompson, Joyce Hagen, Kristin Miller

1st Place Ladies – Carol Lund, Sunny Sapiente, Lexi Thompson, Joyce Hagen, Kristin Miller

Woodelene Pierre, Sandra Soto

Woodelene Pierre, Sandra Soto

Susan Hodgson

Susan Hodgson

Ronald Johnson, Michael Mulroy

Ronald Johnson, Michael Mulroy

Robyn Mathias, Jay 'Dick' Stonesifer

Robyn Mathias, Jay ‘Dick’ Stonesifer

Peggy and Don Redlinger, Kaye Negri

Peggy and Don Redlinger, Kaye Negri

Marie Sanon, Maria Aguilar, Michael Benson, Melinda Gunther (back)

Marie Sanon, Maria Aguilar, Michael Benson, Melinda Gunther (back)

Mac McDonald

Mac McDonald

Kristin Miller

Kristin Miller

Joseph and Dee Zednik, Rena Rutstein

Joseph and Dee Zednik, Rena Rutstein

Heather Avalos, Alex Martinez

Heather Avalos, Alex Martinez

Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald, Scott Robertson, Jay 'Dick' Stonesifer

Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald, Scott Robertson, Jay ‘Dick’ Stonesifer

Don Gunther, Iain Mossman

Don Gunther, Iain Mossman

Curt and Sandra Edwards

Curt and Sandra Edwards

The Immokalee Foundation’s Noemi Perez, right, shadowed Linda Salazar of Eden Park Elementary during “Principal for a Day.”

The Immokalee Foundation’s Noemi Perez, right, shadowed Linda Salazar of Eden Park Elementary during “Principal for a Day.”

Program Services Director Noemi Perez of The Immokalee Foundation recently was sent back to elementary school – as a participant in Collier County Public Schools’ annual Principal for a Day program.

“It really opened my eyes to what a day is like in the life of a school principal,” said Perez, who spent a day in mid-November at Eden Park Elementary School in Immokalee. “I walked around the school and visited a few classrooms, alongside Principal Linda Salazar. I sat in a few administrative meetings, which allowed me to see and hear about certain issues and challenges the school faces.”

Salazar explained that the challenges on the day Perez shadowed her were significant, which is not particularly unusual in the school that serves kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Many of the children come from low-income families, which can present difficulties for the students as well as their teachers.

For example, Perez joined administrators and the school leadership team to discuss how to help several students who were struggling; for those students, life situations had become “obstacles to learning,” Salazar said. “Noemi got to sit in and listen to the problem-solving” among administration, teachers and staff. “She was also with me when students talked to me about why they didn’t do their homework,” a measure taken to stress to students the importance of accountability, Salazar said. “And then later, she was in on discussions with the parents.”

“Everyone has a perception of what a principal’s day would be like,” Perez said, “but until you are able to see it firsthand, you may not fully appreciate the work they do. It is not an easy job, but you can see how rewarding it is and the impact a principal makes every day.”

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’s Noemi Perez, right, shadowed Linda Salazar of Eden Park Elementary during “Principal for a Day.”

The Immokalee Foundation’s Noemi Perez, right, shadowed Linda Salazar of Eden Park Elementary during “Principal for a Day.”

Program Services Director Noemi Perez of The Immokalee Foundation recently was sent back to elementary school – as a participant in Collier County Public Schools’ annual Principal for a Day program.

“It really opened my eyes to what a day is like in the life of a school principal,” said Perez, who spent a day in mid-November at Eden Park Elementary School in Immokalee. “I walked around the school and visited a few classrooms, alongside Principal Linda Salazar. I sat in a few administrative meetings, which allowed me to see and hear about certain issues and challenges the school faces.”

Salazar explained that the challenges on the day Perez shadowed her were significant, which is not particularly unusual in the school that serves kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Many of the children come from low-income families, which can present difficulties for the students as well as their teachers.

For example, Perez joined administrators and the school leadership team to discuss how to help several students who were struggling; for those students, life situations had become “obstacles to learning,” Salazar said. “Noemi got to sit in and listen to the problem-solving” among administration, teachers and staff. “She was also with me when students talked to me about why they didn’t do their homework,” a measure taken to stress to students the importance of accountability, Salazar said. “And then later, she was in on discussions with the parents.”

“Everyone has a perception of what a principal’s day would be like,” Perez said, “but until you are able to see it firsthand, you may not fully appreciate the work they do. It is not an easy job, but you can see how rewarding it is and the impact a principal makes every day.”

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.

Emily and John Costigan enjoy visiting with mentees Luis Mendoza and Sherlanda Auguste

Emily and John Costigan enjoy visiting with mentees Luis Mendoza and Sherlanda Auguste

 
The Immokalee Foundation, which recently earned Take Stock in Children’s Gold Level of Excellence Award, is spotlighting National Mentoring Month in January to recruit additional adult mentors to help guide and advise students in the foundation’s Take Stock in Children scholarship program.

Students newly inducted into Take Stock in Children – mostly seventh and eighth graders – are partnered with a volunteer mentor who provides support, guidance, accountability and friendship. The students officially enter The Immokalee Foundation program during an induction ceremony at Ave Maria University in the spring. During the event, the students pledge to maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, exhibit good behavior, remain crime- and drug-free, and meet with their mentors once a week until they graduate from high school. In exchange, they each are awarded full-tuition scholarships to four-year state colleges, two-year community colleges, or vocational/technical schools, depending on their career paths.

A significant part of the Take Stock in Children students’ success is the mentoring component; through The Immokalee Foundation, more than 140 mentors share their time, talent and experience to encourage Immokalee students to excel in their studies – and in life.

As a result of the involvement of caring mentors, 100 percent of The Immokalee Foundation’s students in the Take Stock in Children program graduate from high school with an average 3.38 GPA.

“The job of the mentor is to provide advice, support and friendship to a young student,” said John Costigan, a foundation board member and mentor. His wife, Emily, also is a mentor. “We enjoy mentoring because it puts a face on the scholarship program and gives us a very personal connection to the important work of The Immokalee Foundation. We feel students benefit from a perspective they might not otherwise have, and we benefit from making a contribution to a very deserving student’s success.”

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.

 

Joyce Hagen, board chair for The Immokalee Foundation, and Executive Director Steven Kissinger congratulate Luis Vasquez, Mauricio Trejo, Ana Vega-Arreola and Ariana Ruiz at the 2016 Take Stock in Children Induction Ceremony

Joyce Hagen, board chair for The Immokalee Foundation, and Executive Director Steven Kissinger congratulate Luis Vasquez, Mauricio Trejo, Ana Vega-Arreola and Ariana Ruiz at the 2016 Take Stock in Children Induction Ceremony

The Immokalee Foundation, which recently earned Take Stock in Children’s Gold Level of Excellence Award, is spotlighting National Mentoring Month in January to recruit additional adult mentors to help guide and advise students in the foundation’s Take Stock in Children scholarship program.

Students newly inducted into Take Stock in Children – mostly seventh and eighth graders – are partnered with a volunteer mentor who provides support, guidance, accountability and friendship. The students officially enter The Immokalee Foundation program during an induction ceremony at Ave Maria University in the spring. During the event, the students pledge to maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, exhibit good behavior, remain crime- and drug-free, and meet with their mentors once a week until they graduate from high school. In exchange, they each are awarded full-tuition scholarships to four-year state colleges, two-year community colleges, or vocational/technical schools, depending on their career paths.

A significant part of the Take Stock in Children students’ success is the mentoring component; through The Immokalee Foundation, more than 140 mentors share their time, talent and experience to encourage Immokalee students to excel in their studies – and in life.

As a result of the involvement of caring mentors, 100 percent of The Immokalee Foundation’s students in the Take Stock in Children program graduate from high school with an average 3.38 GPA.

“The job of the mentor is to provide advice, support and friendship to a young student,” said John Costigan, a foundation board member and mentor. His wife, Emily, also is a mentor. “We enjoy mentoring because it puts a face on the scholarship program and gives us a very personal connection to the important work of The Immokalee Foundation. We feel students benefit from a perspective they might not otherwise have, and we benefit from making a contribution to a very deserving student’s success.”

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.

Emily and John Costigan enjoy visiting with mentees Luis Mendoza and Sherlanda Auguste

Emily and John Costigan enjoy visiting with mentees Luis Mendoza and Sherlanda Auguste

Joyce Hagen, board chair for The Immokalee Foundation, and Executive Director Steven Kissinger congratulate Luis Vasquez, Mauricio Trejo, Ana Vega-Arreola and Ariana Ruiz at the 2016 Take Stock in Children Induction Ceremony

Joyce Hagen, board chair for The Immokalee Foundation, and Executive Director Steven Kissinger congratulate Luis Vasquez, Mauricio Trejo, Ana Vega-Arreola and Ariana Ruiz at the 2016 Take Stock in Children Induction Ceremony

January 16, 2017

Mary Beth Geier, center, of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, presents a grant to The Immokalee Foundation’s Executive Director, Steven Kissinger, and Stewardship and Donor Relations Director Laura Krauth

Mary Beth Geier, center, of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, presents a grant to The Immokalee Foundation’s Executive Director, Steven Kissinger, and Stewardship and Donor Relations Director Laura Krauth

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has granted $100,000 to The Immokalee Foundation to support its Immokalee Readers and Career Development programs.
 
Immokalee Readers is an after-school program designed to target the lowest performing student readers and complement the reading instruction students receive during the regular school day. It matches high school-age tutors with elementary-age children to provide intensive and enjoyable reading lessons. The program currently involves approximately 545 students enrolled at all five elementary schools in Immokalee plus 110 high school students who are trained to be tutors. All of the elementary students make demonstrable gains in reading proficiency and test scores.
 
The Career Development program introduces students to choices for successful futures, whether in college, the military or vocational school. They also learn foundational skills, such as effective communication and networking, leadership techniques, and developing a positive work ethic.
 
Richard Schulze, the founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy Co Inc., came from a modest background in his home state of Minnesota; he built the company from the ground floor, expanding to six stores in 1983 and going public soon afterward. Today, Best Buy has more than 145,000 employees and operates more than 1,400 stores in the United States and 479 stores in Canada, China and Mexico.
 
The Schulze Family Foundation supports philanthropic efforts in Minnesota and Southwest Florida, where Schulze now resides.
 
“The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation is interested in students having access to high-quality education, which includes after-school tutoring and mentoring, as well as college and career development programs,” said Mary Beth Geier, Lee and Collier counties region coordinator for the foundation. “Fortunately for the community, The Immokalee Foundation provides all of that, and much more. Therefore, we are excited to partner with them, through this grant, so they can continue to offer outstanding programs to the students and families in Immokalee.”
 
Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, added, “This generous support from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation will help us provide meaningful programs and services that create pathways to success for the children of Immokalee. We are extremely grateful for the Schulze family’s commitment to our 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.

Mary Beth Geier, center, of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, presents a grant to The Immokalee Foundation’s Executive Director, Steven Kissinger, and Stewardship and Donor Relations Director Laura Krauth

Mary Beth Geier, center, of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, presents a grant to The Immokalee Foundation’s Executive Director, Steven Kissinger, and Stewardship and Donor Relations Director Laura Krauth

 

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has granted $100,000 to The Immokalee Foundation to support its Immokalee Readers and Career Development programs.

Immokalee Readers is an after-school program designed to target the lowest performing student readers and complement the reading instruction students receive during the regular school day. It matches high school-age tutors with elementary-age children to provide intensive and enjoyable reading lessons. The program currently involves approximately 545 students enrolled at all five elementary schools in Immokalee plus 110 high school students who are trained to be tutors. All of the elementary students make demonstrable gains in reading proficiency and test scores.

The Career Development program introduces students to choices for successful futures, whether in college, the military or vocational school. They also learn foundational skills, such as effective communication and networking, leadership techniques, and developing a positive work ethic.

Richard Schulze, the founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy Co Inc., came from a modest background in his home state of Minnesota; he built the company from the ground floor, expanding to six stores in 1983 and going public soon afterward. Today, Best Buy has more than 145,000 employees and operates more than 1,400 stores in the United States and 479 stores in Canada, China and Mexico.

The Schulze Family Foundation supports philanthropic efforts in Minnesota and Southwest Florida, where Schulze now resides.

“The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation is interested in students having access to high-quality education, which includes after-school tutoring and mentoring, as well as college and career development programs,” said Mary Beth Geier, Lee and Collier counties region coordinator for the foundation. “Fortunately for the community, The Immokalee Foundation provides all of that, and much more. Therefore, we are excited to partner with them, through this grant, so they can continue to offer outstanding programs to the students and families in Immokalee.”

Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, added, “This generous support from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation will help us provide meaningful programs and services that create pathways to success for the children of Immokalee. We are extremely grateful for the Schulze family’s commitment to our 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.

Leslie Gallegos, Vanessa Ortiz, Jose Munguia, Joyce Hagen, Mark Trejo, Irian Reyes, Bryan Reyes

Leslie Gallegos, Vanessa Ortiz, Jose Munguia, Joyce Hagen, Mark Trejo, Irian Reyes, Bryan Reyes

Continuing in its mission to provide educational opportunities for the youth of Immokalee, The Immokalee Foundation recently hosted pledge nights for students involved in Take Stock in Children.

Take Stock in Children is a scholarship and mentoring program that provides students with the promise of a four-year scholarship to a Florida state college, university or vocational school upon graduation, if they meet the program’s academic and character requirements.

On Sept. 29 at Immokalee Technical School, 32 high school seniors made or renewed their commitment to maintain good grades, stay out of trouble and volunteer in the community, meet with their mentors once a week, and attend the program’s required workshops and events. On Oct. 6, 104 students in eighth through 11th grades pledged or renewed pledges at Immokalee Middle School.

At both events, mentors and parents also took pledges to support the students in their efforts.

Pledge nights are always meaningful, said mentor Jane Beland. “You start off not knowing where you’re going as a mentor and then you fall in love with the idea of helping these kids follow their dreams,” she said. Beland was matched with Sandra Garcia nearly three years ago. Garcia looks to her for advice on how to keep commitments to The Immokalee Foundation, TSIC and other activities.

Recently, Garcia needed to take an ACT preparatory class and also devote time to her new position as captain of the Immokalee High School soccer team. Together, Beland and Garcia worked out a plan. “I’m in sports and clubs and don’t have a lot of time, so she helps keep me on track,” Garcia said. “It’s amazing.”

The relationships that develop between mentors and students and the students’ parents also are celebrated on pledge nights. Garcia’s family is Guatemalan; when she was in eighth grade, Garcia did all of the translating when her mother and Beland met. Three years later, each older woman has learned enough of the other’s language to have some conversation. On pledge night, they shared photos taken over the summer, when Garcia’s family visited Guatemala and Beland spent time with her own children. “It’s so special that we can share those things with one another,” Beland said.

The result is a support system built around each student and the principles to which they commit during pledge night.

Beland meets with Garcia and a newer mentee, Shirley Vilsaint, once a week. “Not many kids in Immokalee grow up knowing that there’s someone besides their family members who want them to succeed in life,” Vilsaint said. “It’s nice to realize that other people – not connected by blood – care, too. Pledge night did exactly that. It showed me the numerous amounts of people who are on my side and dedicated to giving me a good life.”

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.

Shirley Vilsaint, Jane Beland

Shirley Vilsaint, Jane Beland

Thomas Ramsey, TIF mentor talking the pledge

Thomas Ramsey, TIF mentor talking the pledge

Mario Rojas, Yuridia Rojas

Mario Rojas, Yuridia Rojas

Juana Lopez, Sandra Garcia, Jane Beland

Juana Lopez, Sandra Garcia, Jane Beland

Jennifer Flores and Yeimi Castaneda

Jennifer Flores and Yeimi Castaneda

Elida Arreguin, Fabian Arreguin, Refugio Arreguin

Elida Arreguin, Fabian Arreguin, Refugio Arreguin

Leslie Gallegos, Vanessa Ortiz, Jose Munguia, Joyce Hagen, Mark Trejo, Irian Reyes, Bryan Reyes

Leslie Gallegos, Vanessa Ortiz, Jose Munguia, Joyce Hagen, Mark Trejo, Irian Reyes, Bryan Reyes

Continuing in its mission to provide educational opportunities for the youth of Immokalee, The Immokalee Foundation recently hosted pledge nights for students involved in Take Stock in Children.

Take Stock in Children is a scholarship and mentoring program that provides students with the promise of a four-year scholarship to a Florida state college, university or vocational school upon graduation, if they meet the program’s academic and character requirements.

On Sept. 29 at Immokalee Technical School, 32 high school seniors made or renewed their commitment to maintain good grades, stay out of trouble and volunteer in the community, meet with their mentors once a week, and attend the program’s required workshops and events. On Oct. 6, 104 students in eighth through 11th grades pledged or renewed pledges at Immokalee Middle School.

At both events, mentors and parents also took pledges to support the students in their efforts.

Pledge nights are always meaningful, said mentor Jane Beland. “You start off not knowing where you’re going as a mentor and then you fall in love with the idea of helping these kids follow their dreams,” she said. Beland was matched with Sandra Garcia nearly three years ago. Garcia looks to her for advice on how to keep commitments to The Immokalee Foundation, TSIC and other activities.

Recently, Garcia needed to take an ACT preparatory class and also devote time to her new position as captain of the Immokalee High School soccer team. Together, Beland and Garcia worked out a plan. “I’m in sports and clubs and don’t have a lot of time, so she helps keep me on track,” Garcia said. “It’s amazing.”

The relationships that develop between mentors and students and the students’ parents also are celebrated on pledge nights. Garcia’s family is Guatemalan; when she was in eighth grade, Garcia did all of the translating when her mother and Beland met. Three years later, each older woman has learned enough of the other’s language to have some conversation. On pledge night, they shared photos taken over the summer, when Garcia’s family visited Guatemala and Beland spent time with her own children. “It’s so special that we can share those things with one another,” Beland said.

The result is a support system built around each student and the principles to which they commit during pledge night.

Beland meets with Garcia and a newer mentee, Shirley Vilsaint, once a week. “Not many kids in Immokalee grow up knowing that there’s someone besides their family members who want them to succeed in life,” Vilsaint said. “It’s nice to realize that other people – not connected by blood – care, too. Pledge night did exactly that. It showed me the numerous amounts of people who are on my side and dedicated to giving me a good life.”

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.

Shirley Vilsaint, Jane Beland

Shirley Vilsaint, Jane Beland

Thomas Ramsey, TIF mentor talking the pledge

Thomas Ramsey, TIF mentor talking the pledge

Mario Rojas, Yuridia Rojas

Mario Rojas, Yuridia Rojas

Juana Lopez, Sandra Garcia, Jane Beland

Juana Lopez, Sandra Garcia, Jane Beland

Jennifer Flores and Yeimi Castaneda

Jennifer Flores and Yeimi Castaneda

Elida Arreguin, Fabian Arreguin, Refugio Arreguin

Elida Arreguin, Fabian Arreguin, Refugio Arreguin

Luis Cartagena with Chedeline Frederick at TIF’s 2016 graduation ceremony

Luis Cartagena with Chedeline Frederick at TIF’s 2016 graduation ceremony

For the second consecutive year, Florida Community Bank is the presenting sponsor for The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, taking place Friday, Nov. 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
 
Committed to supporting the communities in which the company and its associates live and serve, Florida Community Bank’s company philanthropy is focused on investing in local youth by providing mentorship, volunteer efforts, and event sponsorships.
 
“Florida Community Bank is dedicated to supporting our future generations,” said Kent S. Ellert, Florida Community Bank president and CEO. “We believe actions speak louder than words, and we have made a substantial financial commitment to help The Immokalee Foundation achieve their mission of providing local children with a bright future. At Florida Community Bank, we believe every child deserves the opportunity to be successful, and we are honored to partner with this life-changing organization.”
 
Luis Cartagena, a member of The Immokalee Foundation board of directors and a vice president and Immokalee branch manager for Florida Community Bank, added, “Continuing our support of The Immokalee Foundation helps students – and they are the future leaders of our community. Providing educational opportunities and opening doors to support their dreams is a win-win for everyone involved.”
 
The Immokalee Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary, with long-time supporters teaming up to chair the Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am events for the silver anniversary.
 
Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, serves as honorary chair of the Charity Classic Celebration. Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are chairing the event, which is the foundation’s biggest and most important fundraising gala of the year. Board member Kevin Johnson is organizing the Nov. 14 Pro-Am golf tournament for the fifth consecutive year with Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of The Immokalee Foundation’s Pro-Am founders.
 
The Charity Classic Celebration, an evening of fine dining and entertainment, begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $550 per guest.
 
Attendees can support the youth of Immokalee during Fund A DreamTM, a unique live bidding experience enabling donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways by supporting programs that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn and advance. Fund A Dream auction categories include college funding and vocational scholarships, reading support and intervention, and college success and experiences. Benefactors also may provide support to build leadership and life skills, fund studying abroad programs, provide access to arts and technology, and foster youth leadership.
 
The Immokalee Foundation’s Charity Classic Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples features more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – with Naples’ most philanthropic players. Each foursome will be matched with a different professional player for the first and second nine holes during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Sunday, Nov. 13.
 
The Charity Classic Pro-Am begins Monday morning with registration, breakfast and a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Lunch and an awards presentation follow the tournament. Entry fees for the scramble-style tournament begin at $5,000 per entrant and include two tickets to the 2016 Charity Classic Celebration.
 
Additional event sponsors are Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation, and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.
 
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, its signature events, 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.

Luis Cartagena (center) with Gerardo Lugo, Cesar Galvan, Heather Martinez and Jesse Soto at TIF’s 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am

Luis Cartagena (center) with Gerardo Lugo, Cesar Galvan, Heather Martinez
and Jesse Soto at TIF’s 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am

For the second consecutive year, Florida Community Bank is the presenting sponsor for The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, taking place Friday, Nov. 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Committed to supporting the communities in which the company and its associates live and serve, Florida Community Bank’s company philanthropy is focused on investing in local youth by providing mentorship, volunteer efforts, and event sponsorships.

“Florida Community Bank is dedicated to supporting our future generations,” said Kent S. Ellert, Florida Community Bank president and CEO. “We believe actions speak louder than words, and we have made a substantial financial commitment to help The Immokalee Foundation achieve their mission of providing local children with a bright future. At Florida Community Bank, we believe every child deserves the opportunity to be successful, and we are honored to partner with this life-changing organization.”

Luis Cartagena, a member of The Immokalee Foundation board of directors and a vice president and Immokalee branch manager for Florida Community Bank, added, “Continuing our support of The Immokalee Foundation helps students – and they are the future leaders of our community. Providing educational opportunities and opening doors to support their dreams is a win-win for everyone involved.”

The Immokalee Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary, with long-time supporters teaming up to chair the Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am events for the silver anniversary.

Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, serves as honorary chair of the Charity Classic Celebration. Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are chairing the event, which is the foundation’s biggest and most important fundraising gala of the year. Board member Kevin Johnson is organizing the Nov. 14 Pro-Am golf tournament for the fifth consecutive year with Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of The Immokalee Foundation’s Pro-Am founders.

The Charity Classic Celebration, an evening of fine dining and entertainment, begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $550 per guest.

Attendees can support the youth of Immokalee during Fund A DreamTM, a unique live bidding experience enabling donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways by supporting programs that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn and advance. Fund A Dream auction categories include college funding and vocational scholarships, reading support and intervention, and college success and experiences. Benefactors also may provide support to build leadership and life skills, fund studying abroad programs, provide access to arts and technology, and foster youth leadership.

The Immokalee Foundation’s Charity Classic Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples features more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – with Naples’ most philanthropic players. Each foursome will be matched with a different professional player for the first and second nine holes during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Sunday, Nov. 13.

The Charity Classic Pro-Am begins Monday morning with registration, breakfast and a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Lunch and an awards presentation follow the tournament. Entry fees for the scramble-style tournament begin at $5,000 per entrant and include two tickets to the 2016 Charity Classic Celebration.

Additional event sponsors are Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation, and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, 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.

Luis Cartagena with Chedeline Frederick at TIF’s 2016 graduation ceremony

Luis Cartagena with Chedeline Frederick at TIF’s 2016 graduation ceremony

 

Luis Cartagena (center) with Gerardo Lugo, Cesar Galvan, Heather Martinez and Jesse Soto at TIF’s 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am

Luis Cartagena (center) with Gerardo Lugo, Cesar Galvan, Heather Martinez
and Jesse Soto at TIF’s 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am

Steven Kissinger, TIF Executive Director, and Noemi Perez, TIF Program Services Director, accept Dollar General $4,000 grant to support The Immokalee Foundation programs

Steven Kissinger, TIF Executive Director, and Noemi Perez, TIF Program Services Director,
accept Dollar General $4,000 grant to support The Immokalee Foundation programs

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded The Immokalee Foundation a $4,000 grant to support youth literacy.

“This is a great opportunity to provide services for students in our Immokalee Readers program,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “The after-school program serves more than 500 children in five elementary schools who are struggling with critical reading and language skills by pairing them with high school tutors. This grant will enable us to serve even more students in need.”

The local grant is part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to approximately 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves. Given at the beginning of the academic school year, these grants are aimed at supporting teachers, schools and organizations with resources to strengthen and enhance literacy instruction.

“By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year for students.”

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.

Steven Kissinger, TIF Executive Director, and Noemi Perez, TIF Program Services Director, accept Dollar General $4,000 grant to support The Immokalee Foundation programs

Steven Kissinger, TIF Executive Director, and Noemi Perez, TIF Program Services Director,
accept Dollar General $4,000 grant to support The Immokalee Foundation programs

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded The Immokalee Foundation a $4,000 grant to support youth literacy.
 
“This is a great opportunity to provide services for students in our Immokalee Readers program,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “The after-school program serves more than 500 children in five elementary schools who are struggling with critical reading and language skills by pairing them with high school tutors. This grant will enable us to serve even more students in need.”
 
The local grant is part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to approximately 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves. Given at the beginning of the academic school year, these grants are aimed at supporting teachers, schools and organizations with resources to strengthen and enhance literacy instruction.
 
“By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year for students.”
 
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

Laura Krauth

Laura Krauth

Laura Krauth, The Immokalee Foundation’s stewardship and donor relations director, has been selected as a member of Leadership Collier’s Class of 2017 by the Leadership Collier Foundation, an affiliate of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.

Krauth is responsible for identifying new donors and maintaining relationships with philanthropists who support the nonprofit’s educational programs that benefit Immokalee students.

With more than 10 years of experience in the nonprofit and finance sectors, Krauth is experienced in development, community outreach and alumni relations. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from American University’s School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina.

Leadership Collier was formed by the chamber in 1988 to develop a network of informed citizens prepared to assume leadership roles in our community. The chamber believes knowledge is a key element and prime motivator of leadership. Consequently, the primary objective of Leadership Collier is to educate local business leaders about the societal and economic challenges facing the community today.

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.

Laura Krauth

Laura Krauth

Laura Krauth, The Immokalee Foundation’s stewardship and donor relations director, has been selected as a member of Leadership Collier’s Class of 2017 by the Leadership Collier Foundation, an affiliate of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.
 
Krauth is responsible for identifying new donors and maintaining relationships with philanthropists who support the nonprofit’s educational programs that benefit Immokalee students.
 
With more than 10 years of experience in the nonprofit and finance sectors, Krauth is experienced in development, community outreach and alumni relations. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from American University’s School of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina.
 
Leadership Collier was formed by the chamber in 1988 to develop a network of informed citizens prepared to assume leadership roles in our community. The chamber believes knowledge is a key element and prime motivator of leadership. Consequently, the primary objective of Leadership Collier is to educate local business leaders about the societal and economic challenges facing the community today.
 
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.

While many programs of The Immokalee Foundation focus on helping students inside the classroom, the organization’s board members and staff understand that not all learning experiences take place at a desk.

For several years, The Immokalee Foundation has provided students the chance to attend Kingsley Pines summer camp in Raymond, Maine – an experience that young people like Angel Mateo describe as “life-changing.”

Mateo was one of the seven high school students awarded a scholarship to attend Kingsley Pines this past summer. Like other foundation programs, campers were chosen based on grades, involvement and accountability.

“I did so many first-time things at camp,” Mateo said. More than 30 activities are offered, including archery, windsurfing, crafts, basketball, tennis, rock climbing, canoeing, water sports, ceramics, photography and yoga. “I sailed for the first time – and it was my first time on a boat,” Mateo said. “I climbed my first mountain – it was something I’ll never forget.” Mateo saw the world from a mountaintop during those weeks, and also through the eyes of new friends who came from across the country as well as France, Germany and Spain.

Mauricio Lopez Trejo attended camp during the summer of 2015, and based on that experience, was one of a very select group invited to return the following summer for Kingsley Pines’ Teen Leadership Program, intended to help students develop skills in judgment, self-awareness, teaching and accountability. To ready the students for adulthood, the Teen Leadership Program fosters their independence and self-reliance during a camping outing for a week in Arcadia National Park.

“It was very exciting and beautiful,” Trejo said. For that week and the two that followed – filled with service learning projects and leadership opportunities – all of the Kingsley Pines students put away their cellular devices and made friends. “It’s funny, after two days, you just about forget you even had a phone,” Trejo said.

“Leadership Experiences and Life Skills” is one of the Fund A Dream™ auction categories at the Nov. 11 Charity Classic Celebration at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The evening of fine dining and entertainment begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $550 per guest.

Due to the generosity of the event’s patrons, students like Mateo and Trejo experience the world in meaningful ways, such as attending Kingsley Pines.

Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, is honorary chair of the Charity Classic Celebration. Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are co-chairing the foundation’s most important fundraising gala of the year, while board member Kevin Johnson is organizing the Nov. 14 golf tournament for the fifth consecutive year with Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of The Immokalee Foundation’s Pro-Am founders.

This year’s theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee,” highlights the successes of Immokalee students through the combined support of the nonprofit’s benefactors, board members, corporate sponsors, mentors, community partners, instructors and volunteers.

The Immokalee Foundation’s Charity Classic Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples matches more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – with Naples’ most philanthropic players during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Nov. 13. Each foursome is joined by a different professional player for the first and second nine holes. The scramble-style tournament is $5,000 per entrant and includes two tickets for the Charity Classic Celebration.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation, and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, 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.

 

Angel Mateo

Angel Mateo

Mauricio Trejo

Mauricio Trejo

Daniel Trejo-Garcia

Daniel Trejo-Garcia

Dulce Chavarria Gutierrez

Dulce Chavarria Gutierrez

Joel Guerrero

Joel Guerrero

Diego Garcia

Diego Garcia

While many programs of The Immokalee Foundation focus on helping students inside the classroom, the organization’s board members and staff understand that not all learning experiences take place at a desk.

For several years, The Immokalee Foundation has provided students the chance to attend Kingsley Pines summer camp in Raymond, Maine – an experience that young people like Angel Mateo describe as “life-changing.”

Mateo was one of the seven high school students awarded a scholarship to attend Kingsley Pines this past summer. Like other foundation programs, campers were chosen based on grades, involvement and accountability.

“I did so many first-time things at camp,” Mateo said. More than 30 activities are offered, including archery, windsurfing, crafts, basketball, tennis, rock climbing, canoeing, water sports, ceramics, photography and yoga. “I sailed for the first time – and it was my first time on a boat,” Mateo said. “I climbed my first mountain – it was something I’ll never forget.” Mateo saw the world from a mountaintop during those weeks, and also through the eyes of new friends who came from across the country as well as France, Germany and Spain.

Mauricio Lopez Trejo attended camp during the summer of 2015, and based on that experience, was one of a very select group invited to return the following summer for Kingsley Pines’ Teen Leadership Program, intended to help students develop skills in judgment, self-awareness, teaching and accountability. To ready the students for adulthood, the Teen Leadership Program fosters their independence and self-reliance during a camping outing for a week in Arcadia National Park.

“It was very exciting and beautiful,” Trejo said. For that week and the two that followed – filled with service learning projects and leadership opportunities – all of the Kingsley Pines students put away their cellular devices and made friends. “It’s funny, after two days, you just about forget you even had a phone,” Trejo said.

“Leadership Experiences and Life Skills” is one of the Fund A Dream™ auction categories at the Nov. 11 Charity Classic Celebration at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The evening of fine dining and entertainment begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $550 per guest.

Due to the generosity of the event’s patrons, students like Mateo and Trejo experience the world in meaningful ways, such as attending Kingsley Pines.

Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, is honorary chair of the Charity Classic Celebration. Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are co-chairing the foundation’s most important fundraising gala of the year, while board member Kevin Johnson is organizing the Nov. 14 golf tournament for the fifth consecutive year with Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of The Immokalee Foundation’s Pro-Am founders.

This year’s theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee,” highlights the successes of Immokalee students through the combined support of the nonprofit’s benefactors, board members, corporate sponsors, mentors, community partners, instructors and volunteers.

The Immokalee Foundation’s Charity Classic Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples matches more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – with Naples’ most philanthropic players during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Nov. 13. Each foursome is joined by a different professional player for the first and second nine holes. The scramble-style tournament is $5,000 per entrant and includes two tickets for the Charity Classic Celebration.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation, and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, 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.

Angel Mateo

Angel Mateo

Mauricio Trejo

Mauricio Trejo

Daniel Trejo-Garcia

Daniel Trejo-Garcia

Dulce Chavarria Gutierrez

Dulce Chavarria Gutierrez

Joel Guerrero

Joel Guerrero

Diego Garcia

Diego Garcia

Thomas DiBernardo and Ana Maria Senica, representing MidWestOne Bank, with Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation

Thomas DiBernardo and Ana Maria Senica, representing MidWestOne Bank, with Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation

MidWestOne Bank has donated $10,000 to support The Immokalee Foundation’s students and educational programs.

“This very generous donation from MidWestOne Bank will help us empower and educate students in Immokalee to help them achieve academic excellence,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “Their partnership will help us continue our efforts to create pathways to success for Immokalee’s youth.”

“We chose to support The Immokalee Foundation and their mission to improve the lives of local students because of their incredible work,” said Thomas DiBernardo, MidWestOne Bank’s vice president of commercial banking. “Being a good community steward ensures our future leaders have the right skills for success.”

MidWestOne Financial Group Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, with branches in Naples and Fort Myers.

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.

Thomas DiBernardo and Ana Maria Senica, representing MidWestOne Bank, with Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation

Thomas DiBernardo and Ana Maria Senica, representing MidWestOne Bank, with Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation

MidWestOne Bank has donated $10,000 to support The Immokalee Foundation’s students and educational programs.
 
“This very generous donation from MidWestOne Bank will help us empower and educate students in Immokalee to help them achieve academic excellence,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “Their partnership will help us continue our efforts to create pathways to success for Immokalee’s youth.”
 
“We chose to support The Immokalee Foundation and their mission to improve the lives of local students because of their incredible work,” said Thomas DiBernardo, MidWestOne Bank’s vice president of commercial banking. “Being a good community steward ensures our future leaders have the right skills for success.”
 
MidWestOne Financial Group Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, with branches in Naples and Fort Myers.
 
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 students at 2015 Charity Classic Celebration

TIF students at 2015 Charity Classic Celebration

Long-time supporters of The Immokalee Foundation have teamed up to chair the Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am events during the foundation’s silver anniversary year.

Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, will serve as honorary chair of the Charity Classic Celebration on Nov. 11. Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are coordinating the foundation’s biggest and most important fundraising gala of the year, while board member Kevin Johnson is organizing the Nov. 14 golf tournament for the fifth consecutive year with Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of The Immokalee Foundation’s Pro-Am founders.

This year’s theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee,” highlights the successes of Immokalee students through the combined support of the nonprofit’s benefactors, board members, corporate sponsors, mentors, community partners, instructors and volunteers.

The Charity Classic Celebration, an evening of fine dining and entertainment, takes place at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $550 per guest.

Attendees can support the youth of Immokalee during Fund A DreamTM, a unique live bidding experience enabling donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways by supporting programs that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn and advance. Fund A Dream auction categories include college funding and vocational scholarships, reading support and intervention, and college success and experiences. Benefactors also may provide support to build leadership and life skills, fund studying abroad programs, provide access to arts and technology, and foster youth leadership.

The Immokalee Foundation’s Charity Classic Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples matches more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – with Naples’ most philanthropic players during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Nov. 13. Each foursome is joined by a different professional player for the first and second nine holes. The scramble-style tournament is $5,000 per entrant and includes two tickets for the Charity Classic Celebration.

The Charity Classic Pro-Am begins Monday morning with registration, breakfast and a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Lunch and an awards presentation follow the tournament. Entry fees begin at $5,000. All Pro-Am golfers will receive two tickets to the 2016 Charity Classic Celebration.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, 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.

2016 Event Chairs Mac McDonald, Don O’Neill and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer with Louise Penta, TSIC Florida’s Mentor of the Year for 2015

2016 Event Chairs Mac McDonald, Don O’Neill and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer with Louise Penta, TSIC Florida’s Mentor of the Year for 2015

TIF Board Chair Joyce Hagen with husband, Don Fites, TIF board member. The couple graciously supports TIF as Fund A Dream Matching Gift Angels

TIF Board Chair Joyce Hagen with husband, Don Fites, TIF board member. The couple graciously supports TIF as Fund A Dream Matching Gift Angels

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - JULY 31: Jimmy Walker of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 31, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – JULY 31: Jimmy Walker of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 31, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson

TIF students at 2015 Charity Classic Celebration

TIF students at 2015 Charity Classic Celebration

Long-time supporters of The Immokalee Foundation have teamed up to chair the Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am events during the foundation’s silver anniversary year.

Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, will serve as honorary chair of the Charity Classic Celebration on Nov. 11. Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are coordinating the foundation’s biggest and most important fundraising gala of the year, while board member Kevin Johnson is organizing the Nov. 14 golf tournament for the fifth consecutive year with Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of The Immokalee Foundation’s Pro-Am founders.

This year’s theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee,” highlights the successes of Immokalee students through the combined support of the nonprofit’s benefactors, board members, corporate sponsors, mentors, community partners, instructors and volunteers.

The Charity Classic Celebration, an evening of fine dining and entertainment, takes place at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $550 per guest.

Attendees can support the youth of Immokalee during Fund A DreamTM, a unique live bidding experience enabling donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways by supporting programs that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn and advance. Fund A Dream auction categories include college funding and vocational scholarships, reading support and intervention, and college success and experiences. Benefactors also may provide support to build leadership and life skills, fund studying abroad programs, provide access to arts and technology, and foster youth leadership.

The Immokalee Foundation’s Charity Classic Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples matches more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – with Naples’ most philanthropic players during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Nov. 13. Each foursome is joined by a different professional player for the first and second nine holes. The scramble-style tournament is $5,000 per entrant and includes two tickets for the Charity Classic Celebration.

The Charity Classic Pro-Am begins Monday morning with registration, breakfast and a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Lunch and an awards presentation follow the tournament. Entry fees begin at $5,000. All Pro-Am golfers will receive two tickets to the 2016 Charity Classic Celebration.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, 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.

 

2016 Event Chairs Mac McDonald, Don O’Neill and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer with Louise Penta, TSIC Florida’s Mentor of the Year for 2015

2016 Event Chairs Mac McDonald, Don O’Neill and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer with Louise Penta, TSIC Florida’s Mentor of the Year for 2015

TIF Board Chair Joyce Hagen with husband, Don Fites, TIF board member. The couple graciously supports TIF as Fund A Dream Matching Gift Angels

TIF Board Chair Joyce Hagen with husband, Don Fites, TIF board member. The couple graciously supports TIF as Fund A Dream Matching Gift Angels

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - JULY 31: Jimmy Walker of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 31, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – JULY 31: Jimmy Walker of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 31, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - JULY 31: Jimmy Walker of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 31, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – JULY 31: Jimmy Walker of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 31, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

 

Commitments are secured from nearly two dozen professional golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – to join foursomes of philanthropic amateur players from Southwest Florida when The Immokalee Foundation’s annual Charity Classic Pro-Am tees up this fall to benefit local youth.

Board member Kevin Johnson is tournament chairman for the fifth consecutive year, organizing the tournament with professional golfer Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of the nonprofit’s Pro-Am founders. The scramble-style competition will be held Monday, Nov. 14, at Bay Colony Golf Club, Naples. Each amateur foursome will be paired with a different professional player for the first and second nine holes during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Nov. 13.

The 10th annual tournament is attracting stellar talent. “This year will almost certainly be the best as far as the pros go,” Johnson said, adding the golfers are some of the biggest names on the PGA and LPGA tours. “Jimmy Walker just won the 2016 PGA Championship, and Lexi Thompson just returned from representing the United States at the 2016 Olympics. It’s a great field of generous professionals.”

Walker, who just won the 2016 PGA Championship, is a five-time winner and currently ranked 15th in the world and 14th in the FedEx Cup rankings.

Thompson has seven LPGA victories as the number 4-ranked player in the world, with 42 top-10 finishes. The 2012 Rookie of the Year also won the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship and tied for third in Round 3 of the Women’s Individual competition at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The roster of who’s who on the links includes many who were born in – or later adopted – Florida as home: Shaun Micheel, Bobby Clampett, George McNeill, Chris DiMarco, Briny Baird, Lexi Thompson, Casey Kennedy and Michelle McGann, as well as Dudley Hart, who joined the PGA tour straight from the University of Florida and now lives in Naples.

Ryder Cup players include Walker and DiMarco, who is also a Presidents Cup player.

Thompson, 21 from Coral Springs, will be the youngest pro in the tournament, followed by Kennedy of Venice, 24. McGann, of West Palm Beach, a seven-time LPGA winner who has been a professional for 27 years, is topped in LPGA longevity among the women only by Kris Tschetter, a 28-year pro.

The Charity Classic Pro-Am begins Monday morning with registration, breakfast and a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Lunch and an awards presentation follow the tournament. Bay Colony Golf Club is located at 9740 Bent Grass Bend in Naples.

Entry fees begin at $5,000. All Pro-Am golfers will receive two tickets to the 2016 Charity Classic Celebration, which takes place Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are coordinating the dinner and auction. The Immokalee Foundation’s 25th anniversary event theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee,” highlights the successes of the nonprofit’s programs and students through the support of the community.

Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, will serve as honorary chair for this year’s milestone event.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, volunteering as 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.

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson

 

TIF student team at 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am – Gerardo Lugo, Cesar Galvan, Mark Lye (golf pro), Heather Martinez, Jesse Soto

TIF student team at 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am – Gerardo Lugo, Cesar Galvan, Mark Lye (golf pro), Heather Martinez, Jesse Soto

 

Joyce Hagen, Kevin Johnson, Louise Penta at TIF’s 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am

Joyce Hagen, Kevin Johnson, Louise Penta at TIF’s 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am

 

Sarah Jane Smith at TIF's 2015 CCPA

Sarah Jane Smith at TIF’s 2015 CCPA

 

Bobby Clampett and Kris Tschetter at TIF's 2015 CCPA

Bobby Clampett and Kris Tschetter at TIF’s 2015 CCPA

 

Hal Cohen, Kevin Powderly, Charlie Rymer (pro), Will Bobb and Rick Cathcart at TIF's 2015 CCPA

Hal Cohen, Kevin Powderly, Charlie Rymer (pro), Will Bobb and Rick Cathcart at TIF’s 2015 CCPA

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - JULY 31: Jimmy Walker of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 31, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – JULY 31: Jimmy Walker of the United States celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 31, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Commitments are secured from nearly two dozen professional golfers – including 2016 PGA Champion Jimmy Walker and LPGA Major winner and 2016 Olympian Lexi Thompson – to join foursomes of philanthropic amateur players from Southwest Florida when The Immokalee Foundation’s annual Charity Classic Pro-Am tees up this fall to benefit local youth.

Board member Kevin Johnson is tournament chairman for the fifth consecutive year, organizing the tournament with professional golfer Mark Lye, a Golf Channel analyst who is one of the nonprofit’s Pro-Am founders. The scramble-style competition will be held Monday, Nov. 14, at Bay Colony Golf Club, Naples. Each amateur foursome will be paired with a different professional player for the first and second nine holes during an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Nov. 13.

The 10th annual tournament is attracting stellar talent. “This year will almost certainly be the best as far as the pros go,” Johnson said, adding the golfers are some of the biggest names on the PGA and LPGA tours. “Jimmy Walker just won the 2016 PGA Championship, and Lexi Thompson just returned from representing the United States at the 2016 Olympics. It’s a great field of generous professionals.”

Walker, who just won the 2016 PGA Championship, is a five-time winner and currently ranked 15th in the world and 14th in the FedEx Cup rankings.

Thompson has seven LPGA victories as the number 4-ranked player in the world, with 42 top-10 finishes. The 2012 Rookie of the Year also won the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship and tied for third in Round 3 of the Women’s Individual competition at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The roster of who’s who on the links includes many who were born in – or later adopted – Florida as home: Shaun Micheel, Bobby Clampett, George McNeill, Chris DiMarco, Briny Baird, Lexi Thompson, Casey Kennedy and Michelle McGann, as well as Dudley Hart, who joined the PGA tour straight from the University of Florida and now lives in Naples.

Ryder Cup players include Walker and DiMarco, who is also a Presidents Cup player.

Thompson, 21 from Coral Springs, will be the youngest pro in the tournament, followed by Kennedy of Venice, 24. McGann, of West Palm Beach, a seven-time LPGA winner who has been a professional for 27 years, is topped in LPGA longevity among the women only by Kris Tschetter, a 28-year pro.

The Charity Classic Pro-Am begins Monday morning with registration, breakfast and a shotgun start at 9 a.m. Lunch and an awards presentation follow the tournament. Bay Colony Golf Club is located at 9740 Bent Grass Bend in Naples.

Entry fees begin at $5,000. All Pro-Am golfers will receive two tickets to the 2016 Charity Classic Celebration, which takes place Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are coordinating the dinner and auction. The Immokalee Foundation’s 25th anniversary event theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee,” highlights the successes of the nonprofit’s programs and students through the support of the community.

Parker Collier, who joined with other community leaders to found The Immokalee Foundation in 1991, will serve as honorary chair for this year’s milestone event.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Hertz Global Holdings, Fifth Third Bank, Mercedes-Benz of Naples, MidwestOne Bank, Progress Rail – A Caterpillar Corporation and Sabadell Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; Northern Trust, Table sponsor; and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Pairings Party sponsor.

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, its signature events, volunteering as 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.

Lexi Thompson

Lexi Thompson

TIF student team at 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am – Gerardo Lugo, Cesar Galvan, Mark Lye (golf pro), Heather Martinez, Jesse Soto

TIF student team at 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am – Gerardo Lugo, Cesar Galvan, Mark Lye (golf pro), Heather Martinez, Jesse Soto

Joyce Hagen, Kevin Johnson, Louise Penta at TIF’s 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am

Joyce Hagen, Kevin Johnson, Louise Penta at TIF’s 2015 Charity Classic Pro-Am

Hal Cohen, Kevin Powderly, Charlie Rymer (pro), Will Bobb and Rick Cathcart at TIF's 2015 CCPA

Hal Cohen, Kevin Powderly, Charlie Rymer (pro), Will Bobb and Rick Cathcart at TIF’s 2015 CCPA

Bobby Clampett and Kris Tschetter at TIF's 2015 CCPA

Bobby Clampett and Kris Tschetter at TIF’s 2015 CCPA

Sarah Jane Smith at TIF's 2015 CCPA

Sarah Jane Smith at TIF’s 2015 CCPA

An Immokalee High School senior and a longtime supporter of The Immokalee Foundation have been honored by the Everglades Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Daniel Gonzalez-Vasquez, named 2016 Outstanding Philanthropic Youth, was honored for giving generously of his time to help others. Celebrated for being a passionate leader in fundraising, Don O’Neill was named the chapter’s 2016 Distinguished Volunteer.

Gonzalez-Vasquez, who is actively involved in The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program, is a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Immokalee, where he contributes in a variety of ways. For several years, he served as a catechist, teaching future members what it means to be a practicing Catholic. In the summer, he spends full days working for the church’s social services program, handing out food and clothing and meeting other needs for local families. The church is within walking distance of Immokalee High School and the foundation’s office, so several times a week, Gonzalez-Vasquez goes directly from school to the foundation to church and then home. During his first three years of high school, Gonzalez-Vasquez logged hundreds of hours in volunteer time.

“This is a small community, and people have a lot of financial problems, so I’m happy I can help,” Gonzalez-Vasquez said. “Volunteering makes a difference. By extending my hand, I can offer help to others.”

“We are very proud of Daniel and excited that he is receiving such a tremendous honor,” said Noemi Perez, The Immokalee Foundation’s program services director. “He is certainly a great example for our students and the community. We are always encouraging our students to give back to the community in any way possible.”

Students like Gonzalez-Vasquez benefit from outstanding philanthropic role models at The Immokalee Foundation, including Don O’Neill.

O’Neill’s strategic planning helped launch the nonprofit 25 years ago; today, he remains a driving force. O’Neill was one of the organizers of the inaugural Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament – now in its tenth year – and hosted the first major gala fundraiser, the Charity Classic Celebration. He is a board member and has served as a Take Stock in Children mentor. When praised for his work, O’Neill invariably credits others, yet his particular dedication and vision continue to benefit foundation students and programs.

The Everglades Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will honor Gonzalez-Vasquez and O’Neill at a National Philanthropy Day celebration on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, at Hodges University in Naples.

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.

Daniel Gonzalez-Vasquez

Daniel Gonzalez-Vasquez

 

Don O’Neill with his mentee Gerardo Lugo

Don O’Neill with his mentee Gerardo Lugo

An Immokalee High School senior and a longtime supporter of The Immokalee Foundation have been honored by the Everglades Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
 
Daniel Gonzalez-Vasquez, named 2016 Outstanding Philanthropic Youth, was honored for giving generously of his time to help others. Celebrated for being a passionate leader in fundraising, Don O’Neill was named the chapter’s 2016 Distinguished Volunteer.
 
Gonzalez-Vasquez, who is actively involved in The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program, is a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Immokalee, where he contributes in a variety of ways. For several years, he served as a catechist, teaching future members what it means to be a practicing Catholic. In the summer, he spends full days working for the church’s social services program, handing out food and clothing and meeting other needs for local families. The church is within walking distance of Immokalee High School and the foundation’s office, so several times a week, Gonzalez-Vasquez goes directly from school to the foundation to church and then home. During his first three years of high school, Gonzalez-Vasquez logged hundreds of hours in volunteer time.
 
“This is a small community, and people have a lot of financial problems, so I’m happy I can help,” Gonzalez-Vasquez said. “Volunteering makes a difference. By extending my hand, I can offer help to others.”
 
“We are very proud of Daniel and excited that he is receiving such a tremendous honor,” said Noemi Perez, The Immokalee Foundation’s program services director. “He is certainly a great example for our students and the community. We are always encouraging our students to give back to the community in any way possible.”
 
Students like Gonzalez-Vasquez benefit from outstanding philanthropic role models at The Immokalee Foundation, including Don O’Neill.
 
O’Neill’s strategic planning helped launch the nonprofit 25 years ago; today, he remains a driving force. O’Neill was one of the organizers of the inaugural Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament – now in its tenth year – and hosted the first major gala fundraiser, the Charity Classic Celebration. He is a board member and has served as a Take Stock in Children mentor. When praised for his work, O’Neill invariably credits others, yet his particular dedication and vision continue to benefit foundation students and programs.
 
The Everglades Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will honor Gonzalez-Vasquez and O’Neill at a National Philanthropy Day celebration on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, at Hodges University in Naples.
 
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.

Daniel Gonzalez-Vasquez

Daniel Gonzalez-Vasquez

 

Don O’Neill with his mentee Gerardo Lugo

Don O’Neill with his mentee Gerardo Lugo

The Immokalee Foundation students thank Hertz for their support

The Immokalee Foundation students thank Hertz for their support

Ten students from The Immokalee Foundation recently visited Hertz Global Holdings’ world headquarters in Estero for a Career Development program that included one-on-one discussions with Hertz employees and executives, a tour of the state-of-the-art facility, and collecting 104 backpacks loaded with back-to-school supplies donated by Hertz employees for Immokalee students.

“This was an incredible experience for our students,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “The Hertz executives and employees were so generous with their time and had great career advice to offer. Then, when we formed a human chain to load the backpacks into our van, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Hertz employees. These backpacks are game-changing for 104 Immokalee students as they begin the school year, and we’re so appreciative.”

Participating students received a specially requested item: Flash drives. “Flash drives enable our students to carry their work into computer labs and classroom spaces to ensure they can complete their school requirements, even if they don’t have computers at home,” said Kissinger. “It’s a meaningful resource throughout the school year.”

Hertz executives including Eliana Zem, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, and Bill Masterson, vice president of strategic communications, encouraged the students to continue their dedication to The Immokalee Foundation and its programs that will help them grow as leaders.

“These students are clearly motivated to excel in their careers, and their goals are inspirational,” said Zem. “We’re honored they shared their time with us, and we hope to hear from them when their studies are complete – it’s an impressive group.”

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.

Eliana Zem, Hertz Executive VP and Chief Human Resources Officer and Bill Masterson, Hertz VP-Strategic Communications, with TIF students Daniel Gonzalez and Ulna Beaubrum

Eliana Zem, Hertz Executive VP and Chief Human Resources Officer and Bill Masterson, Hertz VP-Strategic Communications, with TIF students Daniel Gonzalez and Ulna Beaubrum

Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation Executive Director

Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation Executive Director

James Green, Daniel Gonzalez, Graciela Cervantes, Tammy Pagano, Tiffany Bolton, Amy Cizneroz

James Green, Daniel Gonzalez, Graciela Cervantes, Tammy Pagano, Tiffany Bolton, Amy Cizneroz

Ten students from The Immokalee Foundation recently visited Hertz Global Holdings’ world headquarters in Estero for a Career Development program that included one-on-one discussions with Hertz employees and executives, a tour of the state-of-the-art facility, and collecting 104 backpacks loaded with back-to-school supplies donated by Hertz employees for Immokalee students.

“This was an incredible experience for our students,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “The Hertz executives and employees were so generous with their time and had great career advice to offer. Then, when we formed a human chain to load the backpacks into our van, we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Hertz employees. These backpacks are game-changing for 104 Immokalee students as they begin the school year, and we’re so appreciative.”

Participating students received a specially requested item: Flash drives. “Flash drives enable our students to carry their work into computer labs and classroom spaces to ensure they can complete their school requirements, even if they don’t have computers at home,” said Kissinger. “It’s a meaningful resource throughout the school year.”

Hertz executives including Eliana Zem, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, and Bill Masterson, vice president of strategic communications, encouraged the students to continue their dedication to The Immokalee Foundation and its programs that will help them grow as leaders.

“These students are clearly motivated to excel in their careers, and their goals are inspirational,” said Zem. “We’re honored they shared their time with us, and we hope to hear from them when their studies are complete – it’s an impressive group.”

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 for their support

The Immokalee Foundation students thank Hertz for their support


Eliana Zem, Hertz Executive VP and Chief Human Resources Officer and Bill Masterson, Hertz VP-Strategic Communications, with TIF students Daniel Gonzalez and Ulna Beaubrum

Eliana Zem, Hertz Executive VP and Chief Human Resources Officer and Bill Masterson, Hertz VP-Strategic Communications, with TIF students Daniel Gonzalez and Ulna Beaubrum


Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation Executive Director

Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation Executive Director


James Green, Daniel Gonzalez, Graciela Cervantes, Tammy Pagano, Tiffany Bolton, Amy Cizneroz

James Green, Daniel Gonzalez, Graciela Cervantes, Tammy Pagano, Tiffany Bolton, Amy Cizneroz

TIF.25.Years wlogo

The Immokalee Foundation is celebrating 25 years of building great futures for thousands of Immokalee children and their families through its education initiatives.

The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration will honor Parker Collier, who founded the effort in 1991. Collier will chair the celebration, to be held Friday, Nov. 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

The Immokalee Foundation has helped more than 2,500 students in its 25 years, achieving a 100 percent high school graduation rate for those students who participate in its programs. Also, 100 percent of those students go on to post-secondary education at a college, university or vocational program.

Earlier this year, The Immokalee Foundation was one of the participating organizations whose application was selected for the federal “Promise Zone” designation. The regional effort, led by the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, confers 10 years of significant federal support for local leaders in Immokalee, Glades and Hendry counties to improve educational outcomes, create jobs, increase economic activity and access to affordable housing, among other local priorities. The Immokalee Foundation will serve as a pivotal education partner in the effort in recognition of its 25 years of proven success.

It was Collier and a diverse group of Naples’ top community volunteers, donors and sponsors who first developed the mission of The Immokalee Foundation 25 years ago. Their hope was to create pathways of self-reliance for the youth in Immokalee by providing health, educational and vocational support. Twenty-five years later, The Immokalee Foundation now offers a potent formula of after-school programs, volunteer mentors, funded college scholarships, and broad vocational opportunities.

The Immokalee Foundation burst onto the scene in Southwest Florida with its ground-breaking Immokalee Horse Trials annual equestrian competition. For five straight years, Collier and her team raised the crucial startup funds that helped put The Immokalee Foundation on the map.

“As we look toward to the next crucial 25 years for The Immokalee Foundation and the families it serves, we are especially grateful that Mrs. Collier would spearhead our 25th Charity Classic Celebration and help in advancing the vision of our important work,” said Joyce Hagen, chair of the board of directors. “Great and generous people helped launch The Immokalee Foundation, and it is needed now more than ever. It is an important time in America, when so many are searching for solutions in our poorest communities. The Immokalee Foundation has found the answer.”

“Mrs. Collier’s foresight has changed the future for an entire generation of Immokalee youth,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “We are dedicated to continuing these efforts for generations to come.”

The Charity Classic Celebration is an evening of fine dining, entertainment and the Fund A DreamTM auction, a unique live bidding experience that enables donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways.

The live auction is organized into categories that provide qualifying Immokalee youth with college and vocational scholarships, mentorship, reading support and intervention, and programs that foster post-secondary success. Donors also may provide support to build leadership and life skills, as well as funding study abroad programs, access to the arts and technology, and youth leadership.

Foundation board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are chairing this year’s Charity Classic Celebration. Tickets are $550 per guest. Packages are available that include the Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament on Monday, Nov. 14, at Bay Colony Golf Club, with an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Nov. 13.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Mercedes-Benz of Naples and MidwestOne Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; and Northern Trust, Table sponsor.

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, its signature events, volunteering as 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 is celebrating 25 years of building great futures for thousands of Immokalee children and their families through its education initiatives.
The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration will honor Parker Collier, who founded the effort in 1991. Collier will chair the celebration, to be held Friday, Nov. 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

The Immokalee Foundation has helped more than 2,500 students in its 25 years, achieving a 100 percent high school graduation rate for those students who participate in its programs. Also, 100 percent of those students go on to post-secondary education at a college, university or vocational program.

Earlier this year, The Immokalee Foundation was one of the participating organizations whose application was selected for the federal “Promise Zone” designation. The regional effort, led by the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, confers 10 years of significant federal support for local leaders in Immokalee, Glades and Hendry counties to improve educational outcomes, create jobs, increase economic activity and access to affordable housing, among other local priorities. The Immokalee Foundation will serve as a pivotal education partner in the effort in recognition of its 25 years of proven success.

It was Collier and a diverse group of Naples’ top community volunteers, donors and sponsors who first developed the mission of The Immokalee Foundation 25 years ago. Their hope was to create pathways of self-reliance for the youth in Immokalee by providing health, educational and vocational support. Twenty-five years later, The Immokalee Foundation now offers a potent formula of after-school programs, volunteer mentors, funded college scholarships, and broad vocational opportunities.

The Immokalee Foundation burst onto the scene in Southwest Florida with its ground-breaking Immokalee Horse Trials annual equestrian competition. For five straight years, Collier and her team raised the crucial startup funds that helped put The Immokalee Foundation on the map.

“As we look toward to the next crucial 25 years for The Immokalee Foundation and the families it serves, we are especially grateful that Mrs. Collier would spearhead our 25th Charity Classic Celebration and help in advancing the vision of our important work,” said Joyce Hagen, chair of the board of directors. “Great and generous people helped launch The Immokalee Foundation, and it is needed now more than ever. It is an important time in America, when so many are searching for solutions in our poorest communities. The Immokalee Foundation has found the answer.”

“Mrs. Collier’s foresight has changed the future for an entire generation of Immokalee youth,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “We are dedicated to continuing these efforts for generations to come.”

The Charity Classic Celebration is an evening of fine dining, entertainment and the Fund A DreamTM auction, a unique live bidding experience that enables donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in specific and tangible ways.

The live auction is organized into categories that provide qualifying Immokalee youth with college and vocational scholarships, mentorship, reading support and intervention, and programs that foster post-secondary success. Donors also may provide support to build leadership and life skills, as well as funding study abroad programs, access to the arts and technology, and youth leadership.

Foundation board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Dick” Stonesifer are chairing this year’s Charity Classic Celebration. Tickets are $550 per guest. Packages are available that include the Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament on Monday, Nov. 14, at Bay Colony Golf Club, with an exclusive pairings party at The Old Collier Golf Club on Nov. 13.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s events are Florida Community Bank, Presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., Partner Circle sponsors; Kelly Tractor, Education Circle sponsor; Naples Illustrated and Naples Daily News, Media sponsors; Huntington Bank, Success Circle sponsor; Mercedes-Benz of Naples and MidwestOne Bank, Pathways Circle sponsors; and Northern Trust, Table sponsor.

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, its signature events, volunteering as 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 has earned Take Stock in Children’s Gold Level of Excellence Award for the fourth consecutive year during the College and Career Readiness Summit in Tampa.

“The Immokalee Foundation exceeded targets in 11 performance categories,” said Jillian Hasner, Take Stock in Children’s president and CEO. “Congratulations to the hardworking mentors and staff on another year of exemplary service dedicated to the students of Immokalee and for the widespread community support.”

TSIC’s Gold Level of Excellence Award evaluates performance on each of the balanced scorecard indicators, including student recruitment, mentor pairing, timely advocacy, EDGAR self-certification, two-year action plan, student growth and increased GPA. The Balanced Scorecard provides a uniform way for state office and local program affiliates to assess performance through the same lens, and to manage performance through action and improvement plans. Key Performance Indicators are used to calculate performance funding. Results are reported as exceeds target, meets target or below target.

“This outstanding achievement is measured by the highest standard and only happens when an entire team comes together,” said Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation’s executive director. “Our areas of excellence included college success coaching, growth while maintaining high operating standards, and mentor session monitoring.”

Take Stock in Children Inc. is a nonprofit organization, transforming Florida one student at a time. Working in every county throughout Florida, TSIC’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty for low-income, academically qualified students by providing opportunities for a post-secondary education. They offer college scholarships to students, provide caring volunteer mentors and instill hope for a better life. TSIC’s comprehensive services begin in middle school, continue through high school and include students’ transition into college and career.

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 mentor, making a donation, including The Immokalee Foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Joyce Hagen, Luis Vasquez, Mauricio Trejo, Ana Vega-Arreola, Steven Kissinger and Ariana Ruiz at TIF's 2016 Take Stock in Children Induction Ceremony

Joyce Hagen, Luis Vasquez, Mauricio Trejo, Ana Vega-Arreola, Steven Kissinger and Ariana Ruiz at TIF’s 2016 Take Stock in Children Induction Ceremony

The Immokalee Foundation has earned Take Stock in Children’s Gold Level of Excellence Award for the fourth consecutive year during the College and Career Readiness Summit in Tampa.

“The Immokalee Foundation exceeded targets in 11 performance categories,” said Jillian Hasner, Take Stock in Children’s president and CEO. “Congratulations to the hardworking mentors and staff on another year of exemplary service dedicated to the students of Immokalee and for the widespread community support.”

TSIC’s Gold Level of Excellence Award evaluates performance on each of the balanced scorecard indicators, including student recruitment, mentor pairing, timely advocacy, EDGAR self-certification, two-year action plan, student growth and increased GPA. The Balanced Scorecard provides a uniform way for state office and local program affiliates to assess performance through the same lens, and to manage performance through action and improvement plans. Key Performance Indicators are used to calculate performance funding. Results are reported as exceeds target, meets target or below target.

“This outstanding achievement is measured by the highest standard and only happens when an entire team comes together,” said Steven Kissinger, The Immokalee Foundation’s executive director. “Our areas of excellence included college success coaching, growth while maintaining high operating standards, and mentor session monitoring.”

Take Stock in Children Inc. is a nonprofit organization, transforming Florida one student at a time. Working in every county throughout Florida, TSIC’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty for low-income, academically qualified students by providing opportunities for a post-secondary education. They offer college scholarships to students, provide caring volunteer mentors and instill hope for a better life. TSIC’s comprehensive services begin in middle school, continue through high school and include students’ transition into college and career.

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 mentor, making a donation, including The Immokalee Foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

98 TIF 2015-2016 graduates celebrate their pathway to success

The Immokalee Foundation recently held a graduation ceremony and celebration at Ave Maria University to honor 98 high school graduates who have participated in TIF programs. The graduates included 61 Immokalee High School students, 23 post-secondary students, 12 iTECH Heavy Equipment Mechanics students and two iTECH Computer Numerical Control Machinists.

The students participated in one or more of TIF’s programs during high school, including Take Stock in Children, Career Development, Immokalee Readers and College Success.

One of the post-secondary graduates, Kristen Dimas, was the first TIF student ever to graduate with a doctorate. Dimas completed her M.D. at Florida State University’s College of Medicine.

The high school graduates will attend a variety of colleges in the fall, including Florida’s public and private universities, Michigan State University, Cornell University, Iowa’s Wartburg College and St. Ambrose University, Minnesota’s College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, and Allen Community College in Kansas.

Those students from TIF’s Take Stock in Children program will start their college careers with two or four years of tuition paid as the reward for fulfilling program commitments including maintaining good grades, exhibiting exemplary behavior, providing community service and working with a mentor.

Several graduates are looking ahead to military service. Luis Mendoza has enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Mendoza’s mentor, John Costigan, and his wife, Emily, attended the graduation ceremony to see Mendoza walk the stage. “We’re very pleased and happy tonight,” Costigan said. “Luis is a wonderful young man with the intelligence, character and commitment to make a fine member of the Marine Corps.”

The keynote speaker for the evening was another longtime mentor, Manny Touron, the former principal of several Immokalee schools. Former mentee Jesus Velasquez introduced Touron, calling him “a guiding force in my life … he is constantly reminding students to stay grounded and true to themselves.”

Better known to the students as “Coach Manny,” Touron congratulated all the graduates, saying, “Somehow at a young age you found out that mediocrity was not something in your plans. You come from many different economic and cultural foundations, but you have found common ground in success.”

Ana Abarca graduated in May from Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in secondary math. She will be enriching her hometown by returning to teach math at Immokalee Middle School in the fall. She is grateful both for the scholarship she received that allowed her to attend college and also the support from TIF staff. “They helped me get through college, whether I needed advice or help academically,” Abarca said.

Among other post-secondary graduates are students with degrees in business, international studies, nursing, community health, hospitality management, economics and accounting. One student, Fritz Henry, is a future law enforcement officer and a graduate of Valencia College School of Public Safety in Orlando.

Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton attended the inspiring event. “This evening was an incredible time to celebrate our students from the Immokalee community,” Patton said. “We are fortunate to have such incredible support – both with time and financial resources – for our students from The Immokalee Foundation.”

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Steven Kissinger, Kristen Dimas, Noemi Perez

Steven Kissinger, Kristen Dimas, Noemi Perez

Rolando Ramirez, Berenice Ramirez, Miranda Herrera, Jonathan Cantu

Rolando Ramirez, Berenice Ramirez, Miranda Herrera, Jonathan Cantu

Manny Touron, Jesus Velazco

Manny Touron, Jesus Velazco

Chedeline Frederick, Luis Cartagena

Chedeline Frederick, Luis Cartagena

The Immokalee Foundation recently held a graduation ceremony and celebration at Ave Maria University to honor 98 high school graduates who have participated in TIF programs. The graduates included 61 Immokalee High School students, 23 post-secondary students, 12 iTECH Heavy Equipment Mechanics students and two iTECH Computer Numerical Control Machinists.

The students participated in one or more of TIF’s programs during high school, including Take Stock in Children, Career Development, Immokalee Readers and College Success.

One of the post-secondary graduates, Kristen Dimas, was the first TIF student ever to graduate with a doctorate. Dimas completed her M.D. at Florida State University’s College of Medicine.

The high school graduates will attend a variety of colleges in the fall, including Florida’s public and private universities, Michigan State University, Cornell University, Iowa’s Wartburg College and St. Ambrose University, Minnesota’s College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, and Allen Community College in Kansas.

Those students from TIF’s Take Stock in Children program will start their college careers with two or four years of tuition paid as the reward for fulfilling program commitments including maintaining good grades, exhibiting exemplary behavior, providing community service and working with a mentor.

Several graduates are looking ahead to military service. Luis Mendoza has enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Mendoza’s mentor, John Costigan, and his wife, Emily, attended the graduation ceremony to see Mendoza walk the stage. “We’re very pleased and happy tonight,” Costigan said. “Luis is a wonderful young man with the intelligence, character and commitment to make a fine member of the Marine Corps.”

The keynote speaker for the evening was another longtime mentor, Manny Touron, the former principal of several Immokalee schools. Former mentee Jesus Velasquez introduced Touron, calling him “a guiding force in my life … he is constantly reminding students to stay grounded and true to themselves.”

Better known to the students as “Coach Manny,” Touron congratulated all the graduates, saying, “Somehow at a young age you found out that mediocrity was not something in your plans. You come from many different economic and cultural foundations, but you have found common ground in success.”

Ana Abarca graduated in May from Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in secondary math. She will be enriching her hometown by returning to teach math at Immokalee Middle School in the fall. She is grateful both for the scholarship she received that allowed her to attend college and also the support from TIF staff. “They helped me get through college, whether I needed advice or help academically,” Abarca said.

Among other post-secondary graduates are students with degrees in business, international studies, nursing, community health, hospitality management, economics and accounting. One student, Fritz Henry, is a future law enforcement officer and a graduate of Valencia College School of Public Safety in Orlando.

Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kamela Patton attended the inspiring event. “This evening was an incredible time to celebrate our students from the Immokalee community,” Patton said. “We are fortunate to have such incredible support – both with time and financial resources – for our students from The Immokalee Foundation.”

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Whistleblower Policy

The Immokalee Foundation requires directors, officers and employees to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. As employees and representatives of The Immokalee Foundation we must practice honesty and integrity in fulfilling our responsibilities and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

Reporting Responsibility
This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns internally so that The Immokalee Foundation can address and correct inappropriate conduct and actions. It is the responsibility of all board members, officers, employees and volunteers to report concerns about violations of The Immokalee Foundation’s code of ethics or suspected violations of law or regulations that govern The Immokalee Foundation’s operations.

No Retaliation
It is contrary to the values of The Immokalee Foundation for anyone to retaliate against any board member, officer, employee or volunteer who in good faith reports an ethics violation, or a suspected violation of law, such as a complaint of discrimination, or suspected fraud, or suspected violation of any regulation governing the operations of The Immokalee Foundation. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

Reporting Procedure
The Immokalee Foundation has an open door policy and suggests that employees share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with their supervisor. If you are not comfortable speaking with your supervisor or you are not satisfied with your supervisor’s response, you are encouraged to speak with [insert here another title, such as Executive Director, or a board member, if the organization is very small and involving the board would be appropriate]. Supervisors and managers are required to report complaints or concerns about suspected ethical and legal violations in writing to the Immokalee Foundation’s Human Resource’s Director who has the responsibility to investigate all reported complaints. Employees with concerns or complaints may also submit their concerns in writing directly to their supervisor or the Executive Director or the organization’s Compliance Officer.

Compliance Officer
The Immokalee Foundation’s Human Resource’s Director is responsible for ensuring that all complaints about unethical or illegal conduct are investigated and resolved. The Compliance Officer will advise the Executive Director and/or the Board of Directors of all complaints and their resolution and will report at least annually to the Chair of the Finance Committee on compliance activity relating to accounting or alleged financial improprieties.

Accounting and Auditing Matters
The Immokalee Foundation’s Human Resource’s Director shall immediately notify the Chair of the Finance Committee or Executive Director of any concerns or complaint regarding corporate accounting practices, internal controls or auditing and work with the committee until the matter is resolved.

Acting in Good Faith
Anyone filing a written complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation. Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.

Confidentiality
Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant. Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

Handling of Reported Violations
The Immokalee Foundation’s Human Resource’s Director will notify the person who submitted a complaint and acknowledge receipt of the reported violation or suspected violation. All reports will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by the investigation.

Donor Privacy Policy

The Immokalee Foundation is committed to respecting the privacy of donors both online and offline. The types of donor information that it collects and maintains are as follows:

  • Contact information: name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Giving information
  • Information on events attended, publications received and special requests for program information
  • Information provided by the donor in the form of comments and suggestions

The Immokalee Foundation uses donors’ information to understand their interests in its mission and to update them on the organization’s plans and activities. It is shared with staff, board members, volunteers and consultants only on a “need-to-know” basis.

The organization also assures donors that their names and addresses will not be shared with any third party unless permission has been granted and will not be sold for any reason.

If you have comments or questions about The Immokalee Foundation’s Donor Privacy Policy, please email info@immoklaeefoundation.org or call (239) 430-9122.

An etiquette luncheon and networking reception for students in The Immokalee Foundation programs underscored how invaluable the support of the professional community is to the foundation and the students of Immokalee.

Nearly 50 Southwest Florida professionals from a variety of fields attended the event and gave the students practice in meeting, greeting and conversing in a business environment. The results were important and immediate.

Luis Velazco, an Immokalee High School graduate and a Take Stock in Children scholarship recipient, attended the luncheon at Shula’s in Naples and reception following at Hilton Naples. Since then, he has met with a variety of university officials and attended a business meeting.

“Because I learned how to communicate with other people and talk professionally, I felt confident,” Velazco said. “I knew how you are supposed to greet everyone, shake hands and other things. I used the techniques.”

Students like Velazco also pass on what they have learned. Although he is the youngest sibling at home, Velazco has shared his new skills with his family and they have been receptive. Velazco will attend Michigan State University in the fall, taking steps toward his goal of becoming a special education teacher. He volunteered with this population at school during the past two years, and the experience confirmed his intention to make that his life’s work.

Meeting successful local adults at events such as the etiquette and networking afternoon helps students learn how to interact among professionals such as TIF supporter and sponsor Dr. Massoud Eghrari, a local surgeon. Eghrari points out that quite often the students’ exposure to professionals is mainly limited to their teachers.

“This helps them know what to do when someone introduces themselves, and what to do with a business card, for example,” Dr. Eghrari said. “It’s important for them to meet professional people in this society, to show them they are capable of getting to that level themselves.”

To recent high school graduates such as TIF student Widline Duvert, the benefits are clear. At 18, she is ready to move on academically. This fall she will attend Florida SouthWestern State College in hopes of becoming a music teacher. She attended the event to learn proper etiquette and business conduct, with her goal for the future in mind. “I hope to grow a mindset that is meant for the real world. I want to build character and make a difference in my family tree,” Duvert said.

That is the type of vision that Thomas DiBernardo, vice president of MidWestOne Bank, is proud to support. “I participate in the event because it is important to make the real-life connection for the students,” he said.

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Sophonie Seneus, Don Gunther, Sinancia Mervilus

Sophonie Seneus, Don Gunther, Sinancia Mervilus

Selena Velazquez, Brenda Garcia, Widline Duvert, Alfredo Perez

Selena Velazquez, Brenda Garcia, Widline Duvert, Alfredo Perez

Sandra Andres, Terri Lamon, Sophonie Seneus

Sandra Andres, Terri Lamon, Sophonie Seneus

Noemi Perez, Dr. Massoud Eghrari

Noemi Perez, Dr. Massoud Eghrari

Luis Velazco, Teri Evans

Luis Velazco, Teri Evans

Araceli Soriano, Joyce Hagen

Araceli Soriano, Joyce Hagen

An etiquette luncheon and networking reception for students in The Immokalee Foundation programs underscored how invaluable the support of the professional community is to the foundation and the students of Immokalee.

Nearly 50 Southwest Florida professionals from a variety of fields attended the event and gave the students practice in meeting, greeting and conversing in a business environment. The results were important and immediate.

Luis Velazco, an Immokalee High School graduate and a Take Stock in Children scholarship recipient, attended the luncheon at Shula’s in Naples and reception following at Hilton Naples. Since then, he has met with a variety of university officials and attended a business meeting.

“Because I learned how to communicate with other people and talk professionally, I felt confident,” Velazco said. “I knew how you are supposed to greet everyone, shake hands and other things. I used the techniques.”

Students like Velazco also pass on what they have learned. Although he is the youngest sibling at home, Velazco has shared his new skills with his family and they have been receptive. Velazco will attend Michigan State University in the fall, taking steps toward his goal of becoming a special education teacher. He volunteered with this population at school during the past two years, and the experience confirmed his intention to make that his life’s work.

Meeting successful local adults at events such as the etiquette and networking afternoon helps students learn how to interact among professionals such as TIF supporter and sponsor Dr. Massoud Eghrari, a local surgeon. Eghrari points out that quite often the students’ exposure to professionals is mainly limited to their teachers.

“This helps them know what to do when someone introduces themselves, and what to do with a business card, for example,” Dr. Eghrari said. “It’s important for them to meet professional people in this society, to show them they are capable of getting to that level themselves.”

To recent high school graduates such as TIF student Widline Duvert, the benefits are clear. At 18, she is ready to move on academically. This fall she will attend Florida SouthWestern State College in hopes of becoming a music teacher. She attended the event to learn proper etiquette and business conduct, with her goal for the future in mind. “I hope to grow a mindset that is meant for the real world. I want to build character and make a difference in my family tree,” Duvert said.

That is the type of vision that Thomas DiBernardo, vice president of MidWestOne Bank, is proud to support. “I participate in the event because it is important to make the real-life connection for the students,” he said.

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Sophonie Seneus, Don Gunther, Sinancia Mervilus

Sophonie Seneus, Don Gunther, Sinancia Mervilus

Selena Velazquez, Brenda Garcia, Widline Duvert, Alfredo Perez

Selena Velazquez, Brenda Garcia, Widline Duvert, Alfredo Perez

Sandra Andres, Terri Lamon, Sophonie Seneus

Sandra Andres, Terri Lamon, Sophonie Seneus

Noemi Perez, Dr. Massoud Eghrari

Noemi Perez, Dr. Massoud Eghrari

Araceli Soriano, Joyce Hagen

Araceli Soriano, Joyce Hagen

Luis Velazco, Teri Evans

Luis Velazco, Teri Evans

What:
The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Pro-Am scramble-style golf tournament will pair more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers with Naples’ most philanthropic players. Each foursome is joined by a professional player for the first nine holes, and another professional player for the second nine holes.

Who:
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.

A TIF student may have the opportunity to play 18 holes with a PGA professional.

Chairing the event for the sixth year is Kevin Johnson of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management.

When:
Monday, Nov. 14, 2016
7:30 a.m. breakfast and golf demonstrations
9:30 a.m. shotgun start
Lunch and awards presentation immediately following the tournament

Where:
Bay Colony Golf Club
9740 Bent Grass Bend, Naples

Tickets:
Entry fees begin at $5,000. All pro-am golfers will receive two tickets to the 2016 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Info:
The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org, www.immokaleefoundation.org

TIF logo with tagline

What:
The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Pro-Am scramble-style golf tournament will pair more than two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers with Naples’ most philanthropic players. Each foursome is joined by a professional player for the first nine holes, and another professional player for the second nine holes.

Who:
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.

A TIF student may have the opportunity to play 18 holes with a PGA professional.

Chairing the event for the sixth year is Kevin Johnson of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management.

When:
Monday, Nov. 14, 2016
7:30 a.m. breakfast and golf demonstrations
9:30 a.m. shotgun start
Lunch and awards presentation immediately following the tournament

Where:
Bay Colony Golf Club
9740 Bent Grass Bend, Naples

Tickets:
Entry fees begin at $5,000. All pro-am golfers will receive two tickets to the 2016 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Info:
The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org, www.immokaleefoundation.org

The Immokalee Foundation will play a pivotal role in the Southwest Florida Promise Zone effort announced by federal officials last week.

The Promise Zone designation confers 10 years of significant federal support for local leaders in Immokalee, Glades and Hendry counties to improve educational outcomes, create jobs, increase economic activity and access to affordable housing, and reduce serious and violent crime, among other local priorities.

The Immokalee Foundation partnered with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and others to develop the Promise Zone application, which outlined the region’s strategic plan focused on specific efforts to improve quality of life: training workers to fuel job growth, improving educational opportunities, providing resources to grow small businesses, developing markets for locally grown fresh food, and promoting eco-tourism.

As a Promise Zone partner, The Immokalee Foundation will explore the expansion of several existing programs:
– Immokalee Readers, an after-school early intervention literacy tutoring program designed to target the lowest-performing student readers in kindergarten through second grade and complement the reading instruction they receive during the school day. The Promise Zone proposal contemplates enlarging the program within Immokalee during the first two years, with possible expansion into Glades and Hendry counties starting in year three.
– Career Development, which provides career information, workshops, panels and preparation resources to empower students to make informed choices about careers prior to selecting post-secondary options. As proposed, the Career Development program would be enlarged within Immokalee during the first year and expand to Glades and Hendry counties beginning in year two.
– Post-Secondary and Career Success, which offers readiness initiatives to ensure that high school graduates have the knowledge and skills needed to qualify for, and succeed in, their quest for post-secondary education and training leading to a career. These programs are considered for expansion within Immokalee during the first year and into Glades and Hendry counties starting in years two to three.

“The entire Immokalee Foundation family is excited and honored to be part of the Southwest Florida Promise Zone and the incredible opportunity it presents for Immokalee and our neighbors in Hendry and Glades counties,” said Joyce Hagen, chair of the board of directors. “The team that collaborated on the application is strategically aligned to accomplish the results put forth in the proposal, and we look forward to working together.”

Steven Kissinger, executive director, added, “We’ve witnessed firsthand the incredible results of The Immokalee Foundation’s efforts over the past 25 years. Having the opportunity to work with even more students would create an amazing ripple effect that will empower future generations through education and career training.”

The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and its Promise Zone partners will be assigned VISTA volunteers and a federal liaison to navigate federal funding and programs; planning and implementation will begin in upcoming weeks.

The federal government has awarded more than $550 million in funding to Promise Zone designees since the program’s inception in 2014. Only four rural areas in the U.S. have received the competitive designation, including the Southwest Florida Promise Zone.

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

The Immokalee Foundation will play a pivotal role in the Southwest Florida Promise Zone effort announced by federal officials last week.

The Promise Zone designation confers 10 years of significant federal support for local leaders in Immokalee, Glades and Hendry counties to improve educational outcomes, create jobs, increase economic activity and access to affordable housing, and reduce serious and violent crime, among other local priorities.

The Immokalee Foundation partnered with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and others to develop the Promise Zone application, which outlined the region’s strategic plan focused on specific efforts to improve quality of life: training workers to fuel job growth, improving educational opportunities, providing resources to grow small businesses, developing markets for locally grown fresh food, and promoting eco-tourism.

As a Promise Zone partner, The Immokalee Foundation will explore the expansion of several existing programs:
– Immokalee Readers, an after-school early intervention literacy tutoring program designed to target the lowest-performing student readers in kindergarten through second grade and complement the reading instruction they receive during the school day. The Promise Zone proposal contemplates enlarging the program within Immokalee during the first two years, with possible expansion into Glades and Hendry counties starting in year three.
– Career Development, which provides career information, workshops, panels and preparation resources to empower students to make informed choices about careers prior to selecting post-secondary options. As proposed, the Career Development program would be enlarged within Immokalee during the first year and expand to Glades and Hendry counties beginning in year two.
– Post-Secondary and Career Success, which offers readiness initiatives to ensure that high school graduates have the knowledge and skills needed to qualify for, and succeed in, their quest for post-secondary education and training leading to a career. These programs are considered for expansion within Immokalee during the first year and into Glades and Hendry counties starting in years two to three.

“The entire Immokalee Foundation family is excited and honored to be part of the Southwest Florida Promise Zone and the incredible opportunity it presents for Immokalee and our neighbors in Hendry and Glades counties,” said Joyce Hagen, chair of the board of directors. “The team that collaborated on the application is strategically aligned to accomplish the results put forth in the proposal, and we look forward to working together.”

Steven Kissinger, executive director, added, “We’ve witnessed firsthand the incredible results of The Immokalee Foundation’s efforts over the past 25 years. Having the opportunity to work with even more students would create an amazing ripple effect that will empower future generations through education and career training.”

The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and its Promise Zone partners will be assigned VISTA volunteers and a federal liaison to navigate federal funding and programs; planning and implementation will begin in upcoming weeks.

The federal government has awarded more than $550 million in funding to Promise Zone designees since the program’s inception in 2014. Only four rural areas in the U.S. have received the competitive designation, including the Southwest Florida Promise Zone.

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Young students in Immokalee are benefiting from a partnership between The Immokalee Foundation and Guadalupe Center Inc. designed to supplement the students’ school day with additional learning.

Last fall, the two nonprofits – both funded in part by the Naples Children & Education Foundation – began a combined pilot program for children in kindergarten through second grade at Village Oaks Elementary School in Immokalee.

Held four days a week, the course of study incorporating TIF’s Immokalee Readers program and the Guadalupe After-School Program includes language literacy and reading, math, science, writing and homework help.

“Jamie Scott of Great Programs Synergizing helped build out the model for us,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “GPS is a Naples Children & Education Foundation’s Out of School Time Initiative consortium of education leaders assembled to develop responsive strategies.”

As a result, Guadalupe Center President Barbara Oppenheim and Kissinger met to join forces. “A lot of organizations don’t talk to each other about their programs specifically, but we chose to,” Kissinger said. “We found out our programs operated similarly, but at different times. In our discussions, we built in workflow and cost efficiencies and in combining our services, developed a win-win situation.”

Through this collaboration and the building in of cost efficiencies, the organizations we were able to help 160 students for longer sessions each day during a more qualified program.

“There are always challenges in the beginning of a new collaboration, but we worked through them very quickly,” said Oppenheim. “The population we reach together is broader now.” The newer program is open to the quartile of students with the lowest academic records.

“I can see progress already in our students in just this first year,” said Village Oaks Principal Angie Torres. “It’s safe to say that this is a collaboration that works well, and we are extremely appreciative.”

High school tutors enrolled in the Tutor Corps and Take Stock in Children efforts help the children at Village Oaks under the supervision of certified teachers.

“We’ve talked about expanding this model next year but wanted to make sure we had a successful beginning,” Oppenheim said. “Teachers have been saying they are seeing greater gains.”

The collaboration is proof of a commitment by both groups’ boards of trustees to identify areas of similar interest and also potential overlap in order to enhance and expand their efforts. The goal is to best serve the youth of Immokalee by reducing duplication of services and increasing the number of students served in concert with donors, supporters and volunteers.

For more than 30 years, the Guadalupe Center has been helping impoverished children and families in Immokalee. The nonprofit is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee. For more information, call 239-657-7711 or visit www.guadalupecenter.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. For additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Young students in Immokalee are benefiting from a partnership between The Immokalee Foundation and Guadalupe Center Inc. designed to supplement the students’ school day with additional learning.

Last fall, the two nonprofits – both funded in part by the Naples Children & Education Foundation – began a combined pilot program for children in kindergarten through second grade at Village Oaks Elementary School in Immokalee.

Held four days a week, the course of study incorporating TIF’s Immokalee Readers program and the Guadalupe After-School Program includes language literacy and reading, math, science, writing and homework help.

“Jamie Scott of Great Programs Synergizing helped build out the model for us,” said Steven Kissinger, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation. “GPS is a Naples Children & Education Foundation’s Out of School Time Initiative consortium of education leaders assembled to develop responsive strategies.”

As a result, Guadalupe Center President Barbara Oppenheim and Kissinger met to join forces. “A lot of organizations don’t talk to each other about their programs specifically, but we chose to,” Kissinger said. “We found out our programs operated similarly, but at different times. In our discussions, we built in workflow and cost efficiencies and in combining our services, developed a win-win situation.”

Through this collaboration and the building in of cost efficiencies, the organizations we were able to help 160 students for longer sessions each day during a more qualified program.

“There are always challenges in the beginning of a new collaboration, but we worked through them very quickly,” said Oppenheim. “The population we reach together is broader now.” The newer program is open to the quartile of students with the lowest academic records.

“I can see progress already in our students in just this first year,” said Village Oaks Principal Angie Torres. “It’s safe to say that this is a collaboration that works well, and we are extremely appreciative.”

High school tutors enrolled in the Tutor Corps and Take Stock in Children efforts help the children at Village Oaks under the supervision of certified teachers.

“We’ve talked about expanding this model next year but wanted to make sure we had a successful beginning,” Oppenheim said. “Teachers have been saying they are seeing greater gains.”

The collaboration is proof of a commitment by both groups’ boards of trustees to identify areas of similar interest and also potential overlap in order to enhance and expand their efforts. The goal is to best serve the youth of Immokalee by reducing duplication of services and increasing the number of students served in concert with donors, supporters and volunteers.

For more than 30 years, the Guadalupe Center has been helping impoverished children and families in Immokalee. The nonprofit is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee. For more information, call 239-657-7711 or visit www.guadalupecenter.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. For additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Ryan Numa , Marley Villarreal

Antonia Ruiz, Rosselyn Espanol-Lujan, Eric Nino

Esmeralda Godinez-Cordoba

William Lopez Sanchez

Keithson Dor, Johandry Alvarado Solar, Javier Ramirez Velazco

What: The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration is an extraordinary evening of fine dining, entertainment and auctions of once-in-a-lifetime experiences to benefit TIF students.

This year’s theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee” highlights the successes of TIF’s programs and students through the combined support throughout the community – benefactors, corporate sponsors, mentors, community partners, instructors and volunteers – and shares opportunities to support their future during Fund A Dream, a unique live bidding experience that enables donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in a specific and tangible way.

Fund A Dream is organized into specific categories that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn and advance. Auction items include opportunities to fund college and vocational scholarships, reading support and intervention, college success and experiences. Donors also may provide support to build leadership and life skills as well as fund studying abroad, access to the arts and technology, and youth leadership.

Who: 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.

Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Stoney” Stonesifer are coordinating TIF’s largest fundraiser of the year.

When: Friday, Nov. 11, 2016
6 p.m. receptionTIF.25.Years wlogo
7:30 p.m. dinner

Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
280 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Naples, FL 34108

Tickets: $550 per guest; underwriting and sponsorship opportunities are available

Info: The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org, www.immokaleefoundation.org

What: The Immokalee Foundation’s 2016 Charity Classic Celebration is an extraordinary evening of fine dining, entertainment and auctions of once-in-a-lifetime experiences to benefit TIF students.

This year’s theme, “25 Years of We Are Immokalee” highlights the successes of TIF’s programs and students through the combined support throughout the community – benefactors, corporate sponsors, mentors, community partners, instructors and volunteers – and shares opportunities to support their future during Fund A Dream, a unique live bidding experience that enables donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in a specific and tangible way.

Fund A Dream is organized into specific categories that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn and advance. Auction items include opportunities to fund college and vocational scholarships, reading support and intervention, college success and experiences. Donors also may provide support to build leadership and life skills as well as fund studying abroad, access to the arts and technology, and youth leadership.

Who: 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.

Board members Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Stoney” Stonesifer are coordinating TIF’s largest fundraiser of the year.

When: Friday, Nov. 11, 2016
6 p.m. reception
7:30 p.m. dinner

Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
280 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Naples, FL 34108

Tickets: $550 per guest; underwriting and sponsorship opportunities are available

Info: The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org, www.immokaleefoundation.org

The Immokalee Foundation held its 10th Inter-Club Challenge tournament, which brought together 60 golfers from Southwest Florida’s most prestigious communities, local country club pros and TIF corporate sponsors to raise money for the nonprofit’s programs, which support a brighter future for Immokalee students. The tournament, held at Bonita Bay Club Naples on May 5, raised more than $58,000.

First place was captured by the Hideout Golf Club team, including Howard Moss, Joe Maston, Harry Boardsen and Tim Kinfella with golf pro Justin Bertsch. The winners earned bragging rights and a traveling trophy to display at their clubhouse for the next year.

Second place went to the Bay Colony Golf Club and its squad of Richard Crawford, Lori Crawford, Joyce Hagen and Jim O’Connor with Old Collier golf pro Steve Waugh.

Bonita Bay Club took third place, with its team of George Krouse, Don Boudreau, Don Sanneman and Randy Wilcox with golf pro Ric Nalyd.

John Costigan won both of the tournament’s closest-to-the-pin competitions.

“Everybody had a great time. The weather was beautiful, the turnout was good and the student team had a blast,” said David Steele, Inter-Club Challenge tournament chairman and TIF board member. “The Hideout Golf Club team with pro Justin Bertsch was so happy to be able to take the trophy back to the Hideout for display. They were proud of their victory.”

A team of TIF students – including Joel Guerrero, Elijah Arreaga, Gerardo Lugo and Erick Hidalgo – had the opportunity to interact with their benefactors and played as a foursome alongside Bonita Bay Club’s assistant golf pro, Rob Churchill.

It was Guerrero’s first time on the links. “At the beginning I was terrible. By the end, our coach (Churchill) said I was a really good player. It was truly fun, and I actually want to play again,” said Guerrero, a TIF Junior Career Development Program student.

“None of this is possible without our sponsors and donors, and the logistic support of Ariane Willis and the TIF team,” Steele added. “We’re thankful for the support of the patrons, players and pros, and especially Bonita Bay Club for hosting the event.”

Corporate sponsors of this year’s Inter-Club Challenge were Florida Community Bank, presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., partner circle sponsors; Jaguar Naples, Porsche of Naples and Kelly Tractor, education circle sponsors; Naples Illustrated, media sponsor; Huntington Bank, success circle sponsor; and MidwestOne Bank, pathways circle sponsor.

The Inter-Club Challenge is the first in a series of three annual fundraising events to benefit the youth of Immokalee. TIF’s largest fundraiser of the year, the Charity Classic Celebration – Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples – gives guests the chance to “Fund A Dream” in a live bidding experience that enables TIF students to have unique life and educational opportunities. The Classic Pro-Am, slated for Nov. 14 at Bay Colony Golf Club, pairs foursomes with a professional player for the first nine holes, and another professional player for the second nine holes.

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 TIF, its signature events, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

TIF student team - Joel Guerrero, Elijah Arreaga, Rob Churchill (BBC Assistant Pro), Gerardo Lugo, Erick Hidalgo

The Immokalee Foundation held its 10th Inter-Club Challenge tournament, which brought together 60 golfers from Southwest Florida’s most prestigious communities, local country club pros and TIF corporate sponsors to raise money for the nonprofit’s programs, which support a brighter future for Immokalee students. The tournament, held at Bonita Bay Club Naples on May 5, raised more than $58,000.

First place was captured by the Hideout Golf Club team, including Howard Moss, Joe Maston, Harry Boardsen and Tim Kinfella with golf pro Justin Bertsch. The winners earned bragging rights and a traveling trophy to display at their clubhouse for the next year.

Second place went to the Bay Colony Golf Club and its squad of Richard Crawford, Lori Crawford, Joyce Hagen and Jim O’Connor with Old Collier golf pro Steve Waugh.

Bonita Bay Club took third place, with its team of George Krouse, Don Boudreau, Don Sanneman and Randy Wilcox with golf pro Ric Nalyd.

John Costigan won both of the tournament’s closest-to-the-pin competitions.

“Everybody had a great time. The weather was beautiful, the turnout was good and the student team had a blast,” said David Steele, Inter-Club Challenge tournament chairman and TIF board member. “The Hideout Golf Club team with pro Justin Bertsch was so happy to be able to take the trophy back to the Hideout for display. They were proud of their victory.”

A team of TIF students – including Joel Guerrero, Elijah Arreaga, Gerardo Lugo and Erick Hidalgo – had the opportunity to interact with their benefactors and played as a foursome alongside Bonita Bay Club’s assistant golf pro, Rob Churchill.

It was Guerrero’s first time on the links. “At the beginning I was terrible. By the end, our coach (Churchill) said I was a really good player. It was truly fun, and I actually want to play again,” said Guerrero, a TIF Junior Career Development Program student.

“None of this is possible without our sponsors and donors, and the logistic support of Ariane Willis and the TIF team,” Steele added. “We’re thankful for the support of the patrons, players and pros, and especially Bonita Bay Club for hosting the event.”

Corporate sponsors of this year’s Inter-Club Challenge were Florida Community Bank, presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., partner circle sponsors; Jaguar Naples, Porsche of Naples and Kelly Tractor, education circle sponsors; Naples Illustrated, media sponsor; Huntington Bank, success circle sponsor; and MidwestOne Bank, pathways circle sponsor.

The Inter-Club Challenge is the first in a series of three annual fundraising events to benefit the youth of Immokalee. TIF’s largest fundraiser of the year, the Charity Classic Celebration – Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples – gives guests the chance to “Fund A Dream” in a live bidding experience that enables TIF students to have unique life and educational opportunities. The Classic Pro-Am, slated for Nov. 14 at Bay Colony Golf Club, pairs foursomes with a professional player for the first nine holes, and another professional player for the second nine holes.

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 TIF, its signature events, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Louise Penta recently hosted a reception to honor The Immokalee Foundation’s benefactors and board members. Thanks to TIF’s generous donors and supporters, the nonprofit 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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Louise Penta, Joyce Hagen, Sonia McDonald

Louise Penta recently hosted a reception to honor The Immokalee Foundation’s benefactors and board members. Thanks to TIF’s generous donors and supporters, the nonprofit 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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

The Immokalee Foundation has named event chairs for its 2016 signature fundraisers: the Inter-Club Challenge golf tournament, Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, and Charity Classic Pro-Am.

A group of distinguished, loyal supporters of The Immokalee Foundation will helm the nonprofit’s events during a milestone year – the 25th anniversary of funding pathways to the future for the children of Immokalee.

The first of the three events is chaired by David Steele. The Inter-Club Challenge golf tournament spreads the word about TIF’s efforts to Southwest Florida’s most prestigious golf communities, whose members learn about the foundation’s programs and often end up becoming supporters. On May 5 at the Bonita Bay Club in Naples, golfers will enjoy a day of competition on the course – but the true winners are the children of Immokalee. “I’m excited that the Inter-Club is almost here,” Steele said. “The thing to watch is the amount of people who come together for such a great cause and the interaction with TIF students.”

For the sixth year, Kevin Johnson of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management is chairman of the Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament, a scramble-style outing to be held Nov. 14 at Bay Colony Golf Club. Each foursome is joined by a professional player for the first nine holes, and another professional player for the second nine holes. “This year will almost certainly be the best as far as the pros who are lined up,” Johnson said. “I think it will be a shock to the people playing because there’s a high possibility of a couple of top 10 PGA Tour players participating this year.” It’s a labor of love for Johnson: “To have fun playing golf and also support The Immokalee Foundation programs, helping the students at the same time, is phenomenal,” he said.

Preceding the Pro-Am on the same weekend is the Charity Classic Celebration at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, on Nov. 11. Chaired by Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Stoney” Stonesifer, the evening includes fine dining, dancing, and live and silent auctions that feature life-changing opportunities and experiences for Immokalee students.

Stonesifer looks back with pride on a decade of involvement with TIF. “We’ve grown from having not one paid employee to an organization that’s extremely well-led and a board that is dedicated not only to sustaining the foundation but also to growing it,” Stonesifer said. “Today, we’re touching the lives of thousands of students and their families.”

McDonald shares that enthusiasm. “I’m very excited to be a part of these events during the organization’s 25th year,” he said.

Ten years ago, McDonald and O’Neill, along with golfer Mark Lye, started the Pro-Am golf tournament and annually recruit an amazing group of talented professionals. In addition, O’Neill and his wife, Ellen, held the first fundraiser for TIF’s Take Stock in Children scholarship program at their home in 2004. He’s happy to continue to be involved in The Immokalee Foundation. “The parents believe in us, the kids end up believing in themselves, and we’ve got a great thing going,” O’Neill said.

Sponsors of the 2016 Inter-Club Challenge, Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am are Florida Community Bank, presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., partner circle sponsors; Jaguar Naples, Porsche of Naples and Kelly Tractor, education circle sponsors; Naples Illustrated, media sponsor; Huntington Bank, success circle sponsor; and Central Bank, pathways circle sponsor.

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 TIF, its signature events, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Mac McDonald, Don O’Neill, Stoney Stonesifer

The Immokalee Foundation has named event chairs for its 2016 signature fundraisers: the Inter-Club Challenge golf tournament, Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, and Charity Classic Pro-Am.

A group of distinguished, loyal supporters of The Immokalee Foundation will helm the nonprofit’s events during a milestone year – the 25th anniversary of funding pathways to the future for the children of Immokalee.

The first of the three events is chaired by David Steele. The Inter-Club Challenge golf tournament spreads the word about TIF’s efforts to Southwest Florida’s most prestigious golf communities, whose members learn about the foundation’s programs and often end up becoming supporters. On May 5 at the Bonita Bay Club in Naples, golfers will enjoy a day of competition on the course – but the true winners are the children of Immokalee. “I’m excited that the Inter-Club is almost here,” Steele said. “The thing to watch is the amount of people who come together for such a great cause and the interaction with TIF students.”

For the sixth year, Kevin Johnson of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management is chairman of the Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament, a scramble-style outing to be held Nov. 14 at Bay Colony Golf Club. Each foursome is joined by a professional player for the first nine holes, and another professional player for the second nine holes. “This year will almost certainly be the best as far as the pros who are lined up,” Johnson said. “I think it will be a shock to the people playing because there’s a high possibility of a couple of top 10 PGA Tour players participating this year.” It’s a labor of love for Johnson: “To have fun playing golf and also support The Immokalee Foundation programs, helping the students at the same time, is phenomenal,” he said.

Preceding the Pro-Am on the same weekend is the Charity Classic Celebration at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, on Nov. 11. Chaired by Don O’Neill, Mac McDonald and Jay “Stoney” Stonesifer, the evening includes fine dining, dancing, and live and silent auctions that feature life-changing opportunities and experiences for Immokalee students.

Stonesifer looks back with pride on a decade of involvement with TIF. “We’ve grown from having not one paid employee to an organization that’s extremely well-led and a board that is dedicated not only to sustaining the foundation but also to growing it,” Stonesifer said. “Today, we’re touching the lives of thousands of students and their families.”

McDonald shares that enthusiasm. “I’m very excited to be a part of these events during the organization’s 25th year,” he said.

Ten years ago, McDonald and O’Neill, along with golfer Mark Lye, started the Pro-Am golf tournament and annually recruit an amazing group of talented professionals. In addition, O’Neill and his wife, Ellen, held the first fundraiser for TIF’s Take Stock in Children scholarship program at their home in 2004. He’s happy to continue to be involved in The Immokalee Foundation. “The parents believe in us, the kids end up believing in themselves, and we’ve got a great thing going,” O’Neill said.

Sponsors of the 2016 Inter-Club Challenge, Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am are Florida Community Bank, presenting sponsor; Arthrex Inc. and Caterpillar Inc., partner circle sponsors; Jaguar Naples, Porsche of Naples and Kelly Tractor, education circle sponsors; Naples Illustrated, media sponsor; Huntington Bank, success circle sponsor; and Central Bank, pathways circle sponsor.

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 TIF, its signature events, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

The Immokalee Foundation welcomed a record-setting number of students into Take Stock in Children at the foundation’s recent induction ceremony, where 53 middle and high school students pledged to honor the program’s requirements in order to earn two- or four-year scholarships to Florida state colleges, universities or vocational schools upon graduation from high school.

The Immokalee Foundation, dedicated to providing sustained educational opportunities to Immokalee’s youth, supports and operates the TSIC scholarship and mentoring program in the north Collier County community.

During the ceremony at Immokalee High School, the students – who ranged from seventh to 10th grade – pledged to maintain good grades, stay drug- and crime-free, attend required workshops and events, meet weekly with their TIF mentors and volunteer in the community.

Parents and mentors also took pledges during the induction ceremony. Parents pledged to support and encourage their children and to communicate with TSIC and school officials if their students need additional assistance. For mentors, the pledge included a commitment to meet with their mentees once a week in Immokalee and provide academic support and motivation.

Scholarships for the incoming TSIC students were made possible by generous donors who purchased scholarships at the 2015 Charity Classic Celebration and Fund A Dream auction, a live bidding experience providing benefactors the unique chance to support the young people of Immokalee by giving directly to the children. One hundred percent of the money raised during the Fund A Dream auction at the Charity Classic Celebration benefits TSIC programs, and all contributions are 100 percent tax-deductible.

Following a welcome by The Immokalee Foundation’s Executive Director Steven Kissinger and the Pledge of Allegiance led by TSIC student Benjamin Lucio, the audience heard a keynote address from TSIC alumna Technie Fabian. “The Immokalee Foundation is so helpful in a variety of ways,” Fabian said. “They help with jobs, how to find the right college to achieve your goals, how to dress for success and most importantly, how to reach your dreams. With support from your family and The Immokalee Foundation, there should never be a reason not to reach your dreams.”

Luis Trejo is the father of three children; his youngest is a TIF Take Stock in Children student. “My only regret in life is not being able to go to college,” he told the audience of more than 200. “When my oldest son graduated, I couldn’t afford to pay for college, and he had to drop out. My middle son worked to help pay for his college. Mark [the youngest] always showed an interest in learning, and I wanted him to continue … a friend encouraged us to complete an application. I’ll never forget when he was inducted; I cried when we returned home that night. The Immokalee Foundation has given me and my family peace and hope. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have done for my son – and so many others like him.”

After a mentor address by Carol Medea and the presentation of the inductees’ Take Stock certificates, The Immokalee Foundation Board Chair Joyce Hagen delivered closing remarks. “We are all proud of you and look forward to seeing you begin your journey and achieving your dreams,” Hagen said. “All of us at The Immokalee Foundation wish you all the best as you set upon your pathway to success.”

The TSIC selection committee for 2016 included Linda Ayer, Joe Lee Gallegos, Ann Stallkamp and Dee Zednik, TIF supporters who are passionate about the foundation and believe in the students’ potential.

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Joyce Hagen, Luis Vasquez, Mauricio Trejo, Ana Vega-Arreola, Ariana Ruiz, Steven Kissinger

The Immokalee Foundation welcomed a record-setting number of students into Take Stock in Children at the foundation’s recent induction ceremony, where 53 middle and high school students pledged to honor the program’s requirements in order to earn two- or four-year scholarships to Florida state colleges, universities or vocational schools upon graduation from high school.

The Immokalee Foundation, dedicated to providing sustained educational opportunities to Immokalee’s youth, supports and operates the TSIC scholarship and mentoring program in the north Collier County community.

During the ceremony at Immokalee High School, the students – who ranged from seventh to 10th grade – pledged to maintain good grades, stay drug- and crime-free, attend required workshops and events, meet weekly with their TIF mentors and volunteer in the community.

Parents and mentors also took pledges during the induction ceremony. Parents pledged to support and encourage their children and to communicate with TSIC and school officials if their students need additional assistance. For mentors, the pledge included a commitment to meet with their mentees once a week in Immokalee and provide academic support and motivation.

Scholarships for the incoming TSIC students were made possible by generous donors who purchased scholarships at the 2015 Charity Classic Celebration and Fund A Dream auction, a live bidding experience providing benefactors the unique chance to support the young people of Immokalee by giving directly to the children. One hundred percent of the money raised during the Fund A Dream auction at the Charity Classic Celebration benefits TSIC programs, and all contributions are 100 percent tax-deductible.

Following a welcome by The Immokalee Foundation’s Executive Director Steven Kissinger and the Pledge of Allegiance led by TSIC student Benjamin Lucio, the audience heard a keynote address from TSIC alumna Technie Fabian. “The Immokalee Foundation is so helpful in a variety of ways,” Fabian said. “They help with jobs, how to find the right college to achieve your goals, how to dress for success and most importantly, how to reach your dreams. With support from your family and The Immokalee Foundation, there should never be a reason not to reach your dreams.”

Luis Trejo is the father of three children; his youngest is a TIF Take Stock in Children student. “My only regret in life is not being able to go to college,” he told the audience of more than 200. “When my oldest son graduated, I couldn’t afford to pay for college, and he had to drop out. My middle son worked to help pay for his college. Mark [the youngest] always showed an interest in learning, and I wanted him to continue … a friend encouraged us to complete an application. I’ll never forget when he was inducted; I cried when we returned home that night. The Immokalee Foundation has given me and my family peace and hope. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you have done for my son – and so many others like him.”

After a mentor address by Carol Medea and the presentation of the inductees’ Take Stock certificates, The Immokalee Foundation Board Chair Joyce Hagen delivered closing remarks. “We are all proud of you and look forward to seeing you begin your journey and achieving your dreams,” Hagen said. “All of us at The Immokalee Foundation wish you all the best as you set upon your pathway to success.”

The TSIC selection committee for 2016 included Linda Ayer, Joe Lee Gallegos, Ann Stallkamp and Dee Zednik, TIF supporters who are passionate about the foundation and believe in the students’ potential.

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

The Immokalee Foundation recently announced the installation of the organization’s 2016-17 board of directors.

Board members at large are Joyce Hagen, chair; Alison Douglas, secretary; Jim Markiewicz, treasurer; Michael Benson; Chuck Campbell; Luis Cartagena; John Costigan; Curt Culver; Don Gunther; John Henry; Cynthia Janssen; Kevin Johnson; Mac McDonald; Pete Negri; Don O’Neill; Louise Penta; Bob Schoonmaker; Ann Stallkamp; Pablo Veintimilla; and Joe Zednik.

Board emeritus members are George Franks, Blake Gable, Skip Hildebrand, Will Larson, Lisa Merritt, Peggy Redlinger and Dick Stonesifer.

“The Immokalee Foundation board of directors, staff, team and supporters continually amaze and inspire us,” said Steven Kissinger, TIF executive director. “Supporting and motivating the students of Immokalee is rewarding – especially when we witness their achievements firsthand.”

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Joyce Hagen

The Immokalee Foundation recently announced the installation of the organization’s 2016-17 board of directors.

Board members at large are Joyce Hagen, chair; Alison Douglas, secretary; Jim Markiewicz, treasurer; Michael Benson; Chuck Campbell; Luis Cartagena; John Costigan; Curt Culver; Don Gunther; John Henry; Cynthia Janssen; Kevin Johnson; Mac McDonald; Pete Negri; Don O’Neill; Louise Penta; Bob Schoonmaker; Ann Stallkamp; Pablo Veintimilla; and Joe Zednik.

Board emeritus members are George Franks, Blake Gable, Skip Hildebrand, Will Larson, Lisa Merritt, Peggy Redlinger and Dick Stonesifer.

“The Immokalee Foundation board of directors, staff, team and supporters continually amaze and inspire us,” said Steven Kissinger, TIF executive director. “Supporting and motivating the students of Immokalee is rewarding – especially when we witness their achievements firsthand.”

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor, making a donation, including TIF in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

2015 AFP Award Winner Alfredo Villalobos

Steve Becker, a math teacher and director of the IT Academy at Immokalee High School, will compete in a 12.5-mile open-water swim race Saturday, June 13, in the annual Florida Keys Community College Swim Around Key West. Becker is swimming in support of The Immokalee
Foundation, with a goal to raise $2,500 for the organization.

The June competition marks the fifth time Becker is participating in the strenuous event. “This year, I hope to break my personal record of fi ve hours,” Becker said. “Like The Immokalee Foundation’s mission of building pathways to success through dedication and hard work, a swim race of this magnitude demands a strict training schedule. I swim two miles daily in a pool, and then I do a fi ve-mile open-water swim in the Gulf of Mexico on the weekends.”

Becker’s commitment to The Immokalee Foundation exceeds a 12.5-mile swim: He is deeply dedicated to TIF’s career development program, which helps students refine academic skills, guides them through a process of career goal-setting, and increases their knowledge of career opportunities. The program also infuses innovative ideas to attract students who seek alternative choices in their education.

After spending 25 years in corporate America, Becker decided to make a career change and began teaching at Immokalee High School in 2009.
He recognized that some students’ needs were unfulfilled and began helping them during lunch and after school to prepare for the ACT test, a national college admissions exam that tests students’ knowledge in English, math, reading and science. Around the same time, TIF was creating after-school programs and summer academies to build students’ confidence for college-level courses and future career opportunities. Becker was approached by a TIF program manager and asked if he would be interested in joining forces. A natural alignment took place, and Becker immediately became involved and is an avid supporter of TIF.

As the mother of a diabetic son, Louise Penta took notice when she met eighth grader Alejandro “Alex” Arreguin a few years ago. Penta, a mentor in The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program and a TIF board member, was attending a Take Stock in Children induction ceremony and sat at a table with Arreguin and his family. She was chatting with Arreguin’s mother when she handed him an insulin pen. His mother
explained that he had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

It was then that Penta knew fate had stepped in, as her own son was a
diabetic and had been for many years. When it came time to
match Arreguin with a mentor, Penta volunteered, believing that
she could be a great asset with her knowledge and experience of
the disease. She was correct. Arreguin credits her for not only helping
him academically, but also emotionally and personally. “She’s helped me with everything,” Arreguin said. “She’s like a second mom. She guides and encourages me, and helps me if I’m struggling.”

Penta has been named “Mentor of the Year” for the state of Florida by the Take Stock in Children program. She’s been Arreguin’s mentor since he was in eighth grade. TIF staff members and Arreguin nominated Penta for the prestigious honor.

TIF’s Captiva Island trip donated by Paul McCarthy of Captiva Cruises.

Check out TIF’s 2010 Girl’s Soccer Club in action.

TIF recognizes the achievements of 60 students.

The TIF crew builds a float for Christmas Around the World.

TIF students and staff gather for lunch in Immokalee.

Behind the scenes during the filming of “We Are Immokalee.”

2013 You Make My Dreams Come True

2013 Graduation Ceremony

Hope is for all who love life and its endless possibilities

For Supporting the Building Project of the Deanna Franks Learning Center

The Immokalee Foundation’s 2010 Fund A Dream™ Video

Vocational Success alum Edgar Robles shares his story.

Get to know TIF through the eyes of Immokalee’s kids.

We’ve just completed a new Public Service Announcement.

TIF Spanish-language PSA, produced and first aired in Aug ’10.

Get to know TIF through the eyes of Maria.

Get to know TIF through the eyes of Rose.

Get to know TIF through the eyes of Alex.

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.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

 

For more details, check out the Collier Citizen article by clicking the link below.

Like many students involved in The Immokalee Foundation and its programs, Jesus Velazco has had his fair share of challenges. He struggled to learn the English language after coming to Immokalee from his native Mexico, and school was difficult as a result. But, Velazco was determined to build a better future for himself.

By the time he was in fourth grade, his grades had improved and he discovered a love of soccer. He also met a man that would change his life: Manny Touron, a former principal at Lake Trafford Elementary, Immokalee Middle and Immokalee High schools, and a TIF mentor.

Touron said from the moment he met Jesus, he recognized something special, “There was always a sense of maturity and great leadership qualities. Jesus was always the first person at practice and the last to leave. The kids looked up to him for direction. I knew big things were coming for him.”

He was right. As a freshman, Velazco entered the foundation’s Take Stock in Children program, a scholarship and mentoring program that provides students with the opportunity to attend four years of college tuition free if they earn good grades, exhibit good behavior and meet weekly with a mentor. Although Velazco didn’t know it at the time, his involvement with TIF, and the people he would meet along the way, would help pave his path toward achieving his dreams.

John Henry, a TIF board member and mentor, met Velazco before he entered TSIC his freshman year. Thanks to Touron, “Manny knew I was involved in the Take Stock in Children program so he called me. He told me he had a guy I needed to interview; a remarkable young man and we should give him a shot.” Henry agreed to the interview. That year, TIF accepted 25 kids into the program and Velazco was one of them. The TSIC scholarship made him realize that if he worked hard, he could go to college. It changed everything.

Privacy Policy

This is the web site of The Immokalee Foundation

Our postal address is 3960 Radio Road, Suite 207,Naples, FL, 34104.

We can be reached via e-mail at info@theimmokaleefoundation.org or you can reach us by telephone at (239) 430-9122.

We collect the domain name and e-mail address (where possible) of visitors to our Web page, the e-mail addresses of those who communicate with us via e-mail, and aggregate information on what pages consumers access or visit. The information we collect is used to improve the content of our Web page.

With respect to cookies: We do not set any cookies.

If you do not want to receive e-mail from us in the future, please let us know by sending us e-mail at the above address or writing to us at the above address.

How You Can Help Us Shape the Future

The Immokalee Foundation’s (TIF) programs are made possible by the generosity and commitment of our supporters. We are devoted to enhancing the lives of Immokalee’s next generation and stimulating economic independence by providing pathways to success to break the cycle of poverty. We need your support and we thank you for your shared interest in building pathways to success for the children of Immokalee.

 

Monetary Gifts

Recurring monthly gifts or a one-time gift greatly assists our mission in Immokalee. You can Donate Today on our website or contact us at (239) 430-9122.

Matching Gifts

Maximize your commitment to TIF by participating in your employer’s matching gift program. Leveraging employees’ gifts sends the message that outcomes-driven philanthropy is valued and demonstrates a shared support of employers and the generosity of their employees.

It’s easy – just ask your HR department for the matching gift form, sign and send your donation; we will do the rest.

Corporate Gifts

The Immokalee Foundations works with corporations to customize a partnership that expresses their philanthropic goals and corporate culture.

There are several ways to support us: donate gifts or services, match your employee’s contributions, sponsor or underwrite an event, or serve on a committee. Whatever you choose, we’re positive that you’ll be proud of your company’s investment. TIF provides corporations the opportunity to have their business recognized in front of a unique and highly philanthropic donor base.

Appreciated Stocks & Securities

Gifts of stock may be given directly or used to fund charitable gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts. Donating stock owned for longer than one year can allow for a deduction of the full fair market value of the stock as a charitable contribution, not just the original cost. A donor may also realize additional tax savings because donating appreciated stock to a qualified charity such as The Immokalee Foundation can allow one to bypass capital gains taxes. This can result in significant saving if the value of the stock has substantially increased since it was purchased.

IRA Rollovers

Donors ages 70 ½ or older may be eligible to transfer up to $100,000 from their IRAs direct to qualified charities, such as The Immokalee Foundation without having to pay federal taxes on the money. Please consult your tax advisor to learn if you may be eligible to take advantage of the IRA Charitable Rollover

Bequests & Beneficiary Designations

Leave a legacy – by supporting our programs, you can keep changing lives. Support The Immokalee Foundation by leaving a charitable gift through your will or trust agreement.

Memorials or Honorariums

Remember your loved ones with a gift in their honor. There are many opportunities to sponsor a program, an event, an education or an experience in the name of your loved ones.

Volunteer & Mentor

Our mentors are our angels. These special individuals meet with the students during their lunch hour. The role of a mentor is to serve as a student’s friend, coach, and supporter. Mentors will often work with a student from seventh grade through college graduation, allowing the mentor to truly experience growth and success with the student. Our students cite this sense of partnership as the most important ingredient to their success. Mentors can work with students in academic or athletic contexts.

Volunteers lend their time and expertise to specific programs or agency needs. These needs range from event planning and office support to program administration and advisory committee membership. Please contact us to discuss your interests and our needs. All volunteers and mentors must be eligible to work with students. We reserve the right to conduct background checks for each volunteer or mentor to ensure eligibility.


 

  • Have a moment to tell us more? Click here.
  • TIF will not share your information with third parties. See our full privacy policy.

Lend your time to TIF

Help our students navigate their formative — and challenging — years by becoming a mentor and volunteer.

Mentors traditionally meet with the students during their lunch hour. The role of a mentor is to serve as a student’s friend, coach, and supporter. Mentors will often work with a student from seventh grade through college graduation, allowing the mentor to truly experience growth and success with the student. Our students cite this sense of partnership as the most important ingredient to their success. Mentors can work with students in academic or athletic contexts.

Volunteers lend their time and expertise to specific programs or agency needs. These needs range from event planning and office support to program administration and advisory committee membership. Please contact us to discuss your interests and our needs.

All volunteers and mentors must be eligible to work with students. We reserve the right to conduct background checks of each volunteer or mentor to ensure eligibility.


 

  • Have a moment to tell us more? Click here.
  • TIF will not share your information with third parties. See our full privacy policy.


May 9, 2017
   Graduation Ceremony


Nov. 12, 2017
   Pro-Am Pairings Party at The Old Collier Golf  Club


Nov. 13, 2017
   Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club


 

program_community_grants

Community Collaborations

One of The Immokalee Foundation’s oldest programs, Community Collaborations has provided over $2.5 million in project-specific collaborations with Immokalee community organizations since 1991. Community Collaborations has helped a local elementary school to keep its library open during the summer, a reading organization to give pre-kindergarten students books for their homes, a health organization to provide children in need with emergency medical services — assistance that allows Immokalee’s next generation to keep its eye on educational success.

program_direct_scholarships

Direct Scholarships

Since 1991, the Direct Scholarships program has provided more than $500,000 in college and vocational training scholarships to graduating high school seniors. The college scholarship is a cash award that provides recipients with $2,000 a year, renewable over four years, for a total of $8,000. The vocational award provides a $2,000 tuition scholarship and is renewable in the second year for up to $4,000. Students must meet specific criteria to earn and maintain funding.

program_college_success

Post-Secondary & Career Success

The Post-Secondary & Career Success program provides ongoing mentorship for students, helping them to set up individual academic plans that allow them to graduate from college. The program assists students as they navigate the complex world of financial aid and helps them develop important life skills such as financial responsibility, time management, and study habits — skills that will benefit them now and later in life.

career dev image

Career Development

Students can plan to attend a technical school, college, join the military, or go directly into work. As a result of our Career Development program, students will make that decision with full knowledge of the available choices in the career paths they are seeking by giving young people the tools and ability to realistically plan their future the students will achieve success. The program will guide students through a step by step discovery process through their educational and occupational desires. The students will attend various workshops that teach the application process for college, technical school, scholarships and activities that support advanced training and education through career development and readiness.

program_take_stock

Take Stock in Children

In 2001, The Immokalee Foundation brought Take Stock in Children (TSIC) to Immokalee. Since then, the program has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships. Qualified seventh-grade students who successfully fulfill their required pledge to earn good grades, exhibit good behavior, remain crime and drug free, and meet weekly with a mentor are awarded a full college scholarship upon high school graduation.

program_immokalee_readers

Immokalee Readers

Designed to target the lowest performing student readers and complement the reading instruction students receive during their regular school day, the Immokalee Readers program matches high school-aged tutors with elementary age children to provide intensive and enjoyable reading lessons. With a curriculum lead by certified teachers and aligned with Sunshine State Standards, all students make measurable gains. This is a unique model and is the most intensive reading intervention program in Immokalee. Because many Immokalee students use other languages at home, the additional training in English-language usage is especially important. As an added benefit, the high school tutors have shown improvements in overall reading proficiency.

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TIF Staff

  • Steven Kissinger
    Executive Director
  • Linda Avalos
    Administrative Assistant, Program Services
  • Amber Barr
    Program Specialist, After-School Tutoring
  • Laura Cadiz
    Administrator
  • George Camp
    Data Entry Specialist
  • Yeimi Casteneda
    Student Services Coordinator, Take Stock in Children
  • Victoria Grimaldo
    Program Events Coordinator
  • Daniel Hernandez
    Program Specialist, Post-Secondary & Career Success
  • Elda Hernandez
    Program Services Manager
  • Michelle Kennedy
    Mentor & Volunteer Coordinator
  • Yasmin Mohammed
    Finance Director
  • Noemi Perez
    Program Services Director
  • Savannah Perry
    Development Assistant
  • Marisol Sanders
    Program Specialist, Immokalee Readers
  • Laura Simmelink
    Stewardship and Donor Relations Director
  • Yaresly Trejo
    Program Specialist, Take Stock in Children
  • John Vinton
    Program Specialist, Career Development
  • Kelsey Wright
    Development Coordinator

Board of Directors

  • Joyce Hagen

    Joyce Hagen

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    Affiliations:

    • Foundation Trustee and Foundation Board Vice Chair, University of Louisville
    • Board of Trustees and Capital Campaign Co-Chair, Valparaiso University
    • Board of Trustees, Bellarmine University
    • Former Board of Trustees, University of Louisville
    • Former Board of Trustees, Louisville Opera
    • Former Board of Trustees, Louisville Kidney Foundation
    • Former Commerce Board, Kentucky Chamber

    Professional Experience:

    • Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Executive VP, AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies
    • President, Southeast Regional, AmeriHealth Mercy Family Health Plans
    • CEO, Passport Healthplan; Senior VP, Blue Cross of Kentucky
    • Senior Consultants, Ernst and Young; Director of Health Service, Cigna Health Plan
    Chair, Board of Directors
  • Alison Douglas

    Alison Douglas

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    Education: 

    • Rutgers University, B.A.
    • Cornell Law School, J.D.

    Affiliations:

    • Estate Planning Council of Collier County
    • Florida Bar Association
    • Connecticut Bar Association
    • Planned Parenthood of Collier County, Board of Directors
    • Foster Care Council, Board of Directors
    • Community Foundation of Collier County, Director Emeritus

    Professional Experience:

    • Cummings & Lockwood, Principal
    • Florida Private Clients’ Group, Chair
    Board Secretary
  • James Markiewicz

    James Markiewicz

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    Bio Coming Soon!

    Board Treasurer
  • Michael Benson

    Michael Benson

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    Affiliations:

    • Trustee- Naples Historical Society
    • Trustee- The Abused Women and Children
    • Genesis Trustee- Imagine Solutions
    • Past Board Chairman – David Lawrence center

    Professional Experience:

    • Insurance Management Consultants, Chairman and CEO
    Board Member
  • Charles Campbell

    Charles Campbell

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    Education: 

    • Stanford University, BA
    • University of Chicago, MBA
    • U.S. Army officer

    Affiliations:

    • Bonita Bay Club, Advisory Board Former Member
    • Bonita Bay Club, Board of Directors Treasurer
    • Bonita Bay Club, Board of Directors Finance Committee Chairman
    • Knollwood Club, Lake Forest, Ill., Former Treasurer

    Professional Experience:

    • Arthur Andersen & Co, CPA
    • Partner of a strategic management consulting firm
    Board Member
  • Luis Cartagena

    Luis Cartagena

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    Bio Coming Soon!

    Board Member
  • John Costigan

    John Costigan

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    Education: 

    • Fordham University, BA (1964)
    • Columbia University, LLB (1967)
    • University of Chicago, MBA (1978)

    Affiliations:

    • Metropolitan Family Services, Board of Directors (social service agency in Chicago)
    • Columbia University School of Law, Board of Visitors

    Professional Experience:

    • Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Premark International, Inc. (1986–1999)
    • Vice President and Associate General Counsel, and Vice President for Investor Relations, Kraft, Inc. (1970–1986)
    • Attorney, Bigham, Englar, Jones & Houston (1967–1970)
    Board Member
  • Curt Culver

    Curt Culver

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    Bio coming soon!

    Board Member
  • Don Gunther

    Don Gunther

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    Education: 

    • BSCE – University of Missouri Science & Technology

    Affiliations:

    • Ingage Networks, Chairman of the Board
    • Naples Children & Education Foundation, Past Chairman
    • Naples Winter Wine Festival, Past Chairman
    • Bay Colony Community Association,  Past Chairman
    • ASCE and ASME,  Retired member

    Professional Experience:

    • Bechtel Group,  Retired Vice Chairman
    • Construction Industry Institute Executive Committee, Former member f
    • Recipient of the CII Award of Excellence
    • World Economic Forum Board of Governors, Former Member
    • World Energy Council, Former Member
    • United States Energy Association, the U. S.–Russia Business, Former Member of the Boards of directors of the Council, and the British-North American Committee
    Board Member
  • Cynthia Janssen

    Cynthia Janssen

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    Education:

    • University of Kansas – Ph.D. (1982), M.S. E. (1977)
    • Emporia State University, KS – B.S.E. (1973)

    Affiliations:

    • Leadership Collier Class of 2008
    • Immokalee High School Restructuring Committee/Community Assessment Team Chair
    • Take Stock in Children, Mentor
    • Southwest Florida Workforce Development, Board Member
    • United Way Campaign, Co-Chair
    • CCPS Character Council of Collier County, Board Member

    Professional Experience:

    • CCPS, Assistant Superintendent & Chief Academic Officer (2004–08)
    • Baltimore City Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent (1997–2004)
    • New York City Public Schools, District 75 Superintendent (1992–97)
    • Philadelphia Public Schools, Director & Administrator (1982–92)
    • University of Kansas, Research Assistant & Statistics Tutor (1978–82)
    • Kansas Department of Education, Principal & Teacher (1973–78)
    Board Member
  • Kevin Johnson

    Kevin Johnson

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    Education:

    • Florida Atlantic University, Bachelor of Science in Economics

    Affiliations:

    • The Immokalee Foundation - Pro-Am Chair
    • Naples Take a Soldier Fishing - Committee member
    • National Kidney Foundation of Florida, Golf Committee Member
    • Nike Tour and Golden Bear Tour Professional Golf Tours, Former Participant
    • South West Florida Council Boy Scouts of America - Former District Chairman
    • The First Tee Naples / Collier - Board Member / Trustee
    Board Member
  • Malcolm "Mac" McDonald

    Malcolm "Mac" McDonald

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    Education:

    • B.B.A. Finance – University of Minnesota

    Professional Experience:

    • Banker
    • Signet Banking Company of Richmond, VA, Retired Chairman and CEO
    Board Member
  • Peter Negri

    Peter Negri

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    Education:

    • Boston College, BS
    • Tuck School, Dartmouth College, MBA

    Affiliations:

    • Remington Condo Board, President
    • Garden City Golf Club, Member
    • Garden City Country Club, Member
    • Bay Colony Golf Club, Member
    • Committee to Save St. Paul’s, President
    • Village of Garden City, Former Trustee

    Professional Experience:

    • Bearing Specialists Association, Former President
    Board Member
  • Don O'Neill

    Don O'Neill

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    Education: 

    • Malvern Preparatory School
    • Dartmouth College, B.A. Economics

    Affiliations:

    • PM Company, Board of Directors
    • Beneficial Mutual Savings Bank, Board of Directors
    • World Presidents Organization, Member
    • Take Stock in Children, Mentor

    Professional Experience:

    • PM Company, Chairman
    Board Member
  • Louise Penta

    Louise Penta

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    Education:

    • Formally trained as an operating room nurse

    Affiliations:

    • Beach Garden Representative of Barefoot Beach Owner’s Association, Board of Directors
    • Joslin Diabetes Center, Member
    • Joslin Diabetes Center Diamond Gala in 2006, Chairperson
    • Boston University School of Medicine,  Member
    • Take Stock in Children, Mentor
    Board Member
  • Steve Pryor

    Steve Pryor

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    Bio coming soon!

    Board Member
  • Robert Schoonmaker

    Robert Schoonmaker

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    Bio Coming Soon!

    Board Member
  • Ann Stallkamp

    Ann Stallkamp

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    Bio Coming Soon!

    Board Member
  • Pablo Veintimilla

    Pablo Veintimilla

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    Education:

    • University of South Florida, B.A. in Business Administration
    • University of South Florida, Master of Business  Administration
    • ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking

    Affiliations:

    • Lee Memorial Health System Foundation, Board of Directors and Finance Committee
    • Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida,  Advisory Council Member
    • St. Francis Xavier School, Finance Committee
    • David Lawrence Center, Board of Directors
    • David Lawrence Center, Former  Executive committee and Prior Chairman of Finance Committee

    Professional Experience:

    • Southwest Florida for Stonegate Bank, Market President
    • Hillcrest Bank Florida, Past CFO, Interim President, and CEO
    • Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Past CFO& Treasurer
    • DSI Laboratories, Past CFO & Controller
    • First National Bank of Florida, Past  Assistant Vice President
    • Nations Bank, Assistant Vice President
    • Barnett Bank, Relationship Banking Officer
    Board Member
  • Joseph Zednik

    Joseph Zednik

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    Education:

    • Illinois Institute of Technology Economics, English, and Liberal Arts; Bachelor of Arts in 1964

    Affiliations:

    • Prescient Ridge Management, LLC, Chairman
    • Chicago Board of Trade, Former Member
    • Chicago Board of Options, Former Member
    • Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Former Member
    • Eurex National Futures Association, Former Member
    • Take Stock in Children, Mentor

    Professional Experience:

    • Montgomery Ward, Manager of Data Processing
    • Independent Trader in Chicago
    • LakeShore Trading, LLC, CEO
    • Prescient Ridge Fund, LLC, CEO
    Board Member
  • George Franks

    George Franks

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    Education: 

    • Christian Brothers University, B.S. Mechanical Engineering

    Affiliations:

    • Commons “R” Assoc.  President, Board of Directors
    • Commons “A” Assoc.  President, Board of Directors
    • LeCiel Park Tower Assoc. V. P., Board of Directors
    • Bay Colony Golf Club, Membership Committee
    • Christian Brothers University, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year (1998)

    Professional Experience:

    • Teletype Corp., Research and Development
    • Senior Industries, Inc., Founder/Sole Owner
    • Granted over 50 U.S. Patents
    Board Emeritus
  • Blake Gable

    Blake Gable

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    Education:

    • Tulane University, B.A. History
    • Florida Gulf Coast University, M.B.A.

    Affiliations:

    • United Way, Board of Directors
    • Randy Roberts Foundation, Board of Directors
    • Leadership Florida program, Leadership Council of Advisors
    • YMCA, Trustee

    Professional Experience:

    • Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Ed Pastor (AZ)
    • Barron Collier Companies, Project Manager for the Town of Ave Maria
    • Barron Collier Companies, President of Real Estate Development and Mineral Management
    Board Emeritus
  • John Henry

    John Henry

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    Education: 

    • Amherst College, BA
    • Harvard Business School, MBA

    Affiliations:

    • David Lawrence Foundation, Board of Directors
    • Chester County Community Foundation, Secretary/Treasurer
    • Chester County Futures, Chairman
    • Waynesborough Country Club, President  & Treasurer
    • Take Stock in Children, Mentor

    Professional Experience:

    • Rex Medical, LLP, COO/Partner
    • Keystone Natural Water, CEO
    • Abar Ipsen International, CEO
    • King Fifth Wheel, Group Vice President
    • Arthur Young & Co., Principal
    Board Emeritus
  • W.R. "Skip" Hildebrand

    W.R. "Skip" Hildebrand

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    Affiliations:

    • Savanah United Way, Past Board Member

    Professional Experience:

    • Fiatallis Inc., CEO
    • Great Dane Trailers, CEO
    • Bucyrus International, CEO
    • Schwitzer Inc., Director
    • Carolina Steel Corporation, Director
    • Qualitor Inc., Director
    • LeeBoy Inc., Director
    • Bucyrus International, Director
    Board Emeritus
  • Will Larson

    Will Larson

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    Education: 

    • University of Pennsylvania, B.S. in Economics

    Affiliations:

    • M & T Bank, Board of Directors
    • Pratt & Lambert, Board of Directors
    • Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Chairman
    • Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Vice Chairman
    • Greater Buffalo Development Foundation, Vice Chairman

    Professional Experience:

    • Westwood Squibb Pharmaceuticals, President & CEO
    • Bristol Myers Squibb, Senior Vice President
    Board Emeritus
  • Lisa Merritt

    Lisa Merritt

    Close

    Education: 

    • Arizona State University, B.A. in Business Administration & P.R. Communications
    • Nova Southeastern University, Certificate of Financial Planning

    Affiliations:

    • Conservancy of SW Florida, Director (2007–Present)
    • David Lawrence Foundation, Chairman (2001–2003)
    • Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, Chairman (2002)
    • Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, Board Member (1996–2002)

    Professional Experience:

    • JP Morgan Private Bank, S.W. Florida Market Manager (Present)
    • Chase Manhattan Personal Financial Services, District Manager (Former)
    • Integrated Living Communities, a NASDAQ listed assisted living company, Prior Director
    Board Emeritus
  • Peggy Redlinger

    Peggy Redlinger

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    Affiliations:

    • Christ Child Society of Naples, Member
    • First Books of Naples, Member
    • Take Stock in Children, Mentor
    Board Emeritus
  • Jay "Dick" Stonesifer

    Jay "Dick" Stonesifer

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    Education: 

    • Teterboro School of Aeronautics
    • Harvard AMP

    Affiliations:

    • Bay Colony Golf Club, Member
    • Old Collier Golf Club, Member
    • Covenant Presbyterian Church, Member

    Professional Experience:

    • GE Appliances, Retired CEO
    Board Emeritus

Partner Agencies & Corporate Sponsors

  • Arthrex, Inc.
  • Ave Maria University
  • BNY Mellon Wealth Management
  • Barron Collier Companies
  • Bay Colony Golf Club
  • Bessemer Trust
  • Bigham Jewelers
  • Bleu Provence
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Camp Deerwood
  • Camp Joslin
  • Captiva Cruises
  • Cason Photography
  • Caterpillar Foundation
  • Central Bank
  • Charlie McDonald Photography
  • Collier County Courthouse
  • Collier County Public Schools
  • Collier County Sheriff's Office
  • Collier Enterprises
  • Corn Products Intl.
  • Corporate Dimensions, Inc.
  • Cummings & Lockwood LLC
  • FMC Technologies
  • Facial Plastic Surgery Center
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Fites Family Charitable Trust
  • Fleming’s Steakhouse
  • Florida Community Bank
  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Florida SouthWestern State College
  • Florida State University College of Medicine
  • Florida Weekly
  • GE Foundation
  • Galaxy Golf
  • Gantrade Corporation
  • Golfsmith
  • Guidance Program for Success
  • Gulfshore Playhouse
  • HSBC - North America
  • Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club
  • Haynes Corporation
  • Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida
  • Hilton Naples
  • Hodges University
  • Huntington Bank
  • IBERIABANK
  • Immokalee Chamber of Commerce
  • Immokalee Fire Control District
  • Immokalee Technical Center
  • Inn on FIfth
  • Insurance Management Consultants, LLC
  • JBT Corporation
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Jaguar Naples
  • Kelly Tractor / Kelly Foundation, Inc.
  • Kingsley Pines
  • Lipman Produce
  • Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
  • MCreative PR LLC
  • Marilyn's on Fifth
  • McKenney Home Care
  • McQuaid & Company
  • Montecalvo & Associates
  • Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management
  • NCH Healthcare Systems, Inc.
  • Naples Children & Education Foundation
  • Naples Daily News
  • Naples Illustrated
  • Norman Love Confections
  • Pelican Isle Yacht Club
  • Pelican Marsh Nine Holers
  • Pelican Marsh Tennis Club
  • Porsche of Naples
  • Preferred Travel of Naples, Inc.
  • Publix Supermarkets, Inc.
  • Purely You Spa, LLC
  • Quail Creek Country Club
  • Rush Foundation, Inc.
  • Salazar Machine & Steel
  • Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
  • Seasons 52
  • Shula’s Steakhouse
  • Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, Inc.
  • Sunshine Ace / A Wynn Family Company
  • Take Stock in Children
  • The Arlington of Naples
  • The Hertz Corporation
  • The Jackson Center
  • The News-Press
  • The Old Collier Golf Club
  • The Ritz-Carlon Golf Resort, Naples
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
  • Thomas Riley Artisans Guild
  • Tory’s Total Hair Care
  • Vergina
  • WPX Energy

Where We Are

Immokalee, located in southwestern Florida, is home to one of the nation’s largest migrant communities. During the winter, the population is approximately 40,000, but in the summer it dwindles to 20,000, when workers (and often their families) migrate to other states. Immokalee is a town where extreme poverty and hardship live side by side with inspiring hope and ambition. Our goal is to help Immokalee’s next generation turn that hope into reality.

By The Numbers

1,016

Number of TIF students, served through our direct service programs

100%

High School Graduation Rate for students who participate in our programs

432

Number of elementary students in our Immokalee Readers program

85%

Post-secondary graduation rate of TIF students (college or vocational pathway)

15

Number career panels available for TIF students this academic year (2015-2016)

19911992199920052009
The Immokalee Foundation (TIF) is founded by Parker Collier and other concerned citizens of Collier County, Florida, to address community needs in the town of Immokalee. Before long, funding for — and awareness of — Immokalee begins to grow. TIF begins disbursing funds to programs and student scholarships, as well as partnering with local organizations like the soup kitchen, homeless shelter, early childhood education center, and medical clinic.
Horse trials become one of the key fundraising activities for TIF. These world-class events are held in Immokalee, attracting equestrian enthusiasts, event participants, and TIF donors, while increasing interest in the plight and spirit of Immokalee’s children and adults. Funds from this annual event are disbursed in the community to support much needed children’s programming and health care. The horse trials continue for the next half decade.
TIF initiates the Millennium Campaign, which brings a range of speakers to Immokalee to discuss world events, history, and culture. Between 1999 and 2001, this campaign raises $2.5 million, which becomes the corpus of TIF’s endowment. In 2001, TIF strikes a partnership with the Take Stock in Children (TSIC) mentoring and scholarship program, which is known as the nation’s premier college access program for students in poverty.
TIF hires its first executive director. A year later, the Lastinger Center of the University of Florida assesses Immokalee’s needs and presents “A Study of Immokalee’s Children: Analysis of Needs & Strategic Actions.” This study is ratified by the Board of Directors in 2007 and lays the groundwork for TIF’s strategic planning process, resulting in TIF’s decision to fund and operate a larger selection of programs.
TIF has programs focused on after-school enrichment, intensive early reading, vocational training, and college preparation and success. TIF helps more than 2,500 students annually and boasts a 94% high school graduation rate.

 

Our Story

Immokalee, a Florida town just 35 miles east of coastal Naples, is home to thousands of working poor who provide not only agricultural produce for much of the nation, but also the vitally needed service staffing for Collier and Lee counties. Many of Immokalee’s residents came to America from Caribbean and Latin American countries, enduring the often tedious travel and nationalization process in order to find better opportunities for their children. Hard work and optimism define the people of Immokalee. Yet according to the 2012 census, nearly 45% of this community lives below the poverty line.

In 1991, philanthropist Parker Collier founded The Immokalee Foundation (TIF) to help improve the future of Immokalee’s children by raising awareness and financial support from neighboring Neapolitans. Board members identified charities, organizations, and programs in Immokalee that could make critical differences in the lives of these children. TIF began to commit financial assistance to initiatives in education, health care, and career development — contributions that would help the children and the community as a whole. During these early years, horse trials comprised the primary fundraising events for TIF.

Toward the end of the 1990s, Collier aimed to expand TIF’s role in the community by administering programs in-house rather than simply funding external programs. This led to the Millennium Campaign, spurring a range of programs centered on an empowerment model that pairs opportunity with accountability. At the time, TIF narrowed its scope to focus specifically on education-based programs.

Six years and several programs later, TIF’s leadership took another look at the community through the 2006 Study of Immokalee’s Children, conducted by Dr. Don Pemberton and his team from the University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning. Clarifying the need for after-school programming, early childhood reading development, and college and vocational training, the study became an important tool in measuring TIF’s impact and shaping its ambitions.  In 2001, TIF’s education-based approach was solidified through its partnership with the statewide Take Stock in Children program for pre-college motivation and preparation.

Heightening TIF’s awareness of the needs, these measurements acted as a catalyst to expand their reach in Immokalee. By 2009, TIF successfully implemented educational programs such as, Immokalee Readers, Heavy Equipment Mechanics, College Success, and Take Stock in Children in Immokalee along with summer enrichment programs, workshops and camp experiences.

For almost 25 years, The Immokalee Foundation has committed itself to strengthening the Immokalee community with programs ranging from early childhood literacy education to college prep and advanced vocational training. Today, TIF fosters a brighter future by building individual Pathways to Success plans that nurtures each child’s development as a student, a citizen and a future professional. The foundation is devoted to enhancing the lives of Immokalee’s next generation by emphasizing education, vocation and life skills through programs that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn, and advance to educational and professional height that they never dreamed possible, leading to economic independence.

Press Center

Welcome to the TIF Press Center. Below you can find a range of resources about current and past news and events, as well as contact information for press inquiries.

Contact Us

If you’re interested in learning more about TIF or would like to get involved, please fill out the form below or call (239) 430-9122.



Our Offices

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Naples

3960 Radio Road
Suite 207
Naples, FL 34104

Phone: (239) 430-9122
Fax: (239) 262-7701
Email: info@immokaleefoundation.org

Address Pin View Map

Immokalee

908 Roberts Ave W
Immokalee, FL 34142

Phone: (239) 657-2461
Fax: (239) 657-2482
Email: info@immokaleefoundation.org

Address Pin View Map

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Point of Contact

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General Inquiries

Main Office

3960 Radio Road
Suite 207
Naples, FL 34104

Phone: (239) 430-9122
Fax: (239) 262-7701
Email: info@immokaleefoundation.org

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May 9, 2017
   Graduation Ceremony


Nov. 12, 2017
   Pro-Am Pairings Party at The Old Collier Golf  Club


Nov. 13, 2017
   Pro-Am at Bay Colony Golf Club


 

The Immokalee Foundation is dedicated to building pathways to success for the children of Immokalee.

We empower Immokalee’s children through programs focused on education, vocation, and life skills that lead to economic independence. The Immokalee Foundation offers students the tools, opportunities, and encouragement they need to succeed at each level of their education and in their careers.

For more details, check out The Banner article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Life in Naples article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Immokalee Bulletin article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Collier Citizen article by clicking the link below.

Philanthropic foursomes from nine of Southwest Florida’s most prestigious communities, golf clubs and The Immokalee Foundation corporate sponsors, along with local club golf pros, recently gathered at The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples to participate in the 2014 Inter-Club Challenge, a lively golf tournament that pits local golf clubs against each other in a friendly rivalry to support a brighter future for the children of Immokalee through The Immokalee Foundation’s education programs. The eighth annual tournament raised $151,268 to benefit Immokalee’s youth.

Kevin Johnson, a TIF board member and member of the Inter-Club committee, was pleased with the event, “The day was awesome. Course conditions were great and we had fun playing.” Most importantly though, was the reason they were all there, “The Inter-Club Challenge provides the unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Immokalee students by giving them the chance to advance themselves socially, civically, economically and academically through TIF programs.”

The Inter-Club Challenge is the first in a series of annual fundraising events aimed to build pathways to success for the children of Immokalee. TIF’s largest fundraiser of the year, the 2014 Charity Classic Celebration, is slated for Nov. 14 at The Ritz Carlton Beach Resort, Naples. The Charity Classic Pro-Am tournament at The Old Collier Golf Club, will take place Monday, Nov. 17.

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.

For the complete story, visit the Press Center.

Philanthropic foursomes from nine of Southwest Florida’s most prestigious communities, golf clubs and The Immokalee Foundation corporate sponsors, along with local club golf pros, recently gathered at The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples to participate in the 2014 Inter-Club Challenge, a lively golf tournament that pits local golf clubs against each other in a friendly rivalry to support a brighter future for the children of Immokalee through The Immokalee Foundation’s education programs. The eighth annual tournament raised $151,268 to benefit Immokalee’s youth.

The tournament included 19 foursomes from area country clubs along with area club golf pros. At day’s end, the Bay Colony team was overall team champions and both the men’s and ladies’ winning teams were from The Old Collier Golf Club. The overall team champions from Bay Colony were Joyce Hagen Fites, Don Fites, Carol Lund, Tom Lund with golf pro Jeff Raimer. The winning men’s team included Clint Harkins, Rick Zona, Dick Stonesifer and Nick Trigony, with pro Steve Waugh. The women’s winning team was Carrie Scanell, Rene Zona, Eileen Golden and Ann Bain, with golf pro Brian Yarusevich. Closest-to-the-pin winners were Harry Rose, Mediterra; Mike Lyons, Bonita Bay; Skip Hildebrand, Mediterra; and Alice Sanneman, The Old Collier Golf Club. The team from Bonita Bay, consisting of Don Boudreau, Bob Herdman, John Howard, Mike Lyons and pro Rick Nalyd, was the winner of the putting contest.

Kevin Johnson, a TIF board member and member of the Inter-Club committee, was pleased with the event, “The day was awesome. Course conditions were great and we had fun playing.” Most importantly though, was the reason they were all there, “The Inter-Club Challenge provides the unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of Immokalee students by giving them the chance to advance themselves socially, civically, economically and academically through TIF programs.”

A team of TIF students, consisting of Alan Cuevas, Charity Gonzalez, Heather Martinez and Rolby Seneus, played as a foursome alongside PGA Professional Mark Fogg. The tournament allowed the students the opportunity to interact with their benefactors and pro golfers. Cuevas, a junior at Immokalee High School and a TIF Take Stock in Children student, not only enjoyed playing in the tournament, but also appreciates the lessons gained through golf, “Golf teaches you patience, builds communication skills and is a great way to network.”

For the TIF supporters, having the opportunity to meet the students whose lives they are directly impacting is often their favorite part of the annual tournament.

“Through TIF, we are giving kids the opportunity to have a career and solid education,” Johnson said. “Seeing how they’ve have grown and matured each year is such a good feeling.”

David Call, a member of the TIF board of directors, appreciates that TIF “takes care of a lot of people. You are able to see where all the money goes. You can see it firsthand – almost every dollar goes back to helping kids in Immokalee.”

Michael Benson, 2014 Inter-Club Challenge chair and TIF board member, is happy to be part of an organization that is making a big different in a community that needs help, “The Immokalee Foundation is a phenomenal, results-oriented organization. One hundred percent of the 700 plus students in the program have graduated.”

The Inter-Club Challenge is the first in a series of annual fundraising events aimed to build pathways to success for the children of Immokalee. TIF’s largest fundraiser of the year, the 2014 Charity Classic Celebration, is slated for Nov. 14 at The Ritz Carlton Beach Resort, Naples. The Charity Classic Pro-Am tournament at The Old Collier Golf Club, will take place Monday, Nov. 17.

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 TIF, signature events, volunteer opportunities or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

The Immokalee Foundation students gained valuable insight from local business leaders during the organization’s third annual networking reception at the Hilton Naples.

The workshop provided 30 high school juniors and seniors in TIF’s Career Development Program the opportunity to interact with some of the area’s top business leaders, sharing their goals, ambitions and how they plan to achieve their life vision. The business executives offered valuable insight about their own experiences and provided real-life lessons important in helping students prepare for their own transition to college and beyond.

Prior to the afternoon’s reception, students were treated to an etiquette luncheon and training by Dawn Magaril and Dirga Buwana, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples. After, students were ready to practice their skills and were prepared to ask questions about their prospective career paths. They worked the room, introducing themselves to more than 30 professionals in a variety of leadership positions from companies including Edison State CollegeArthrex, Coldwell Banker, Hilton Naples, The Print Shop, McKenney Home Care, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Central Bank, Bay Colony Golf Club, NCH Healthcare Systems and Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations. In addition, several TIF board members, staff, ambassadors and mentors gave their encouragement and advice to the students they support all year long.

In preparation for the April networking reception, Lori Kleiman, an entrepreneur and member of National Speakers Association, hosted a networking training for the students in March.

Arthrex’s Connie Byrne was impressed with the students, “There’s a lot of smart kids; I like to see new talent. Once they finish their secondary education, I would love for them to return to the area. It’s important for them to know about job opportunities in Southwest Florida.”

Each student gained priceless networking knowledge of how to share necessary and interesting details in a concise and compelling manner. They created and exchanged business cards, which included their college major, in hopes of making connections that could further their potential job opportunities.

Jovenel Benjamin, a member of TIF’s Take Stock in Children program, has dreams of attending Edison, then transferring to receive a degree in mechanical engineering. “It’s great to meet people with connections and beneficial to have confidence when meeting new people.”

The face-to-face interaction is crucial in helping these future business leaders build confidence. Plus, socializing with such a diverse group of businesspeople allows them to understand the wide variety of options available to them in the workforce.

Louise Penta, a TIF board member and mentor to four students, was particularly proud of the students. She is in Immokalee three to four times a week so knows and understands their challenges and their goals, “These kids are so polite and want to learn; they’ve come such a long way.”

The day was made possible by the generosity of Hilton Naples and Shula’s Steak House, who were underwriters of the Career Development Etiquette Luncheon and Networking Reception. In addition, TIF corporate sponsors include Arthrex, Hope Society; GE Foundation, Corporate Matching Sponsor; Fifth Third, Founding Sponsor; Porsche of Naples and Naples Jaguar, Education Circle; Naples Illustrated, Media Sponsor; and Kevin Johnson of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Success Circle Sponsor.

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 TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Laura Flores, a 18-year-old Immokalee High School graduate, wasn’t always sure that she would be able to attend college. She said that her parents came from Mexico to give their children a better life, but she knew they wouldn’t be able to pay for college.

“I wanted to go very badly, it was a very difficult time,” she said.

This summer, she will be studying veterinary medicine at the University of Florida after receiving several scholarships.

She was one of the 87 students who on Thursday were honored for participating in The Immokalee Foundation’s programs at a dinner at Ave Maria University.

Flores was one of the programs’ 48 students, out of their 62 high school graduates, who are attending college or university next year.

“It means a lot. I am the first one of my family to go to college…” said Flores. “Since my parents never had the chance to go to college, this was a big reason for me to want to go.”

Patricia Rizo, director of program services at The Immokalee Foundation, said more and more students from Immokalee are finding their way into college. Many of the students enrolled in the Foundation’s programs will be the first generation to go to college in their families.

“Even if their parents want them to go to college, they don’t know how,” said Rizo.

She explained that they work with students from kindergarten to the college level, tutoring them and teaching them practical skills like how to apply for a job or a scholarship or how to interview. They also offer reading, writing, math or science classes and, if the students are successful, scholarships to attend post-secondary institutions.

This year, the nonprofit worked with 770 students and awarded scholarships to 45, said Rizo. She explained that the students they help struggle financially, don’t have many opportunities to work part time in Immokalee and may lack access to tools like Internet.

Flores said that when she enrolled in the Immokalee Foundation’s programs as a freshman, she was not confident that she could make it to college.

“I didn’t know how to start to look for scholarships,” she said. “They gave me the confidence.”

Ethiana Previlus’ main obstacle between her and studying psychology this fall was finding the resources to fund her degree.

Her parents came from Haiti to Immokalee in their twenties and had to start working immediately, she said. Now they have jobs in the fields and in a tomato factory. She didn’t want to follow that path.

“I always knew I wanted to go to college,” she said.

Now Previlus, 18, will have her education funded with different scholarships, among them a couple from The Immokalee Foundation. While in high school, she also took courses at Edison State College –full-time this year and part time last year. In the summer she will be going to Florida State University, with enough credits to start as a sophomore.

She wants to be a child psychologist in Immokalee.

Not every high school graduate student participating in the programs will go to college. Five of the graduates honored on Thursday will attend a post-secondary vocational training program at Immokalee Technical Center and one is entering the military.

Rizo said it is important to expose the students to different career choices and that college is not the right option for everyone.

It was the right thing, though, for Araceli Soto, 21, who was honored on Thursday as one of 25 students who graduated from college this year. She was also the first one to graduate in her family

Soto, who majored in both forensic studies and criminal studies at Florida Gulf Coast University, now wants to take a break, work for The Immokalee Foundation and save money so she can go back and do a master’s degree and then work as a forensic anthropologist or with the medical examiner.

“At first I didn’t want to go to college. I didn’t like schools,” she said. “But then I realized: What am I going to do with my life? I didn’t want to work in the fields […] I want to be something big.”

She wants to be a role model for her siblings and for other students at the nonprofit.

“I see myself in them,” she said.

Flores also said she would like to give back to the community and help people in Immokalee when she graduates. She also said that now, she always have something at the back of her mind.

“I know that if I want to do something, I have to work for it. And I know it’s going to pay off,” she said.

Read the story in the Naples Daily News

Thirty high school juniors and seniors participating in TIF’s Career Development Program interacted with some of the area’s top business leaders, sharing their goals and ambitions for the future. The business executives shared stories of their own experiences and provided real-life lessons important in helping students prepare for their own transition to college and beyond.  Prior to the afternoon’s reception, students were treated to an etiquette luncheon and training by Dawn Magaril and Dirga Buwana, at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. After, students were ready to practice their skills and were prepared to ask questions about their prospective career paths.

Kenia Jean-Pierre, a senior at Immokalee High School (IHS), aims to attend community college to become a paralegal, and then transfer to Florida State University to study criminal justice and international relations. Ultimately, she wants to become a judge at an appellate court.

“TIF has helped opened my eyes,” she explained. “Coming from a small town, I had small views. TIF gives me hope and makes me believe if I work hard, I can achieve my dreams.”  She added that, the training and reception helped highlight the culture differences between her native Haiti and the United States. “In Haiti, looking in the eyes of an adult is disrespectful; yet in America, it is a sign of confidence,” she said.

Jean Alex Baptiste, another IHS senior, hopes to attend Edison State College and major in criminal justice. He said that TIF helps the students learn about different career opportunities and the networking reception provided a better point of view. Maria Sebastion-Jimenez, an Immokalee High School junior, wants to major in nursing at Edison State College. She was happy to be a part of the day’s activities. “Today’s event has allowed me to meet new people and feel more comfortable,” she said. “The business leaders have inspired me to reach for my goals and not give up.”

Manuel Ramirez, an IHS junior, learned how to interview, along with the importance of money and time management — all helpful tips in preparation for his future. He wants to major in business management at University of South Florida. The students also came to realize that impressive social skills make a noticeable difference in the business community. Anita Munoz-Trejo, a senior at IHS, aims to attend Florida Gulf Coast University, majoring in health science. She said she learned the importance of good manners, which will help her confidence when dining at a business event. Edwin Herard, an IHS junior, learned something equally significant, “It’s important to major in something you love, follow your heart, set goals and prioritize yourself.”

The Immokalee Foundation chairman of the board, Joe Zednik, announced that Liz Allbritten announced at the April 24 board meeting her desire to step down as executive director.

Zednik noted that the decision to leave was Allbritten’s. She has worked diligently on the organization’s infrastructure over the past couple of years in order to prepare for new leadership. Allbritten is ready to spend more time with her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Allbritten, president of Edison State College, children and grandchildren.

“While we are saddened to lose Liz, I am happy she will now be able to spend quality time with her family,” said Zednik. “Her commitment and dedication to TIF during the last five years has been enormous. She will continue to help guide the board through the transition to a new executive director.”

Allbritten has served as TIF executive director since January 2009. During her tenure at TIF the organization expanded programs and services to the children of Immokalee; serving approximately 350 children in 2009 to over 900 students in 2014. In addition, one of Allbritten’s major goals was to completely transition TIF from a grant awarding foundation to a fully operational nonprofit. She is proud of the many accomplishments made over the years and is excited to watch the organization continue to excel.

“This is the ideal time for TIF to transfer to new leadership. The organization is on solid ground and positioned to grow to meet the needs of the community,” stated Allbritten. “I am eternally grateful for the support and guidance of TIF’s board, donors, volunteers and staff who share the same passion for helping the children of Immokalee.”

The search for Allbritten’s successor will begin immediately.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122.

Below is an excerpt from the full article. Read the full story in the News-Press

The eighth annual Inter-Club Challenge pitted foursomes and pros from many area communities and golf clubs against each other in friendly competition at The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples. Ninety-five golfers helped raise more than $150,000 for The Immokalee Foundation’s children’s programs.

Nineteen men’s, women’s and mixed teams — including five representing Old Collier Golf Club, three from Bay Colony, two from Bonita Bay and one each from Mediterra, Quail West and Royal Poinciana — plus from individuals and corporate sponsors participated led by local club pros, including Mark Lye, former PGA Tour Professional and current membership and marketing director of the Old Collier Golf Club.

Also, an Immokalee Foundation student foursome had the thrill of playing with PGA Professional Mark Fogg.

The overall winning team was Bay Colony’s Don and Joyce Hagen Fites, and Tom and Carol Lund with pro Jeff Raimer while two Old Collier Golf Club teams earned top men’s (Clint Harkins, Rick Zona, Dick Stonesifer and Nick Trigony with pro Steve Waugh) and women’s (Carrie Scanell, Rene Zona, Eileen Golden and Ann Bain with pro Brian Yarusevich) team honors. Closest-to-the-pin winners were Harry Rose and Skip Hildebrand of Mediterra, Mike Lyons of Bonita Bay and Old Collier Golf Club’s Alice Sanneman.

Bonita Bay Club teaching pro Ric Nalyd led Don Boudreau, Bob Herdman, John Howard and Mike Lyons to the team putting title. “We always look forward to the event,” he said. “Everyone did well and we’re all extremely satisfied to help the great work of the Foundation.”

Event chairman and Immokalee Foundation board member Michael Benson, chairman and CEO of Insurance Management Consultants, LLC, said, “With a 100 percent graduation rate for students involved in its programs, we know the TIF model works in providing education and opportunity to kids and giving hope to a community.”

The Immokalee Foundation 2014 Charity Classic Celebration is an extraordinary evening of fine dining, entertainment and auctions of once-in-a-lifetime experiences to benefit TIF students.

This year’s theme, “Hope Grows,” highlights the successes of TIF students and education programs, with opportunities to support their future during Fund A Dream, a unique live bidding experience enabling donors to contribute to Immokalee’s children in a specific and tangible way. Fund A Dream is organized into specific categories that provide students with opportunities to grow, learn and advance in a variety of ways. Auction items include opportunities to fund college and vocational scholarships, reading support and intervention, college success and experiences. Donors may also provide support to build leadership and life skills as well as fund studying abroad, access to the arts and technology, and youth leadership.

The Immokalee Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development leading to economic independence.

Friday, Nov. 14, 6 p.m. reception, 7:30 p.m. dinner, The Ritz-Carlton, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples.

$550 per guest; underwriting and sponsorship opportunities are available

The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org

The Immokalee Foundation’s 2014 Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament will pair two dozen pro golfers with Naples’ most philanthropic players. Monday, Nov. 17, 7:30 a.m. breakfast and golf demonstrations, 9:30 a.m. shotgun start. Lunch and awards presentation immediately following the tournament, The Old Collier Golf Club, 790 Main House Drive, Naples.

Entry fees begin at $5,000. All Pro-Am golfers will receive two tickets to the 2014 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction Friday, Nov. 14 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

The Immokalee Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences, life skills development leading to economic independence.

The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org

On May 22, The Immokalee Foundation will celebrate students from the class of 2014, who are graduating from both Immokalee High School and the Immokalee Foundation programs in which they are enrolled. This event celebrates 62 high school graduates, 12 post-secondary graduates, and 12 graduates of the Heavy Equipment Mechanics program. Many students will receive scholarships for post-secondary education. All graduates will be celebrated during an awards ceremony and dinner to be held at Ave Maria University.

 

The Immokalee Foundation has named event chairs for the 2014 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction, Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament and the Inter-Club Challenge.

Joseph Zednik, the incoming chair of The Immokalee Foundations Board of Directors, will also chair the organization’s Charity Classic Celebration scheduled for Nov. 14, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. Highlights of the evening include an extraordinary dinner, live and silent auctions featuring once-in-a-lifetime experiences, music, entertainment and dancing. The event is TIF’s largest fundraiser of the year, bringing in $1.6 million in 2013 to support the foundation’s educational programs.

Zednik is a longtime supporter and board member of The Immokalee Foundation. Passionate about making a difference in the lives of Immokalee’s youth, this will be his second time as chair of the Charity Classic. “As the incoming chair of the foundation, I felt it was an opportunity to make an impact,” Zednik said. “The programs funded by the Charity Classic Celebration help the kids of Immokalee obtain an education and break the cycle of poverty. It is so rewarding.”

Zednik said the children will once again be the focus of this year’s event, “We have always featured the students and we will continue to do so. This year they will play an even bigger role.”

Involved with TIF for about six years, Zednik said from the moment he met the children, he was all in. “I believe that educating our youngest is the most important thing we can do. When I first came to the organization, I was introduced to a girl, a sophomore in high school, that was tutoring a young reader. She told me, ‘I remember in first grade I couldn’t read. I was afraid the teacher would call on me, so I would hide. I didn’t want these kids to suffer the same fate.’ That’s why I do this.”

For the fourth year, TIF board member Kevin Johnson, with Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, also a corporate sponsor, will chair the Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament, taking place Nov. 17, at The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples. Johnson is a passionate advocate for the organization and continues to donate his time and energy year after year. He said he continues year after year because he wants to stay connected in a significant way to TIF and the direct impact the foundation is having on the children of Immokalee. “If the Pro-Am is successful each year, then I know we are making a huge difference in the futures of many fine young people who otherwise might not have had a mentor or tutor growing up, or an opportunity to go to college. This is life-changing stuff we are doing. When you see, hear from and meet the kids that are successful in our programs, it’s incredible.”

Michael Benson, chairman and CEO of Insurance Management Consultants LLC, and Chuck Campbell will co-chair the 2014 Inter-Club Challenge, scheduled for Monday, May 5, at The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples. Benson, one of TIF’s newer board members, said he is happy to give his time and resources to an organization that is getting results, “With a 100 percent graduation rate for students involved in its programs, we know the TIF model works. We are helping to provide education and opportunity to kids and giving hope to a community.”

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences, life skills development and economic independence. To learn more about TIF, signature events, volunteer opportunities or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org

Students of The Immokalee Foundation (TIF) gained valuable insight from local business leaders during the organization’s third annual networking reception at the Hilton Naples.

Thirty high school juniors and seniors participating in TIF’s Career Development Program interacted with some of the area’s top business leaders, sharing their goals and ambitions for the future. The business executives shared stories of their own experiences and provided real-life lessons important in helping students prepare for their own transition to college and beyond.

Prior to the afternoon’s reception, students were treated to an etiquette luncheon and training by Dawn Magaril and Dirga Buwana, at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. After, students were ready to practice their skills and were prepared to ask questions about their prospective career paths.

They mingled around the room, introducing themselves to more than 30 professionals in a variety of leadership positions from companies such as Edison State CollegeArthrex, Coldwell Banker, Hilton Naples, The Print Shop, McKenney Home Care, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Central Bank, Bay Colony Golf Club, NCH Healthcare Systems and Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations. In addition, several TIF board members, staff, ambassadors and mentors gave their encouragement and advice to the students they support all year long.

Students created and exchanged business cards, which included their college major, in hopes of making connections that could further their potential job opportunities. Their face-to-face interactions with local pros help these future business leaders build confidence and gain skills necessary to achieve their dreams.

In preparation for the April networking reception, Lori Kleiman, an entrepreneur and member of National Speakers Association, hosted a networking training for the students in March.

Kenia Jean-Pierre, a senior at Immokalee High School (IHS), aims to attend community college to become a paralegal, and then transfer to Florida State University to study criminal justice and international relations. Ultimately, she wants to become a judge at an appellate court.

“TIF has helped opened my eyes,” she explained. “Coming from a small town, I had small views. TIF gives me hope and makes me believe if I work hard, I can achieve my dreams.”

She added that, the training and reception helped highlight the culture differences between her native Haiti and the United States.

“In Haiti, looking in the eyes of an adult is disrespectful; yet in America, it is a sign of confidence,” she said.

With business leaders from numerous companies and careers, students appreciated the confirmation that a wide variety of options are available to them.

Jean Alex Baptiste, another IHS senior, hopes to attend Edison State College and major in criminal justice. He said that TIF helps the students learn about different career opportunities and the networking reception provided a better point of view.

Maria Sebastion-Jimenez, an Immokalee High School junior, wants to major in nursing at Edison State College. She was happy to be a part of the day’s activities.

“Today’s event has allowed me to meet new people and feel more comfortable,” she said. “The business leaders have inspired me to reach for my goals and not give up.”

The business professionals also provided insights into making connections and building lasting and mutually beneficial relationships that are crucial to securing a job and advancing in a career.

Manuel Ramirez, an IHS junior, learned how to interview, along with the importance of money and time management — all helpful tips in preparation for his future. He wants to major in business management at University of South Florida.

The students also came to realize that impressive social skills make a noticeable difference in the business community. Anita Munoz-Trejo, a senior at IHS, aims to attend Florida Gulf Coast University, majoring in health science. She said she learned the importance of good manners, which will help her confidence when dining at a business event.

Edwin Herard, an IHS junior, learned something equally significant, “It’s important to major in something you love, follow your heart, set goals and prioritize yourself.”

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences, life skills development and economic independence. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org

TIF Students gain valuable life skills.

Fund A Dream™ bidders raise a paddle!

Fund A Dream™ Auction directly benefits youth!

Local golfers hit the links to benefit TIF.

Support our students through Fund A Dream™.

TIF Students attending the University of South Florida’s College Assistance Migrant Program’s 2013 Cohort has started the fall semester.  Already, the CAMP students have participated in a ropes course team building activity.  They also have participated in the CAMP Orientation and met their university mentor. After completing their first week of classes, they appear ready to meet all challenges.

Along the way, CAMP will support students in their academic support and cultural enrichment.  Students will be provided bi-weekly follow-ups with support staff, tutorial services and a mentor.

Congratulations to Jose Guzman Ramos, Marisela Marroquin, Jacobo Martinez and Jose Segura!

It’s not what’s behind in life, but what lies ahead…

Area clubs tee off for The Immokalee Foundation

Immokalee High School teacher Steve Becker will compete in a 12.5 mile open-water swim race Saturday, June 22 in the annual Florida Keys Community College Swim Around Key West. Becker is swimming in support of The Immokalee Foundation, the nonprofit dedicated to building pathways to success for the children of Immokalee through programs focused on education, vocation and life skills. Becker’s goal is to raise $5,000 for the organization.

 

Steve Becker

This is Becker’s fourth time participating in this strenuous event, “Each time I swim in Key West, my times have steadily improved. This year I hope to break five hours again. A swim race of this magnitude demands a strict training schedule, which includes approximately a two-mile swim daily in a pool and a five-mile open-water swim in the Gulf of Mexico on the weekends.”

Becker’s commitment to The Immokalee Foundation is much more than a 12.5 mile swim. His involvement spans several years. He is deeply dedicated to TIF’s career development program that helps students refine academic skills, guides them through a process of career goal setting and increases their knowledge of career opportunities. The program also infuses innovative ideas to attract students who seek alternative choices in their education.

Becker is also a mentor for The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program where he is paired with a student who pledges to earn good grades, exhibit good behavior and meet weekly with their mentor. Students fulfilling the pledge are awarded with a full college scholarship upon high school graduation. The mentor’s role is to motivate the student to reach his or her potential and the assurance of a college education. Becker has committed to meet with his student weekly for about 45 minutes and attends school activities and other events, when necessary.

Becker’s mission is to help students reach college readiness benchmarks. Two years ago, Becker, a math teacher, was helping students in his classroom during their lunch breaks to prepare for the ACT. At the same time, TIF was creating after-school programs and summer academies to build students confidence for college-level courses and future career opportunities. A natural alignment took place and Becker became involved with TIF. Becker notes, “By the end of the summer, I was able to see an increase in student scores and the self-assurance they gained from all their hard work.”

In August of 2012, The Immokalee Foundation opened the Deanna Franks Learning Center, thus launching its after-school tutoring program including an ACT preparation program for students needing remediation. Two days a week, Becker was able to use the new building’s classrooms to continue working with students throughout the academic year.

“This is the hardest job I’ve ever loved! While working with the students I see their ongoing improvements. The excitement on their faces when they find out that they were accepted into a university is truly priceless.” Becker also added: “TIF’s classroom is providing life-changing opportunities for these kids. Because of TIF’s programs, they now have a greater chance to succeed.”

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences, life skills development and economic independence. To learn more about TIF, the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Click here to Donate Today for Becker’s Key West Swim to support The Immokalee Foundation and type “Becker” in the donation comments.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Collier Citizen article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Collier Citizen article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out The News Press article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out The News Press article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Immokalee Bulletin article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Immokalee Bulletin article by clicking the link below.

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Twelve young men, including students from The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Development program, were honored at the 2012 Heavy Equipment Mechanics graduation celebration. The event recognized the first graduating class of the HEM program at the Immokalee Technical Center.

With the support of founding partners, The Immokalee Foundation, The Caterpillar Foundation, Kelly Tractor, Fites Family Charitable Trust, Kelly Foundation Inc., Collier County School Board and Immokalee Technical Center, the HEM program was launched in the fall of 2010.

The program is a state-of-the-art curriculum designed to prepare graduates to enter a field currently in high demand throughout the United States and Latin America. The program includes instruction for diesel engine technician, diesel engine mechanic/technician helper, diesel drivetrain technician and more.

Read the full story.

For more details, check out the Immokalee Bulletin article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Immokalee Bulletin article by clicking the link below.

For more details, check out the Immokalee Bulletin article by clicking the link below.

TIF donor creates memorable day at the ballpark for others.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

Fourteen TIF students graduate from college.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

TIF students take in a Red Sox game and get a little work experience at JetBlue Park.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

Elijah Arreaga, John Henry, Kerby Henry, Elijah Basile

Elijah Arreaga John Henry Kerby Henry Elijah Basile

TIF Board Member and TSIC Mentor John Henry has been named Mentor of the Year for the state of Florida by Take Stock in Children.  He was recognized and honored during the program’s state conference in Tallahassee.

Check out the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52p1FtjOF58

Naples resident John Henry, a mentor in The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program and a TIF Board Member, has been named Mentor of the Year for the state of Florida by Take Stock in Children.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

Student selected for Take Stock in Children in Immokalee program.

For more details, check out the Naples Florida Weekly article by clicking the link below.

At the 2011 Charity Classic Celebration in mid-November, TIF students told stories that reflect on the Foundation’s impact on their lives. Naples Daily News features some of those stories in this article. http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/nov/29/dreams-have-only-started-for-immokalee-youth-to/

TIF turned up in a wide variety of media outlets in October 2011. The .pdf below presents a collection of these media hits.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

TIF Charity Classic Celebration is connected

NAPLES, Fla. (Oct. 28, 2011) – The Immokalee Foundation has launched a Web microsite, http://2011.charityclassic.org, for the organization’s upcoming Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am golf tournament.

The new site provides event details including Fund A Dream opportunities, silent auction items, entertainment and sponsors as well as pros and pairings for the Pro-Am. Viewers of the site will have the opportunity to meet the children of Immokalee, the heart and soul of the 2011 Charity Classic Celebration. The site also offers convenient online purchase of tickets and guest registration.

The Immokalee Foundation’s 2011 Charity Classic Celebration will take place Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. This year’s theme, Building Blocks for a Brighter Future,celebrates the foundation’s mission to provide sustained educational opportunities that make aspirations come true for Immokalee’s children.

Fund A Dream provides benefactors the opportunity to underwrite once-in-a-lifetime experiences for children that will help them believe they truly can achieve their dreams.

Rather than purchasing a typical live auction item, the event’s Fund A Dream allows donors to support the young people of Immokalee by giving directly to the child. In fact, 100 percent of funds raised during Fund A Dream goes directly to TIF’s student programs, and all contributions are 100 percent tax deductible.

Last year marked the first Fund A Dream. It was launched in an effort to provide something more tangible than a typical live auction item that would have a direct impact on the kids.

Presenting sponsor for the 2011 Charity Classic Celebration is The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Additional sponsors are Fifth Third Bank, founding sponsor; and GE Foundation, corporate matching sponsor. Hope Society sponsors include Arthrex Inc. and Texas Roadhouse. The Empowerment Circle sponsor is Kelly Tractor. Education Circle sponsors include Bigham Jewelers, Caterpillar Foundation, Jaguar Naples and Porsche of Naples, and Joseph’s Custom Clothiers. Naples Illustrated is the corporate media sponsor.

The Charity Classic Pro-Am Golf Tournament will be held Monday, Nov. 14 at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples.

The popular fundraising event pairs foundation supporters with some of the biggest names in golf. Participating tour pros scheduled to play include Mark Lye, Peter Jacobsen, Brian Gay, Russ Cochran, Bruce Fleisher, Daniel Chopra, Chip Beck, Terry Jo Myers, Cindy Rarick and Kris Tschetter, to name a few.

Ticket prices for the dinner are $550 per guest, tables are available at $5,000 for 10 and $6,000 for 12. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available. For more information or to make reservations, contact The Immokalee Foundation at 239-430-9122, emailinfo@immokaleefoundation.org or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org. Last year’s Charity Classic dinner and auction and Pro-Am golf tournament raised more than $1.2 million to fund the organization’s programs.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

The Immokalee Foundation has announced the list of tour professionals for the 2011 Charity Classic, which will be Monday, Nov. 14, at Bay Colony Golf Club.

For details on the event and the list of pros, check out the Naples Daily News article by clicking the link below.

Naples Illustrated features Joe and Dee Zednik in their “Giving Back” series. Joe is a TIF board member, mentor, and chair of TIF’s Charity Classic Celebration and Pro-Am. Dee sits on TIF’s scholarship committee and mentors two students.

Click the link below to read the full article.

Alejandro Arreguin knew his induction into the Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children Immokalee program was significant, but what he didn’t realize is that it would be the beginning of new opportunities and extraordinary life changes for the eighth-grader.

Click the link below to read about Alejandro’s journey in the Naples Daily News.

TIF turned up in a wide variety of media outlets in September 2011. The .pdf below presents a collection of these media hits.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Take Stock in Children Program of Immokalee Presents Inaugural “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run Saturday, Nov. 19

Statewide effort aims to raise funds for college scholarships for Florida’s low-income students

IMMOKALEE, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2011) – Take Stock in Children program of Immokalee will be one of many programs across the state to present the inaugural “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 at Collier County School District Administrative Building, as part of a statewide effort to raise college funds for Florida’s low-income and at-risk youth. Take Stock in Children’s “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Runs will also take place simultaneously in Brevard, Broward, Escambia, Hendry, Lake, Lee, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Sarasota and Sumter counties.

“The Take Stock in Children ‘Strides For Education’ 5K is the perfect way to involve the local community in our efforts and help raise funding for our scholars who desire to earn a postsecondary education,” said Tricia Yeggy, director of programs at Take Stock in Children Program of Immokalee. “The goal of The Immokalee Foundation is to continue growing our program each year so that we may support even more students in Immokalee along the path to success.”

Take Stock in Children aspires to have a few thousand participants statewide as part of this first-ever fundraising effort. With rising tuition costs and significant increases of other college-related expenses, children throughout Florida are struggling more than ever to achieve their dreams of a college education.

Take Stock in Children’s “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run is open to all individuals, families, companies and local organizations, and will feature family-friendly activities, giveaways and more. Registration is $35 per person, with all proceeds to benefit Take Stock in Children, a statewide non-profit organization with a 16 year history of helping low-income and at-risk youth break the cycle of poverty by providing scholarships, mentors and hope. Take Stock in Children Program of Immokalee currently serves more than 115 students in grades 8-12.

Collier County School District Administration Building is located at 5775 Osceola Trail in Naples. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. To register prior to the event and receive a goodie bag and t-shirt, visit give.takestockinchildren.org and click Collier-Immokalee.

Take Stock in Children is currently seeking participants, volunteers and sponsors for this statewide effort. As an official Walk/Run sponsor, you can join a host of major companies who support the mission of Take Stock in Children and help students achieve their college dreams. Statewide sponsors include Helios Education Foundation, Comcast, Berkowitz Dick Pollack & Brant, and Pollo Tropical. Local sponsors include BB&T Bank and McDonald’s.

To learn how to support Take Stock in Children Program of Immokalee’s “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run as a participant, volunteer or sponsor, callThe Immokalee Foundation at 239-657-2461 or visit give.takestockinchildren.org.

 

Take Stock in Children is a nonprofit organization with a 16 year history of providing mentors, educational scholarships and hope for Florida’s low-income and at-risk youth. The organization has provided educational support and college scholarships for over 17,000 children in partnership with more than 800 public schools throughout 67 counties in Florida. It is the only scholarship mentoring program with the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education, and has attained a high school graduation rate of 92 percent in Florida (as compared to Florida’s average graduation rate of 76 percent). The program’s multi-year commitment to students and their comprehensive program services begin in middle school and continue through high school graduation and into college. Special emphasis is placed on student accountability and specific measurable outcomes. Take Stock in Children students pledge to meet with their assigned mentor once a week, maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5, and remain drug and crime free. Upon successful high school graduation, as a fulfillment of their contractual agreement, students are then awarded a college scholarship to any college, university or vocational school in the state of Florida.To learn more about Take Stock in Children, call888-322-4673 or visit www.takestockinchildren.org.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

TIF Student Attends Diabetes Camp

NAPLES, Fla. (Oct. 10, 2011) – Alejandro Arreguin knew his induction into The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children Immokalee program was significant, but what he didn’t realize is that it would be the beginning of new opportunities and extraordinary life changes for the eighth grader.

It was during the induction ceremony that TIF board member Louise Penta happened to sit at the table with Arreguin and his family. “I was chatting with his mother when she handed him an insulin pen,” Penta recalls. “I was stunned for a moment, then asked her if he was diabetic.” His mother explained that he had indeed been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was then that Penta knew fate had stepped in, as her own son was a diabetic and had been for many years.

When it came time to match Arreguin with a mentor, Penta volunteered believing that she could be a great asset with her knowledge and experience of the disease. Soon, she began meeting with him at school for regular mentoring sessions.

But, something was always in the back of her mind. For 16 years, her son attended the Elliott P. Joslin Camp in Charlton, Mass., where young men with diabetes are able to learn more about themselves, the management of diabetes and skills for coping with the special challenges of living with diabetes. Penta knew this would be a great opportunity for Arreguin and provide him and his family with invaluable information.

This summer, Arreguin was given that chance thanks to Penta and TIF’s Charity Classic Fund A Dream™ auction. Penta accompanied him, at her own expense, to and from camp.

“Camp Joslin allows these kids to be with others just like them,” said Penta. “They are all coping with the same issues, so not only is it a bonding opportunity, but a learning experience as well.”

Approximately 75 boys from all over the world attended the two-week session, where the kids learn by doing. A basketball game became a chance to balance insulin with exercise, and a lunch with friends became a chance to learn carb counting and meal planning.

Camp Joslin’s programs combine camping, sports and other activities with diabetes education, treatment and support to give not only the children with diabetes, but also their families, the tools they need to live happy, healthy and balanced lives.

As for Arreguin, he says it gave him a better understanding of his diabetes and a comfort level he didn’t have before he attended camp. He said he also came away with many memories of good times with new friends, “I would love to do it again, it was a lot of fun.”

Liz Allbritten, TIF’s executive director said, “We are so fortunate to have board members such as Louise who give so much of their time, talent and treasure to our kids. She is making a significant difference in the life of Alejandro and so many other children in Immokalee.”

During TIF’s 2010 Charity Classic, which raised a record breaking $1.5 million toward educational programs for the children of Immokalee, guests were invited to be dream makers by bidding on large packages and receiving nothing in return except some very specific opportunities to change a child’s life for the better. Called Fund A Dream, this opportunity raised more than $550,000 with 100 percent directly benefiting Immokalee children.

The 2011 Charity Classic Celebration is scheduled for Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

This year, dream makers will have chances to bid on items to benefit the kids. Opportunities range from sponsoring a tutor for students in middle or high school for $500, purchasing a computer for $1,000, or giving a student the chance at career success by funding a $2,000 scholarship that will allow a student to receive a postsecondary education at a vocational school or two-year Florida college. In addition, for only $650, an elementary student can receive reading lessons for a year, and for as little as $1,000 donors can provide a student with the chance to attend a memorable summer camp in New England.

Ticket prices are $550 per guest, tables are available at $5,000 for 10 and $6,000 for 12. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

Alejandro Arreguin at Camp Joslin

Alejandro Arreguin at Camp Joslin

TIF student Alejandro Arreguin and TIF board member Louise Penta together at Camp Joslin

TIF student Alejandro Arreguin and TIF board member Louise Penta together at Camp Joslin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Pros Announced for Charity Classic Pro-Am

NAPLES, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2011) – The Immokalee Foundation will pair some of the biggest names in golf with Naples’ most philanthropic golfers at the 2011 Charity Classic Pro-Am Golf Tournament at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples Monday, Nov. 14.

Mark Lye, PGA Tour professional and Golf Channel analyst, has once again recruited an impressive group of professionals from the LPGA, PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour. Among this year’s line up is seven-time PGA Tour winner, Peter Jacobsen; three-time PGA Tour winner, Brian Gay; Russ Cochran, three-time Champions Tour winner, including 2011 Senior British Open Champion; 18-time Champions Tour winner, Bruce Fleisher; two-time PGA Tour winner and three-time Nationwide Tour winner, Daniel Chopra; four-time PGA Tour winner Chip Beck; and of course, Lye.

Other participants include Andy Bean, 11-time PGA Tour winner; five-time PGA Tour winner, Jim Gallagher; Michael Bradley, four-time PGA Tour winner, including a win at the 2011 Puerto Rico Open; Wayne Levi, 12-time PGA Tour winner; one-time PGA Tour winner and four-time Champions Tour winner, Brad Bryant; Naples native, George McNeill, who has one PGA Tour victory; Derek Lamely, one PGA Tour win and one Nationwide Tour win; Joe Ogilvie, a four-time Nationwide Tour winner; Lonnie Nielsen, who has earned two wins on the Champions Tour and two international victories; Russell Knox, one Nationwide Tour win; Chris Stroud, 12 top 10 PGA Tour placements; and two-time Nationwide Tour winner, Eric Booker.

Female players at the tournament are Fort Myers native Terry Jo Myers, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour and winner of the Heather Farr Player Award in 1997; Cindy Rarick, five-time winner on the LPGA Tour; and Kris Tschetter, one-time winner on the LPGA Tour and winner of the Heather Farr Player Award in 2001.

The exclusive event is slated to include only 24 foursomes, plus pros. The benefit tournament begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and golf demonstrations, followed by a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. The scramble format pairs players with a different pro for each nine holes. An awards luncheon will be held immediately following the tournament.

Entry fees for the golf tournament begin at $5,000. All pro-am golfers will receive tickets to the highly-acclaimed Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

According to Kevin Johnson of The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and chairperson of the nonprofit organization’s golf committee, the tournament is about much more than golf. “It’s about helping make dreams come true for the hardworking students involved in The Immokalee Foundation and its programs.”

This event will provide an opportunity for patrons to Fund A Dream, which allows benefactors to support the young people of Immokalee by giving directly to a child rather than purchasing an auction item. All contributions are 100 percent tax deductible.

Presenting sponsor for the 2011 Charity Classic Celebration is The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Additional sponsors are Fifth Third Bank, founding sponsor; and GE Foundation, corporate matching sponsor. Hope Society sponsors include Arthrex Inc. and Texas Roadhouse. The Empowerment Circle sponsor is Kelly Tractor. Education Circle sponsors include Bigham Jewelers, Caterpillar Foundation, Jaguar Naples and Porsche of Naples, and Joseph’s Custom Clothiers. Naples Illustrated is the corporate media sponsor.

Ticket prices for the dinner are $550 per guest, tables are available at $5,000 for 10 and $6,000 for 12. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available. For more information or to make reservations, contact The Immokalee Foundation at 239-430-9122, emailinfo@immokaleefoundation.org or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org. Last year’s Charity Classic dinner and auction and Pro-Am golf tournament raised more than $1.2 million to fund the organization’s programs.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Fund A Dream Provides Limitless Opportunities for Kids

NAPLES, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2011) – Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples patrons will have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child when The Immokalee Foundation hosts its 2011 Charity Classic Celebration – a charity event that provides benefactors the opportunity to underwrite once-in-a-lifetime experiences for children that will help them believe they truly can achieve their dreams.

Rather than purchasing a typical live auction item, the event’s Fund A Dream allows donors to support the young people of Immokalee by giving directly to the child. In fact, 100 percent of funds raised during Fund A Dream goes directly to TIF’s student programs, and all contributions are 100 percent tax deductible.

Last year marked the first Fund A Dream. It was launched in an effort to provide something more tangible than a typical live auction item that would have a direct impact on the kids. “Fund A Dream is simply about making dreams come true for these kids,” said Louise Penta, last year’s event chair and TIF board member.

The theme of the event, “Building Blocks for a Brighter Future,” is a reminder of what TIF does for the kids each and every day. “What TIF does is unique and special,” said Penta. “It changes the kids and gives them a different view of the world.”

Dedicated to providing students with the pathways to success, TIF instills the importance of education, hard work and determination. Students are held accountable for grades, behavior and attendance. In the end, they reap the benefits of their commitment.

For example, Fund a Dream provides the chance to send a child to college for only $6,500. According to Joe Zednik, event chair and TIF board member, the money is not simply handed to the student, but awarded to them once they have completed their requirements. “Young students who successfully fulfill their required pledge to earn good grades, exhibit good behavior, and meet weekly with a mentor are awarded a full college scholarship upon high school graduation. It gives them the ability to set goals and to believe they can go to college and achieve their dreams,” he said.

Some of the other Fund A Dream opportunities include:

• For $500, patrons can fund a tutor for students in middle and high school that may be having trouble in specific subjects.

• Giving a student the tools he or she needs to succeed in high school and college by purchasing a computer for as little as $1,000.

• Benefactors can help build tomorrow’s workforce by preparing students to directly enter the workforce or proceed to a postsecondary education at a vocational school or two-year Florida college for $2,000.

• A $2,000 donation will buy a “seat” in a new TIF van to transport children to programs they have never experienced.

• For $650, a child in Immokalee can receive literacy training for a year through the Immokalee Readers program.

• A donation of as little as $1,000 can help shape a child’s future by sending them to summer camp in New England. They meet kids from all over the world and gain leadership and team building skills. Students who participated in camps this past summer had life-altering experiences. Jesus Velasco was invited to attend a three-week leadership camp. He said that above all, the camp helped give him the courage and strength to want to do something else. “I want to travel the world. Now, I can gather my goals and dreams and make them a reality.”

 

Other highlights of the Charity Classic Celebration include an extraordinary dinner presented by the chefs of The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and featuring items that are representative of what is typically grown and harvested in Immokalee, a magnificent silent auction, live entertainment featuring Double Dare and dancing. Also on hand will be TIF students sharing their experiences, as well as a performance by the Immokalee High School BETA (Better Education Through Achievement) Club. As a special treat for Veterans Day, several TIF students that are either serving in the military or are going into the military will also be in attendance.

The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is the presenting sponsor for the 2011 Charity Classic Celebration. Additional sponsors are Fifth Third Bank, founding sponsor; and GE Foundation, corporate matching sponsor. Hope Society sponsors include Arthrex Inc. and Texas Roadhouse. The Empowerment Circle sponsor is Kelly Tractor. Education Circle sponsors include Bigham Jewelers, Caterpillar Foundation, Jaguar Naples and Porsche of Naples, and Joseph’s Custom Clothiers. Naples Illustrated is the corporate media sponsor.

Ticket prices are $550 per guest, tables are available at $5,000 for 10 and $6,000 for 12. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available. For more information or to make reservations, contact The Immokalee Foundation at 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.orgor www.immokaleefoundation.org. Last year’s Charity Classic dinner and auction and Pro-Am golf tournament raised more than $1.5 million to fund the organization’s programs. Fund A Dream raised more than $550,000 alone, which provided TIF students the opportunity to take part in experiences such as their first trip to our nation’s capitol, attending prestigious summer camps in New England and so much more.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

FAD

TIF turned up in a wide variety of media outlets in August 2011. The .pdf below presents a collection of these media hits.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Summer of opportunity for TIF students

NAPLES, Fla. (Sept. 2, 2011) – The summer was a busy one for the students and staff of The Immokalee Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides educational opportunities for Immokalee’s children. The students took part in a variety of activities and programs, and the staff was there to make it all happen. For students, these were opportunities and experiences designed to lead them on a pathway to success.

Marcos Gonzalez, for one, inched closer to his dream of becoming a civil or environmental engineer. Gonzalez was chosen to attend the University of Florida Student Science Training Program, a seven-week residential research program for up to 100 selected students.

While some students worked directly with a UF faculty research scientist for seven weeks, others, including Gonzalez, were given projects to do on their own. His project? He designed a UV light chamber, then wrote a detailed report explaining his methods. “I love having the ability to be creative and design and build something,” he stated. “This experience only solidified my desire to become an engineer.”

Collier Health Services and Florida State University College of Medicine Immokalee Health Education Site co-hosted a five-week medical internship for nine TIF students. Each day, the students had the opportunity to experience what it might be like to work in the medical industry by shadowing staff and attending weekly lectures. Other local businesses, including BCB Homes, Media Vista Group, Thomas Riley Artisans Guild, Salazar Machine & Steel Inc. and Freeman & Freeman Construction, also provided beneficial internships for students.

Three students were selected to represent Immokalee in the Youth Leadership Collier program developed and maintained by The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Leadership Collier Foundation. The students participated in team building activities, met with community leaders, and visited businesses, government agencies and civic organizations.

Participant Juan Sandoval said of his learning experience, “We are each individuals, but together we can change the world.”

To help improve each student’s test scores, TIF organized a three-week ACT Prep course for 31 students, which offered personalized instruction from knowledgeable instructors that focused on the skills students will need to succeed on test day. The foundation also offered a three-week College Success Institute program that offered recent graduates and rising seniors the opportunity to participate in an intensive college readiness course. In addition, Ave Maria University and TIF worked together to provide a three-day “Boot Camp” for 20 graduating seniors who received scholarships through TIF. The camp offered activities and workshops to help students prepare for the next stage in their life.

Other students had the opportunity to spend three days touring six of Florida’s major universities, providing them with a firsthand look at the character and diversity that each institution offers.

The summer wasn’t just about education and career opportunities but also about life opportunities. Thanks to proceeds from TIF’s Fund A Dream auction held last November as the highlight of TIF’s Charity Classic event, 29 kids had the chance to attend Cirque Du Soleil’s Alegria at Germain Arena in Estero; five students had the opportunity to make their first trip to Washington, D.C.; and 12 were given the life-changing opportunity to attend prestigious summer camps in New England.

 

No matter what the experience, The Immokalee Foundation had one unforgettable summer.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

TIF student Marcos Gonzalez attended the University of Florida Student Science Training Program

TIF student Marcos Gonzalez attended the University of Florida Student Science Training Program

TIF students Shedlyn Joseph and Ojette Bonhomme at Cirque Du Soleil’s Alegria

TIF students Shedlyn Joseph and Ojette Bonhomme at Cirque Du Soleil’s Alegria

TIF’s Charity Classic turned up in a range of media outlets between February–early September 2011. The .pdf below presents a collection of these media hits.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

2011 Charity Classic Celebration, building blocks for a brigher future

NAPLES, Fla. (Aug. 29, 2011) – The Immokalee Foundation 2011 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction will take place Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The theme of this year’s event, “Building Blocks for a Brighter Future” celebrates the foundation’s mission to provide sustained educational opportunities that make aspirations come true for the youth of Immokalee.

The event will provide an opportunity for patrons to underwrite once-in-a-lifetime experiences for children that will help them believe they truly can achieve their dreams. Last year marked the first Fund A Dream auction to allow benefactors to support the young people of Immokalee by giving directly to a child rather than purchasing an auction item.

“Fund A Dream provides the chance to send a child to college for only $6,500,” says Joe Zednik, event chair and TIF board member. “But that’s not all. Fund A Dream also allows supporters to send a child to summer camp in New England for as little as $1,000, sponsor an Immokalee Reader for $650 or help give a child the tools to be successful by purchasing a computer for $1,000. A $2,000 donation will buy a “seat” in a new TIF van to transport children to programs they have never experienced. There are so many possibilities.” He explained that all funds raised through Fund A Dream will be used on programs to directly benefit the children. All contributions are 100 percent tax deductible.

Other highlights of the event include an extraordinary dinner presented by the chefs of The Ritz-Carlton, a magnificent silent auction, big-band entertainment and dancing. Also on hand will be TIF students sharing their experiences, as well as a performance by the Immokalee High School BETA (Better Education Through Achievement) Club.

Presenting sponsor for the 2011 Charity Classic Celebration is The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Additional sponsors are Fifth Third Bank, founding sponsor; and GE Foundation, corporate matching sponsor. Hope Society sponsors include Arthrex Inc. and Texas Roadhouse. The Empowerment Circle sponsor is Kelly Tractor. Education Circle sponsors include Bigham Jewelers, Caterpillar Foundation, Jaguar Naples and Porsche of Naples, and Joseph’s Custom Clothiers. Naples Illustrated is the corporate media sponsor.

Ticket prices are $550 per guest, tables are available at $5,000 for 10 and $6,000 for 12. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available. For more information or to make reservations, contact The Immokalee Foundation at 239-430-9122, emailinfo@immokaleefoundation.org or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org. Last year’s Charity Classic dinner and auction and Pro-Am golf tournament raised more than $1.2 million to fund the organization’s programs.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

Marie Stonesifer Pic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

New England camps offer experience of a lifetime

NAPLES, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2011) – Eight students recently had the life-changing opportunity to attend prestigious New England summer camps, thanks to The Immokalee Foundation and proceeds from last year’s Charity Classic Fund A Dream auction.

Students were selected based on grades, involvement and accountability to attend Kingsley Pines, a three-week camp located in Maine. Two TIF students were invited to the all boys Camp Deerwood in New Hampshire, and Jesus Velazco, who attended Kingsley Pines camp last year was personally invited by the camp owners to participate in a three-week leadership camp this summer.

“Each camp provided the students with unique experiences and adventure that they never dreamed about,” said TIF program manager, Patricia Rizo. “Some of them have never been outside of Florida, or even Immokalee, others have never been on an airplane.”

The camps emphasized building character and friendships, along with learning new skills and enjoying a healthy outdoor summer experience.

Erial Perez attended the Maine camp and described it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She had heard about the camp from another friend, Monique Williams who also attended, and was excited when she heard she had been chosen to attend Kingsley Pines. She said the camp was full of activities, including archery, crafts, basketball, tennis, rock climbing, canoeing, water skiing and evening campfires. Campers make their own activity choices and are encouraged to challenge themselves and master skills in a variety of areas.

Theater was one of her favorite activities, with campers creating and performing different skits. “It was so much fun,” Perez said. She also enjoyed getting to know her fellow campers from all over the country and world. “It was interesting to get to know more about them and where they were from.”

Velazco was thrilled to learn he was invited to attend the Teen Leadership Camp, which consisted of only eight campers and three counselors. The program included a weeklong road trip to Acadia National Park in Maine and Quebec City, Canada, as well as numerous team building and leadership activities over a three-week period.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Velazco. “As time went on, we built friendships and learned to trust one another – all while having fun.”

Above all, he noted that the camp helped give him the courage and strength to want to do something else. “I want to travel the world. Now, I can gather my goals and dreams and make them a reality.”

For Rizo, seeing the kids’ faces upon their return is unlike anything else. “It is amazing how a few weeks of camp can change their lives, but it does. When they come back, you can see on their faces the image of confidence and real winners; that nothing is impossible and the opportunities in life are endless.”

The 2011 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction will take place Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The theme of this year’s event, “Building Blocks for a Brighter Future” celebrates the foundation’s mission to provide sustained educational opportunities that make aspirations come true for the youth of Immokalee. Ticket prices are $550 per guest, tables are available at $5,000 for 10 and $6,000 for 12. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

Monique Williams

Monique Williams

Jesus Velazco

Jesus Velazco

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Susan Wulber joins The Immokalee Foundation

NAPLES, Fla. (Aug. 16, 2011) – The Immokalee Foundation announces the appointment of Susan Wulber as director of finance and administration.

Wulber will be responsible for accounting operations, planningand day to day employee administration.

“Susan is a welcome addition to the team and her experience will be an asset to TIF,” said Liz Allbritten, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation.

Wulber has an MBA with more than 25 years of professional experience providing managerial, business and financial analysis for organizations, including Allen Systems Group, Chemical Abstracts Service, Bell & Howell Publications Systems Company and LEXIS/NEXIS.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:

Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

 

Wulber_Photo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TIF summer internships provide real world experience

NAPLES, Fla. (Aug. 10, 2011) – This summer, students who are attending the Heavy Equipment Mechanics program at the Immokalee Technical Center had the opportunity to take their training one step further. Thanks to participating Caterpillar dealerships, they participated in a 10-week summer internship that provided valuable hands-on experience and real life preparation for the workplace.

The Immokalee Foundation’s students were chosen by HEM’s instructor, Bob Moore. The selection was based on grades, attendance, student conduct and motivation.

Participating companies included Kelly Tractor in Fort Myers and Clewiston; Ring Power in Tampa; Gregory Poole Equipment Company in Raleigh, N.C.; and Yancey Bros. in Atlanta.
Nick Gamez traveled to Yancey Bros. for his internship. “The overall experience is what I enjoyed the most,” he explained. “I worked at the CAT rental store and the atmosphere was all about getting the job done quickly, but also with quality. This internship definitely prepared me for the future.”

HEM program was a collaboration of Don Fites, former CEO of Caterpillar, TIF and iTECH. With the support of the Caterpillar Foundation, Fites Family Charitable Trust, Kelly Foundation Inc. and Kelly Tractor and Collier County Public Schools, HEM was launched in Fall 2010.

“With the full support of CAT and Mr. Fites, we are able to provide training in high-skilled positions, which ultimately allows students to be way ahead of the game after graduation,” said TIF’s Board Emeritus Jay Stonesifer, a staunch supporter of the HEM program. He said the summer internships are a natural extension of the training and are critical to its success.

“The iTECH center accommodates students who choose not to go to college, but still prepares them with the skills necessary to obtain good paying jobs,” noted Stonesifer.

Thomas Powell, for one, couldn’t agree more. He is spending the summer interning at Kelly Tractor in Fort Myers, and said the position gives him real world experience that he just can’t get in the classroom. “You can only go so far in the classroom,” he said. “Here, we are immersed completely in the job and what it’s like on a day-to-day basis. It opens your eyes to what is expected.”

Alonso Garcia is so enjoying his internship at Gregory Poole Equipment Company that he would consider relocating. “I wouldn’t mind moving to Raleigh to work for the company. I had great co-workers and everyone helped me when I needed. I just can’t thank Caterpillar and The Immokalee Foundation enough for giving me this opportunity.”

The HEM training program at iTECH is a state-of-the-art curriculum that will prepare graduates to enter a field currently in high demand throughout the United States and Latin America. The program includes instruction for diesel engine technician, diesel engine mechanic/technician helper, diesel drivetrain technician and more.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

HEM

TIF turned up in a wide variety of media outlets in July 2011. The .pdf below presents a collection of these media hits.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Immokalee Foundation to hold 2011 Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament
Presented by The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

NAPLES, Fla. (Aug. 9, 2011) – The Immokalee Foundation will hold its 2011 Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples Monday, Nov. 14, according to Kevin Johnson of The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and chairperson of the nonprofit organization’s golf committee.

The popular fundraising event will pair foundation supporters with some of the biggest names in golf. Mark Lye, PGA Tour professional and Golf Channel analyst, has once again recruited professionals from the LPGA, PGA Tour and Champions Tour. Thus far, the lineup includes golfing greats such as Peter Jacobsen, Bruce Fleisher, George McNeill, Derek Lamely, Michael Bradley, Brad Bryant, Andy Bean, Brian Gay and Daniel Chopra.

The exclusive event is slated to include only 24 foursomes, plus pros. The benefit tournament begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and golf demonstrations, followed by a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. The scramble format pairs players with a different pro for each nine holes. The awards luncheon will be held immediately following the tournament.

Entry fees begin at $5,000. All pro-am golfers will receive tickets to the highly-acclaimed 2011 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
“This tournament is about so much more than golf,” said Johnson. “It’s about helping make dreams come true for the hardworking students involved in The Immokalee Foundation and its programs.”

The event will benefit the foundation’s educational programs including Take Stock in Children Immokalee program, Vocational Success, College Success, Direct Scholarships, The First Tee of Naples/Collier Program in Immokalee, Immokalee Readers and Community Grants. The 2010 golf tournament raised more than $500,000 for TIF programs.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

YEA_Group

With the help of The Immokalee Foundation, the Greater Immokalee Front Porch Youth Empowerment Academy (YEA) held its second annual conference this summer in Immokalee, giving five highly driven students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, become better résumé writers, gain workplace experience, and generally grow on personal and professional levels. Above, the five students who participated in this year’s YEA pose for a picture with YEA leaders.

As part of the YEA experience, each student was asked to write an essay that answers the question: “What is your defintion of poverty and what would you do to change the way poverty looks in your community?” Click here to read the TIF student responses.

Louise

TIF student Alejandro Arreguin and TIF board member Louise Penta share a moment together this summer at Camp Joslin in Massachusetts — an experience Alejandro enjoyed thanks to TIF and our wonderful Fund A Dream™ donors.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Immokalee High School Students Attend FSU Medical School

NAPLES, Fla. (Aug. 5, 2011) – Three of The Immokalee Foundation’s students, from Immokalee High School, recently had the unique opportunity to see what it’s like to be in medical school thanks to Florida State University College of Medicine Summer Institute, a highly competitive summer program managed by FSU College of Medicine Outreach and Advising Office.

The students – Luis Parra, Stephanie Alcime and Chedeline Fredrick – submitted applications, were accepted into the program and then received a TIF Pathway to Success scholarship that made the dream a reality. Through Pathways to Success, TIF provides ongoing mentorship for students by sculpting an individual success plan that nurtures the child’s development as a student, citizen and future professional.

“The Summer Institute is a wonderful opportunity for students to further their academic and career goals – an opportunity that shows them the possibilities and how to accomplish their goals,” said Noemi Perez, student advocate for TIF’s Take Stock in Children program.

The weeklong sessions, for juniors and seniors, are designed to provide an inside look at what it means to be both a doctor and medical student. It’s one way to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in medicine – support they don’t often receive.

“Our goal for the Summer Institute is to recruit students from rural, underserved and minority backgrounds and, at the same time, recruit students from other parts of Florida who have a desire to work in medically underserved areas,” said Thesla Berne-Anderson, director of college and pre-college outreach at the College of Medicine.

Participants travel to FSU’s campus in Tallahassee where they shadow physicians and medical students, visit rural health centers and receive college testing and application advice. They also attend faculty lectures on topics such as medical ethics, migrant health care and doctor-patient relations. In several activities, the participants go through training similar to what real medical students face. They get hands-on involvement in taking blood pressure, performing CPR and more.

Immokalee senior, Luis Parra, loved the experience. “We got to witness a lot of things that medical students don’t get to see until their third year of medical school,” he said. For him, it confirmed what he already knew: he wants to be a surgeon and plans to attend FSU after graduation.

Junior Stephanie Alcime, who also wants to be a surgeon, recognizes that opportunities like this don’t happen often. “When you have a chance to go somewhere and do something, you have to do it,” she said.

Perez said the selection process is competitive; students must have a GPA of at least 3.5 and outstanding leadership, volunteerism and a passion for science and medicine. “We are so proud of our students that were selected and they should be proud as well.”

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

 

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Three Immokalee High School students had the unique opportunity to experience what it’s like to attend medical school, thanks to The Immokalee Foundation and the Florida State University College of Medicine Summer Institute.

Click the link below to download a pdf of the full article from Naples Florida Weekly.

The Immokalee Foundation announces the appointment of Heather Meech as event coordinator.

Meech will be responsible for developing, planning and coordinating TIF events.

Click here to read the full article in the Naples Daily News.

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Nine TIF students recently completed a five-week medical internship co-hosted by Collier Health Services and the Florida State University Immokalee Health Education Site. Here the students join with TIF and on-site staff to celebrate the end of a very successful experience.

Continue on for more highlights from the final day of the internship.

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TIF students stand up to offer thanks for an incredible internship opportunity.

 

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Intern Chedeline Frederick is awarded a certificate for completing the internship.

 

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Wrapping up a terrific internship experience thanks to Florida State University, Collier Health Services, and TIF’s Pathways to Success.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Immokalee Foundation Names Heather Meech Event Coordinator

NAPLES, Fla. (Aug. 2, 2011) – The Immokalee Foundation announces the appointment of Heather Meech as event coordinator.

Meech will be responsible for developing, planning and coordinating TIF events.

“Heather’s event planning experience is a valuable contribution and we welcome her to the team,” said Jennifer Whitis, director of development for The Immokalee Foundation.

Meech has more than seven years of hospitality and event experience, including Garden of Hope and Courage, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Little Black Dress, Stiletto Sprint, Campiello Golf Invitational and Tommy Bahama Coconut Classic.

She attended the University of Akron and graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor of Science degree.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

Meech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Negri and Campbell elected to The Immokalee Foundation board of directors

NAPLES, Fla. (July 26, 2011) – The Immokalee Foundation, dedicated to empowering Immokalee’s children through programs focused on education, vocation and life skills, recently announced the installation of the 2011-2012 board of directors.

Newly elected officers are Peter Negri and Charles Campbell.

“We are honored to have Pete and Charles join The Immokalee Foundation board of directors,” said John Costigan, chair. “Together, with the board and staff, we will continue to support the children of Immokalee.”

Board members at large are John Costigan, chair; John Henry, interim treasurer; Alison Douglas, secretary; Charles Campbell; George Franks; Blake Gable; Don Gunther; W.R. “Skip” Hildebrand; Cynthia Janssen; Kevin Johnson; Lisa Merritt; Peter Negri; Louise Penta; Jeffrey Randall; Peggy Redlinger; Robert “Bob” Schoonmaker; Bob Tarter; and Joseph Zednik.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

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Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

TIF Board Member Peter Negri

TIF Board Member Peter Negri

TIF Board Member Charles Campbell

TIF Board Member Charles Campbell

It’s an amateur golfer’s dream: hitting the course with some of the world’s greatest golfers on one of the most beautiful golf courses in Southwest Florida.

For 96 of Naples’ most philanthropic golfers, that dream will be realized Monday, Nov. 14, at the Immokalee Foundation’s 2011 Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples, as they are paired with golf professionals from the LPGA, PGA Tour and Champions Tour.

However, this tournament isn’t just about making golfers’ dreams come true, it’s about making a difference in the community.

Click here to read the full article in the Naples Daily News.

TIF turned up in a wide variety of media outlets in June 2011. The .pdf below presents a collection of these media hits.

Five students from The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program recently made their first trip to Washington, D.C., thanks to proceeds from the organization’s Charity Classic Fund A Dream™ auction held last November.

Click the link below to download a pdf of the full article from the Naples Daily News.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TIF’s Take Stock in Children Immokalee program students visit nation’s capital

NAPLES, Fla. (July 7, 2011) – Five students from The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children Immokalee program recently made their first trip to Washington, D.C. thanks to proceeds from TIF’s Charity Classic Fund A Dream auction held last November.

The students – Lemuel Sanchez, Efren Corona, Cassandra Banda-Chavez, Linsey Deshommes and Natrone Means – were chosen for the trip based on grades, first time experiences, age, attendance and essays they submitted. The students, plus chaperone and TSIC student advocate, Noemi Perez, departed from Southwest Florida International Airport Sunday, June 12 and arrived in the nation’s capital in preparation for a week of adventure learning and sightseeing.

“From the moment we arrived at the airport, I could see the excitement in their eyes,” said Perez. “Not only was it the first time on an airplane for most of them, but also the first time being away from home.”

The students took part in a high school program offered by Close Up, a nonprofit that educates and inspires young people to become informed and engaged citizens. The program offered a one-of-a-kind opportunity for students to experience their government in action. From visits to Washington’s famous monuments, memorials and institutions, to meetings with their Congressional delegation on Capitol Hill, students got a first-hand look at the American political system.

Throughout the week, TIF students had the opportunity to explore D.C. and interact with other high-school students from all over the country. “It was like a college experience,” said Natrone Means. “There were so many new and different people; we had to use our communication skills to get to know them.”

Perez said that because the group was under a strict itinerary, they were also able to work on their time management and organizational skills.

The students were inspired by the visit, for a variety of reasons. Efren Corona said, “I’m seeing new places and I’m meeting new people. It’s been exciting.”

Lindsey Deshommes commented on all the rich history and education in D.C. “We’ve learned a lot about government on this trip. If politics is your future goal, then this is the place you want to visit.”

With the help of program instructors, students were able to consider how people and events represented in D.C.’s memorials impact their lives today. Students returned home knowing they have key roles to play as informed and engaged participants in the U.S. democracy.

During TIF’s 2010 Charity Classic, which raised a record breaking $1.5 million towards educational programs for the children of Immokalee, guests were invited to be dreammakers by bidding on large packages and getting nothing in return except some very specific opportunities to change a child’s life for the better. This was called the Fund A Dream opportunity. By the end of the evening, Fund A Dream raised more than $550,000 with 100 percent going directly to Immokalee children.

The 2011 Charity Classic is scheduled for Friday, Nov.11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Since 1991, The Immokalee Foundation has been building pathways to success for many of the children in Immokalee through a variety of programs that focus on mentorship, after-school activities, college scholarships, the development of vocational skills and incentives for educational growth. The organizations programs focus on building pathways to success though college and vocational scholarships, mentoring and tutoring opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills.

To make dreams come true for Immokalee children through donations or mentoring, visit www.immokaleefoundation.org or call 239-430-9122.

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Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

Efren Corona, Linsey Deshommes, Natrone Means, Noemi Perez, Cassandra Banda-Chavez, Lemuel Sanchez at the Capitol

Efren Corona, Linsey Deshommes, Natrone Means, Noemi Perez, Cassandra Banda-Chavez, Lemuel Sanchez at the Capitol

They marveled at the Metro, admired the rotundas of the Capitolc and gazed at the Washington Monument in what could be described as the experience of a lifetime for five students from
The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program. Thanks to proceeds from TIF’s Fund A Dream auction held last November as part of the foundation’s Charity Classic, the students recently made their first trip to Washington, D.C. And what a trip it was.

Click the link below to download a pdf of the full article from Naples Florida Weekly.

In June, eight Immokalee students ventured to Washington, D.C. for a week-long trip that one student described as “life changing.” The students toured the U.S. Capitol, rode the D.C. Metro, walked the National Mall, wandered the halls of the Smithsonian museums, and visited monuments to wars and soldiers and presidents. They had the opportunity to interact with D.C.’s diverse collection of residents and tourists. And they met other students from all over the U.S.

“You actually get to experience a new world,” said Jesus Valezco, one of TIF’s Take Stock in Children students. “It’s so different than what you see in Immokalee.”

Five of the eight students made their way to the nation’s capital thanks to the generosity of donors who contributed to our Fund A Dream™ “auction” at the 2010 Charity Classic Celebration. This year’s Fund A Dream™ — part of the 2011 Charity Classic Celebration at the Ritz-Carlton Naples Beach Resort on November 11 — will offer similar opportunities to help Immokalee’s children experience the world.

“I’ve seen so many things on this trip,” said Diana Avila-Pineda, a Take Stock in Children participant and Immokalee Readers tutor, as she stood outside the U.S. Capitol building. “It’s amazing.”

Continue on to see great photos from the D.C. experience.

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Arriving at Reagan International Airport just outside of D.C.

 

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Diana, Natrone, Jesus, and Elijah posing just north of the U.S. Capitol.

 

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A stroll along the National Mall.

 

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TIF program mananger and trip chaperone Noemi Perez in front of the Washington Monument.

 

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Students congregate on the steps of the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum.

 

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Getting ready to a visit to the Cannon House Office Building.

 

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Looking dapper in front of the U.S. Capitol Building.

 

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Crowding in the elevator on the way to meet a U.S. Representative.

 

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U.S. Representative David Rivera, who represents Immokalee, in the Cannon House Office Building.

 

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Representative Rivera poses with students from his district — TIF students included.

 

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Gathering for a snaphot in the Library of Congress.

 

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Exhibiting state pride at the World War II Memorial.

 

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Lemuel, Diana, and Natrone checking out the World War II Memorial.

 

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Gas station near Union Station makes us glad we didn’t have to rent a car.

 

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A must-have shot at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum.

 

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Natrone cannot contain himself — he loves D.C.!

 

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Taking a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building.

 

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Immokalee students (including many from Immokalee’s Redlands Christian Migrant Association Center) strike a pose.

 

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Gettin’ goofy on the streets of Washington, D.C.

 

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Our students became experts at navigating the D.C. Metro subway system.

 

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Efren, Jesus, Natrone, Diana, Lemuel, and Cassandra enjoy a quiet D.C. moment.

 

Jovenise Benjamin, a student at Immokalee High School, has been honored with the Alexander Hamilton Citizen Achievement Award for superior citizenship and achievement. The awards are given annually by the Alexander Hamilton Friends Association of Seattle, Washington. Jovenise is a tutor in TIF’s Immokalee Readers program.

Click the link below to read the full article.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Calendar Announcement/Save the Date
June 30, 2011

2011 Charity Classic Pro-Am

What: 

2011 Charity Classic Pro-Am
The Immokalee Foundation’s 2011 Charity Classic Pro-Am golf tournament will pair two dozen of the world’s greatest golfers with Naples’ most philanthropic players.

Who:  

The Immokalee Foundation
The nonprofit organization has a range of programs that focus on helping the youth of Immokalee succeed through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development.

When:

Monday, Nov. 14, 2011
7:30 a.m. breakfast and golf demonstrations
9:30 a.m. shotgun start
Lunch and awards presentation immediately following the tournament

Where:  

Bay Colony Golf Club
9740 Bent Grass Bend
Naples

Chairperson: 

Kevin Johnson, The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

Tickets:

Entry fees begin at $5,000. All pro-am golfers will receive tickets to the highly-acclaimed 2011 Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction Friday, Nov. 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Info:  

The Immokalee Foundation, 239-430-9122, info@immokaleefoundation.org, www.immokaleefoundation.org

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Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

Overcoming fears, exploring inner strength and learning towork together was the mission faced by 28 students from various programs of the Immokalee Foundation (TIF) as they boarded a bus
bound for Adventure Training Concepts (ATC) in Naples. It was 7 a.m., and the moans and groans of teenagers were audible as they wondered what to expect from the training they were about to endure.

Click the link below to download a pdf of the full column in the Naples Daily News.

TIF turned up in a wide variety of media outlets in May 2011. The .pdf below presents a collection of these media hits.

Friends and family members recently gathered at Bethel Assembly of God to celebrate the accomplishments of 42 high school students, ten college students, and five vocational students as they graduated from The Immokalee Foundation’s programs, including Take Stock in Children, Vocational Success, College Success, Direct Scholarships, Immokalee Readers, and Community Grants.

Click here to read the full article in the Naples Daily News.

Each year, Texas Roadhouse, a full-service restaurant chain, holds its annual four-day managing partner conference at a different vacation destination. Three days are spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the location and for the past seven years, one day has been set aside as a Humanitarian Day in an effort to give back to the communities they visit.

This year, Naples was the destination of choice. Immokalee was the focus of Humanitarian Day. And TIF stepped in to make this day happen.

Click the link below to read the full article in Naples Florida Weekly.

Each year, Texas Roadhouse, a full-service restaurant chain, holds its annual four-day managing partner conference at a different vacation destination. Three days are spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the location and for the past seven years, one day has been set aside as a Humanitarian Day in an effort to give back to the communities they visit.

This year, Naples was the destination of choice. Immokalee was the focus of Humanitarian Day. And TIF stepped in to make this day happen.

Click the link below to read the full article in the Immokalee Bulletin.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

TIF showed Texas Roadhouse the way to Immokalee

IMMOKALEE, Fla. (May 26, 2011) – Texas Roadhouse Inc. President and CEO G.J. Hart, 51, said he knows what it’s like to struggle. He immigrated to the United States from Holland with his family when he was five years old and decided long ago that if he was ever fortunate enough to be successful, he would give back. Hart has certainly kept his promise through the philanthropic endeavors of his company. His corporate philosophy calls for employees to help each other and help the community by having each restaurant become an integral part of its community.

Each year, Texas Roadhouse, a full-service restaurant chain, holds its annual four-day managing partner conference at a different vacation destination. Three days are spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the location and for the past seven years, one day has been set aside as a Humanitarian Day in an effort to give back to the communities they visit.

“Our goal is making improvements and leaving a community better than when we came,” said Hart.

This year, Naples was the destination of choice. The next step was finding a charity to support. In October 2010, Kirsten Sands, regional marketing director for Texas Roadhouse, and a group of her colleagues made a three-day trip to Collier County in search of a charitable organization that was the right fit.

“On the third day, we visited The Immokalee Foundation,” said Sands. “It was the 14th and final charity we would meet. We were all tired and it was far away, but when we sat down with the executive director, Liz Allbritten, we just knew this was the one.”

Sands says she asked Allbritten what Texas Roadhouse could do for The Immokalee Foundation. What happened next surprised her. “Liz suggested that instead of just focusing on TIF, we do something for the entire community – stating that anything we do for Immokalee helps the children of TIF. It was the most unselfish act I had ever seen.”

Allbritten introduced the group to some additional nonprofit organizations, including Immokalee Housing and Family Services, Immokalee Friendship House and iTECH. Representatives also met with numerous TIF students to talk about Immokalee’s needs. “We wanted them to see Immokalee through the eyes of the kids,” explained Allbritten. “We asked the students to consider what they would want done if we could bring more than 1,000 people to Immokalee that were willing to lend a hand.”

The students led the group on a tour of the community pointing out things like homes in need of paint and an athletic center at the high school that was unfit for use; they told the officials that there never seems to be enough food in the community.

“At the end of the day, I realized we still hadn’t determined what we would do for TIF,” said Sands. “I asked Liz, ‘Now what are we going to do for you?’ but she kept redirecting us. The depth and scope of this community project never would have happened if not for her generous actions.”

And so the planning began. As a means of reaching out and involving the community, a Town Hall meeting was held to encourage local businesses and officials to participate. Sands said because of all the moving parts, it was crucial to have support. By the end of the meeting, approximately 35 organizations had signed up to help.

Finally, after six months of planning, on April 18, more than 1,250 Texas Roadhouse employees and vendors came to Immokalee for the company’s Humanitarian Day. And what a day it was. The Immokalee High School athletic facility was renovated, fruit trees were planted, improvements were made to the Immokalee Friendship House building, nearly 10,000 boxes of nonperishable food were prepared and distributed to Immokalee residents, and improvements to The Immokalee Foundation’s new property began. In addition, a large mural depicting three children from Immokalee – a mural designed by student Josie Lopez and Jaime Hernandez, a teacher at iTECH – was painted on the Immokalee Housing and Family Services building by volunteers.

Crews also painted and installed landscaping in affordable housing communities such as Timber Ridge. Sands stated the people of Immokalee amazed her. “As crews were working on beautifying homes, the residents would bring out snacks or invite the crew to come inside and cool off. It was a wonderful sight to see.”

At the end of the day, the entire community was left with a sense of hope, pride and inspiration. “I am inspired by the corporate culture at Texas Roadhouse and hope other corporations are as well. This project is a great example of how to better our communities through collaborative efforts.

“Thank you Texas Roadhouse and all those who helped to make the day a great success for Immokalee,” added Liz Allbritten.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational scholarships, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills. To learn more about volunteering as a mentor or for additional information on TIF, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Mural

Mural

Royal Saldivar, Jemiah Warren, and Hector Lucio

Royal Saldivar, Jemiah Warren, and Hector Lucio

John Costigan, TIF’s board chair, reflects on the remarkable parternship between TIF, Texas Roadhouse, and all of Immokalee in this Naples Daily News column.

Read the column here.

In early May, golfers and pros from Naples-area golf clubs came to the Old Collier Golf Club for the 2011 Inter-Club Challenge, a benefit event for TIF. The event, which raised $123,000, is the focus of this story in the News-Press.

Click here to read the article.

The May 19–25 edition of Naples Florida Weekly features the winning teams at the 2011 Inter-Club Challenge, a charity golf event at The Old Collier Golf Club in support of TIF. Click the link below to see the article.

TIF turned up in a wide variety of media outlets in April 2011. The .pdf below presents a collection of these media hits.

Zednik_Headshot

Joseph Zednik, an Immokalee Foundation board member and mentor, and Bonita Springs resident, has been named to chair the organization’s Charity Classic Celebration scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Highlights of the evening include an extraordinary dinner, live and silent auctions featuring once-in-a-lifetime experiences, music, entertainment and dancing.

The event’s theme, Dream. Believe. Experience., celebrates the foundation’s mission to provide sustained educational opportunities that make aspirations come true for the youth of Immokalee. TIF’s largest fundraiser raised a record-breaking $1.5 million in 2010 for the foundation’s educational programs.

“The programs funded by the Charity Classic Celebration help the kids of Immokalee obtain an education so they may have the opportunity to live the American dream,” said Zednik. “There is no better feeling than helping them grow, learn and succeed.”

Along with his position on The Immokalee Foundation board, Zednik is CEO of Prescient Ridge Fund, LLC, and is a former member of the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Board of Options, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Eurex and National Futures Association. Zednik received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

2011 Inter-Club Challenge raises more than $123,000 for Immokalee children

NAPLES, Fla. (May 13, 2011) – Eighteen foursomes from 12 Southwest Florida communities and their clubs’ golf pros participated in the 2011 Inter-Club Challenge at The Old Collier Golf Club in Naples. The fifth annual tournament raised more than $123,000, benefitting the children of Immokalee through The Immokalee Foundation. Both winning men’s and women’s teams were from The Old Collier Golf Club.

“Our presenting sponsor The Johnson Meland Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, our host The Old Collier Golf Club, our founding sponsor Fifth Third Bank and other sponsors, underwriters and players are helping to provide a brighter future for the children of Immokalee,” said tournament co-chair Tom Weyl.

Children with The First Tee of Naples/Collier Program in Immokalee, a TIF supported program, assisted with the day’s activities.

The winning men’s team was the foursome from The Old Collier Golf Club were Nick Trigony, Bill O’Brien, Clint Harkins, Dick Stonesifer with golf pro Steve Waugh; and the women’s winning team were Susie Garrabrant, Ellen Canham, Bonnie McMicken and Sue Otterbeck with golf pro Iain Mossman.

Closest to the pin winner Kevin Johnson received a Rolex watch provided by Bigham Jewelers. Germain Lincoln of Naples provided the hole-in-one prize.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills. To learn more about volunteering as a mentor or for additional information on TIF, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

2011 Inter-Club Challenge men’s winning team at the Old Collier Golf Club. From left, golf pro Steve Waugh, Nick Trigony, Bill O'Brien, Jose, Clint Harkins, and Dick Stonesifer.

2011 Inter-Club Challenge men’s winning team at the Old Collier Golf Club. From left, golf pro Steve Waugh, Nick Trigony, Bill O’Brien, Jose, Clint Harkins, and Dick Stonesifer.

2011 Inter-Club Challenge women’s winning team at The Old Collier Golf Club. From left, Sue Otterbeck, Bonnie McMicken, Susie Garrabrant, golf pro Iain Mossman, and Ellen Canham.

2011 Inter-Club Challenge women’s winning team at The Old Collier Golf Club. From left, Sue Otterbeck, Bonnie McMicken, Susie Garrabrant, golf pro Iain Mossman, and Ellen Canham.

Kevin Johnson, closest to pin winner of a Rolex from Bigham Jewelers, being congratulated by Mike Shoda, The Old Collier Golf Club pro.

Kevin Johnson, closest to pin winner of a Rolex from Bigham Jewelers, being congratulated by Mike Shoda, The Old Collier Golf Club pro.

Mark Lye, co-chair, with TIF students: Gerardo, Jose, Abel, Eriel, Charity, and Manson.

Mark Lye, co-chair, with TIF students: Gerardo, Jose, Abel, Eriel, Charity, and Manson.

Thanks to supporter of the Fund a Dream™ fundraiser at last fall’s Charity Classic Dinner & Auction, Immokalee students were treated to a “dream day” at a Minnesota Twins spring training game. This Immokalee Bulletin article tells the story.

This Naples Florida Weekly article highlights the Minnesota Twins spring training game attended this spring by ten TIF students. Click the link below to view the article.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, 239-275-5758, sarnold@gravinasmith.com

Zednik tapped to chair TIF Charity Classic Celebration

NAPLES, Fla. (May 12, 2011) – Joseph Zednik, an Immokalee Foundation board member and mentor, and Bonita Springs resident, has been named to chair the organization’s Charity Classic Celebration scheduled for Friday, Nov. 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Highlights of the evening include an extraordinary dinner, live and silent auctions featuring once-in-a-lifetime experiences, music, entertainment and dancing.

The event’s theme, Dream. Believe. Experience., celebrates the foundation’s mission to provide sustained educational opportunities that make aspirations come true for the youth of Immokalee. TIF’s largest fundraiser raised a record-breaking $1.5 million in 2010 for the foundation’s educational programs.

“The programs funded by the Charity Classic Celebration help the kids of Immokalee obtain an education so they may have the opportunity to live the American dream,” said Zednik. “There is no better feeling than helping them grow, learn and succeed.”

Along with his position on The Immokalee Foundation board, Zednik is CEO of Prescient Ridge Fund, LLC, and is a former member of the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Board of Options, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Eurex and National Futures Association. Zednik received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and vocational school, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences and life skills development. To learn more about the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.

Zednik_Headshot

Thanks to the generous TIF supporters who attended the 2010 Charity Classic Dinner & Auction in November, ten of our students were able to attend a recent Minnesota Twins spring training game. The News-Press picked up the story.

Tennis

Every Tuesday afternoon throughout the spring, the sound of tennis balls bouncing off the pavement would fill the air at the Immokalee Community Park.

This is because Jim and Sulbey Holt were in town.

The Holts, who live in the Naples community of Pelican Marsh, would make the hour-long drive to Immokalee every Tuesday afternoon to serve as coaches to 20 third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders at Immokalee’s Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA). Along with an exceptional cast of additional volunteers from Pelican Marsh, the Holts would oversee the students’ commute to the park before diving into drills and exercises meant to provide the children with the skills and knowledge to play the game.

And Holts didn’t simply donate their time. At the end of each session, they treated the entire crew to some celebratory ice cream.

By bringing their passion for the game of tennis to Immokalee, the Holts have exposed these children to a new and rewarding experience that will translate not simply to better athletic skills, but to improved personal traits such as confidence, tenacity, teamwork, and the desire to learn new things. In other words, the Holts — like all of our incredible volunteers — are leaving significant and valuable imprints on the lives of Immokalee’s children.

Picture 19

Last month, Immokalee High School senior and TIF superstar, Andrea Guerrero, received an email from representatives of the Speakers Assembly of Southwest Florida. The letter said, in part, “With the concurrence of the other committee members, [we] are delighted to tell you that you have been awarded a $1,000 scholarship by the Speakers Assembly of Southwest Florida. Congratulations!”

This tremendous honor is yet another feather in Andrea’s very adorned cap. She is a top student and a model citizen.

What else makes Andrea so interesting? Read on to find out.

About Andrea:

  • Born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico
  • Hopes to study international relations at college
  • Colleges she applied to: Yale University, Harvard University, Georgetown University, Vassar College, Cornell University, Smith College, and Amherst College
  • College she’ll be attending: Georgetown University
  • Plans to become Mexico’s U.S. Ambassador
  • Within the past year, she has studied at Immokalee High School, Edison State College, Florida Gulf Coast University, and the University of Florida
  • Her current weighted GPA: 5.2541
  • Her current class rank: 1/280
  • Her high school extracurricular activities have included National BETA Club, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Executive Board, and College Reach Out Program
  • Her recent honors and awards include FBLA Business Math District Winner, FBLA Business Calculations District Winner, Academic High Honor Roll, Young Entrepreneur & Innovator Award, Exemplary Leader Award, Outstanding Community Service Volunteer Award, and Harvard Book Award Recipient
  • Recent community service activities include active participation in the University of Florida Innovative Sustainability & Social Impact Initiative and Poder (People’s Organization for the Defense of Equal Rights)
  • Did we mention she’s an entrepreneur, too? Earlier this year she opened the Novel Sage, a business that creates unique gift designs from the pages of books. Check it out here.

Career

Law enforcement officer Brian Clervoix speaks to TIF students at a recent career planning workshop in Immokalee. From spring 2010 to spring 2011, TIF has hosted 13 career development and skills training workshops.

Milca

Milca Bellegarde, a junior at the Florida State University, is a TIF Direct Scholarship recipient who is taking great advantage of the opportunities that college life is providing her. The most recent example of this? Milca has been selected as the head resident of her student residence.

The Southern Scholarship Foundation — which serves qualified students at Florida State University, Florida A & M University, the University of Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast University — provides housing for its scholars. Milca is one of those scholars. Here’s an official description of the Southern Scholarship Foundation’s scholarship houses and the role of the head resident:

“Each scholarship house is home to nine to 29 students representing a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Living in this home-like environment, the recipients share the duties and responsibilities necessary to maintain a household. Each house is assigned a head resident (usually a senior or graduate student) who is responsible to the Foundation for the effective operation of the house through its elected officers and members. Each house works together to establish their semester budget, plan and shop for their menus, cook, clean, and study together, gaining valuable life skills and fostering lifelong friendships. Sometimes, the most a student would have to pay is $950 a semester. This is a bargain compared to on-campus housing, which costs thousands per semester. You must hold and maintain a 3.0 or higher to qualify and be selected for this scholarship program.”

Milca’s house will be home to 20 female students.

“This role takes characteristics such as leadership, responsibility, high academic achievement, and reliability, to name a few,” says Nancy Omonte, TIF’s College Success program manager. “Congratulations to Milca for achieving such an honorable position with the Southern Scholarship Foundation. We are so proud of her!”

Maria_Castro

We asked TIF alum and Barry University sophomore Maria Castro to give us ten words or phrases that spring to mind when she thinks of Immokalee. In response, she described the good, the bad, and everything in between. Check out Maria’s list. And be sure to let us know what you think of when you hear the word Immokalee.

Ten phrases that come to mind when Maria Castro thinks of Immokalee:

1. Happy place
2. Expensive food
3. Unemployment
4. Racial diversity
5. Strong desire for education
6. Over populated
7. Lack of entertainment
8. Human rights
9. Sunshine
10. Replete with Hispanic restaurants

HPIM0596.JPG

Since last August, we’ve been using the TIF Facebook page as a place to share some of our favorite words of wisdom. We’ve borrowed quotations from Maya Angelou, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Suess, and plenty more. Here is a collection of 20 quotations that have appeared on our Facebook page. Soak them in, become inspired, and then share this post with some friends so they can be inspired, too.

‎‎”Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” — Abigail Adams

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” — Maya Angelou

“A person shows what he is by what he does with what he has.” — Anonymous

‎”Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” — G. K. Chesterton

“Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.” — Chinese Proverb ‎

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” — Walt Disney ‎

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” — Albert Einstein

‎”Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I think all students start off with incredible ability and curiosity, and if they’re given the opportunity to pursue that…[then] their abilities will be reinforced and…we’ll really achieve so much more potential out of the great students we have….” — Bill Gates

‎‎”Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.” — Aldous Huxley

“The time is always right to do what is right.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” — Nelson Mandela ‎‎

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“Life isn’t what you want it to be, it’s what you make it become.” — Anthony Ryan

“Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom, and being one’s own person is its ultimate reward.” — Patricia Sampson

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” — Henry David Thoreau

“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh 

“We are what we imagine ourselves to be.” — Kurt Vonnegut

“Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from what you can do.” — John Wooden

TSIC_fountain

Lois Gomez, mentor coordinator, and Tricia Yeggy, director of programs, in Tallahassee.

 

In February, The Immokalee Foundation sent several staff members to Tallahassee to participate in the annual Take Stock in Children (TSIC) statewide conference. Through the Immokalee chapter of TSIC, we currently work with more than 100 students who are on the path to a college career and a successful life.

Tricia Yeggy, TIF’s director of programs and one of the staff members who made the trek to Tallahassee, took a few minutes to share the ten best things she learned at this year’s conference.
1). We learned best practices for program management, student advocacy, and mentor coordination.

2). We were exposed to exciting ideas about mentor recruitment and retention.

3). We found out that TSIC is grant recipient of the government’s Investing in Innovation Fund (also called I3) — a great show of confidence in the program and a tremendous indication of the program’s success.

4). We spent time exploring the similarities between rural and urban at-risk children.

5). We ran into numerous members of the state legislature — and we were very pleased to learn that many of them are interested in learning more about/advocating for the program.

6). We realized that it’s not just the children in TIF’s TSIC program that are articulate and inspiring — TSIC students around the state are equally as impressive and inspiring. So many children are living testaments to the power of mentors and value of having the opportunity to discover their passions.

7). We learned that graduation rates from college are 22% across the nation — dishearteningly low. Compare that to a 59% TSIC statewide college graduation rate.

8). We were told that Florida Prepaid Project STARS scholarships — which are scholarships matching state dollars to TSIC’s scholarship purchases — are looking at a 40% reduction in this year’s state budget. This means we need to prepare ourselves for very real challenges to our ability to help the children of Immokalee in the year (or years) ahead.

9). We celebrated the fact that TSIC and the Asofsky Family Foundation have partnered to offer the Leaders 4 Life Fellowship to deserving TSIC scholars. There is a lengthy application process for this fellowship, but the children that earn the fellowship (there were five winners this year) receive a $40,000 fellowship that pays for all of the soft costs associated with a college education: books, housing, fees, computer, etc.

10). And finally, we were thrilled to find out that TIF board member Joe Zednik was elected to the TSIC state board. It’s tough to express how honored we are to have such an important member of the TIF community on TSIC’s state board.

IMS11

 

The Out of this World Community Carnival was held at Immokalee Middle School on February 5, 2011. The carnival was a community-wide celebration of literacy and science — and, of course, of the community itself. We were very pleased to be a part of this special day. Continue on to see a collection of snapshots from the day’s events.

IMS1

Students enjoying the activities at the carnival.

 

IMS2

Standing guard at the cotton candy station.

 

IMS3

TIF staff member Noemi Perez gets a photo taken with carnival attendees.

 

IMS4

Young scholar-artists hard at work.

 

IMS5

Rule #1: Always stay close to the dessert.

 

IMS6

Always be suspicious of a man with a water balloon.

 

IMS7

A good sport sits above the dunk tank.

 

IMS8

Four of Immokalee’s finest gather for a snapshot.

 

IMS9

Hanging out at the carnival.

 

IMS10

A work of art in progress.

 

IMS13

Cotton candy was one of many treats at the carnival.

 

IMS14(1)

Preparing to launch a rocket.

 

IMS15

Watching a rocket shoot into the sky.

 

IMS16

A fireman’s hat, a jump rope, and a TIF t-shirt — what more do you need to have a great time at the carnival?

Liz_Allbritten

The Great Naples Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has announced its 2011 “Women of Achievement,” and we are thrilled to see TIF Executive Director Liz Allbritten on that list.

Liz will be recognized along with co-honorees Mary B. Brown, Karen Conley, Kathy Feinstein, Joanna Fitzgerald, L. Patt Franciosi, Kerry M. Geroy, Dawn Montecalvo, Sandy Parker, and Kim Slote at a benefit luncheon at 11 a.m. on March 10, 2011 at Grey Oaks Country Club in Naples.

WINK-TV news anchor Lois Thome will speak at the event. The luncheon will also feature a prize drawing and silent auction.

Liz, who took over at the helm of TIF in March 2010, boasts a career that spans 23 years in higher education as well as education programs and nonprofits. She was vice president of Take Stock in Children with the Education Foundation of Collier County, and has held positions at Broward Community College including director of student life and development. Liz was also a corporate facilitator working with diverse organizations such as Reebok International, Pfizer Corporation, Burger King and Florida International University.

In 2006, Liz was named Volunteer of the Year by The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce. Active in the community, she has worked with PACE Center for Girls and the United Arts Council Stars in the Arts celebration.

If you would like to join Liz at the March 10 luncheon, tickets are $75 and all proceeds will be used to fund AAUW Educational Opportunities, AAUW Legal Advocacy, and local scholarships sponsored by the Greater Naples AAUW Charitable Foundation, Inc. To learn more or to make a reservation, visit the AAUW site here.

TSIC_induction_group

In late January, nearly 200 people gathered to celebrate the induction of 32 new students into TIF’s Take Stock in Children program. The 32 students, mostly seventh graders, will work with mentors and TIF staff members from now through high school graduation in an effort to help them excel academically and prepare themselves for continued academic success after high school. All students who complete the program — which includes meeting high academic, behavioral, and social standards — will earn a four-year scholarship to a Florida state university.

Edgar

TIF’s Vocational Success program gained the spotlight in a recent edition of the Naples Daily News.

“When Edgar Robles-Garcia was an Immokalee High School senior, he joined Future Builders of America,” the article reads. “By graduation, he had earned an internship at BCB Homes. Today, the 20-year-old has a job thanks to the Immokalee Foundation’s Vocational Success program.”

The story lets us into the lives of students whose future has been shaped by their participation in the program.

“It’s unbelievable,” says Edgar, who earned an internship and later a full-time job with BCB Homes thanks to his work with Vocational Success. “I wouldn’t have this position without The Immokalee Foundation.”

Click here to read the article in full.

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When a TIF student excels or racks up an impressive accomplishment, she becomes a role model for her siblings, her peers, and the other children in the Immokalee community. This is exactly the case with Maria Plata, a Take Stock in Children superstar who spoke at this year’s Take Stock induction ceremony about her challeanges, motivations, and achievements.

What makes Maria so unique? Here are ten quick facts about this exceptional member of the TIF community.

 

1). Maria is a current Immokalee High School senior.

2). Maria’s current high school GPA is 4.1.

3). Maria is taking courses at FGCU as an early admissions student.

4). Maria dreams of a career in public relations.

5). Maria has three brothers and three sisters.

6). Maria’s father is a migrant field worker, and she and her siblings spent their childhood summers traveling to places like Georgia to be with their father on the farm.

7). Maria has been a vital member of various student organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, BETA Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and C.R.O.P.

8). Maria is member of the 2010 class of Youth Leadership Collier.

9). At TIF, Maria has volunteered as an Immokalee Readers tutor, helping kindergarten through second-grade students to establish strong reading and language skills.

10). Reflecting on her own decision to take her education so seriously, Maria says, “Education really opens up windows. And those windows open you up to the world.”

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Ever since Texas Roadhouse descended on Immokalee in late April with 1,200+ volunteers intent on giving the town a makeover and providing the needy with meals and support, we at TIF have been members of the Unofficial Texas Roadhouse Fan Club.

We first got to know the organization nearly a year ago now, when we began talking with the company about bringing its annual Humanitarian Day to Immokalee. Nearly six months later, the massive Texas Roadhouse crew arrived. They renovated the Immokalee High School athletic facility. They planted fruit trees. They made improvements to the Immokalee Friendship House building. They prepared and distributed nearly 10,000 boxes of nonperishable food. They sponsored a large mural depicting three children from Immokalee — a mural designed by student Josie Lopez and Jaime Hernandez, a teacher at iTECH — that now adorns a large outside wall of the Immokalee Housing and Family Services building.

During our College Tour 2011, TIF students made a stop at a Texas Roadhouse in Gainesville, Florida — and they took advantage of the occasion to unfurl a banner (pictured above) that shows how much they appreciate what Texas Roadhouse has done for Immokalee.

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A new generation of TIF’s Take Stock in Children (TSIC) students will soon be welcomed to the program.

On January 24, 32 students will join the TSIC ranks. While candidates typically apply to the program in seventh grade, we will also be admitting select eighth and ninth graders as well. Each participant will meet weekly with a mentor throughout the school year — meetings that will continue through senior year of high school. In order to maintain TSIC eligibility, students commit to high grades, good behavior, regular school attendance, and community service. In return, they earn full tuition scholarships to any Florida state college, university, or vocational school.

“The Immokalee Foundation has been wonderful,” says Gaelle Colas, a TSIC alum who is now a sophomore at Duke University. “They’ve supported us. And whenever a new challenge comes up, they’re always there to help you.”

This year’s induction ceremony marks the first step toward a lifelong dream not only for these students, but for the parents of these students who have made many sacrifices in order to provide their children with a shot at a quality education.

If you’d like to join us in celebrating this achievement, please RSVP to Lois Gomez at (239) 657-2461 or lois.gomez@immokaleefoundation.org

The ceremony will take place at Bethel Assembly of God in Immokalee.

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Every year, the Christmas Around the World parade comes to Immokalee — and TIF’s students always look forward to putting on a good show as participants in the parade.

This year, TIF’s Vocational Success students came up with the theme “Disco Fever” and conjured music-related designs to decorate a holiday float. While Vocational Success students handled the cutting and construction, more than 80 students from across TIF’s programs came together to see the project through. The parade provided students with a valuable opportunity to use the skills they’re developing in school and in their vocational programs. At the same time they found a fun and exciting way to make a holiday contribution to their community.

“It’s great to see these kids building skills and character at the same time,” says Elda Hernandez, program manager for Vocational Success. “And the team work they displayed was incredible.”

Continue on for additional photos of the creation process for the 2010 Christmas Around the World Parade.

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TIF student Rose and TIF program manager Linsay take a break from their work to pose for the camera.

 

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TIF students display a finished musical note.

 

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TIF students gather for a snapshot before getting back to work on the “Disco Fever” decorations.

 

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The saws came out. Among TIF students, only members of Future Builders of America are allowed to operate the saws, as they are trained and certified to use this equipment.

 

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A group of painters looks up from their art.

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Take Stock in Children program, one of our flagship programs, allows us to pair mentor with mentees in an effort to help children along the pathway to a college education. Our mentors begin working with students in seventh grade and stay with them through high school graduation. As long as the students maintain high academic and behavioral standards, they are granted a full, four-year scholsarship to a Florida state university.

Every month, we send a brief newsletter to the Take Stock mentors and supporters, updating them on the latest program news, TIF news, and more. Check out the latest newsletter here.

If you’d like to learn more about Take Stock in Children or would like to sign up for our monthly newsletter, please send an email to Lois Gomez, the Take Stock program coordinator.

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TIF alum and current FGCU sophomore Oscar Lugo has been named the November Student of the Month by FGCU’s Office of Community Outreach. Unprompted, Oscar raised 17 boxes worth of toys for Operation Christmas Child, ensuring that 17 children will find joy this holiday season. We’re very proud and honored to call Oscar part of our family.

Click here for a congratulatory .pdf issued by FGCU.

Edgar Robles’ Story from The Immokalee Foundation on Vimeo.

When Edgar Robles was a student in our Vocational Success program, he secured an internship as a framing intern for BCB Homes in Naples. That internship led to a full-time job — and Edgar is now a superintendent-in-training. Edgar grabbed a Flip cam and made a quick video that discusses the impact that TIF and its partner organizations have had on his life.

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TIF and iTECH are teaming up to host a blood drive on Monday, November 1 from 8 am–3 pm at iTECH in Immokalee. All donors receive a complimentary t-shirt and are entered into a drawing to win a new iPad. Collier County students ages 16, 17, and 18 must bring a parental permission slip in order to donate.

Please join us in making this important contribution. Click here for full details.

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TIF’s Vocational Success students teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to contribute to the construction of a home in Immokalee. The students (along with Elda Hernandez, our Vocational Succes program manager) devoted many man hours to the project during Make a Difference Day on October 23, 2010.

Continue on for images from the day.

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At The Immokalee Foundation, students come first. Each day, we strive to better the lives of Immokalee’s next generation — a goal made easier by the Immokalee students’ enthusiasm and intelligence. So, we’re taking the time to recognize these students on an individual basis. This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to Daniel Hernandez, an 18-year-old Immokalee student who is a veteran of our Vocational Success program and a current freshman at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Daniel has been a member of the Vocational Success program for two years. Originally from Immokalee, he is part of a family of five — and he was the first family member to graduate from high school. People describe Daniel as “ambitious,” “enthusiastic,” “outgoing,” and “a great role model for others” — all traits that will help him to “become a successful civil engineer and to build something no one has ever thought of.” While in high school, Daniel was an active member of BETA Club, Scholars Club, Key Club, and Future Builders of America. Today, he’s a freshman at Florida Gulf Coast University and well on his way to reaching his goals.

Click here to meet more of our students.

johnnie

At The Immokalee Foundation, students come first. Each day, we strive to better the lives of Immokalee’s next generation — a goal made easier by the Immokalee students’ enthusiasm and intelligence. So, we’re taking the time to recognize these students on an individual basis. This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to Johnnie Gonzales, an 18-year-old Immokalee student who is a veteran of our Vocational Success program and a current freshman at Edison State College.

Johnnie, 18, is an ever-present personality at The Immokalee Foundation. Aside from being one of the leaders in our Vocational Success program, Johnnie has appeared in the videos, television spots, and photography that help us to get the word out. He says that his time at TIF has made him “a better leader and a better all-around person.” As he moves onto a career, Johnnie looks forward to starting his own civil engineering firm. Based on everything he’s accomplished in the “small hard-working farming town of Immokalee” (as he puts it), we have no doubt he’ll see his dreams through.

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Forwarders. Backhoes. Skidders. Pavers. Pipelayers. Cold planers. Knuckleboom loaders. Fell bunchers. Road reclaimers. Telehandlers. Harevesters. Graders. 

These are the sorts of machines that heavy equipment mechanics know plenty about. 

Thanks to generous funding from Caterpillar, Kelly Tractors, and the Fites Foundation, TIF’s Vocational Success students are going to know a thing or two about these machines, too. Through our new Heavy Equipment Mechanics Program, our students will receive training in the field of heavy equipment operation, production, and repair. This vocational training will provide our students with valuable hands-on experience and direct preparation for the workforce.

To join us on November 13 at the iTECH Center in Immokalee as we inaugurate the Heavy Equipment Mechanics Program, please contact Elda Hernandez at at (239) 200-6201 or elda.hernandez@immokaleefoundation.org. The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and light refreshments.

The Details:

November 13, 2010
11:00 am–1 pm
iTECH (508 North 9th Street, Immokalee)

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t The Immokalee Foundation, we put students first. Our primary goal is to better the lives of Immokalee students — a goal made easier by the Immokalee students’ enthusiasm and intelligence. So, we’re taking the time to recognize these students on an individual basis. This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to Sergio Garibay, a 16-year-old Immokalee student who is a veteran of our Take Stock in Children program.

Sixteen-year-old Sergio, who has lived in Immokalee his entire life, has been a Take Stock in Children student for three years. He credits his participation in Take Stock with helping him to stay on track in school. One of his favorite aspects of Take Stock is working one-on-one with his mentor, who helps him to be the best student he can be. And it’s working. “My grades are very good,” he says. When he doesn’t have his nose in the books, you can find Sergio on the football field. Several years from now, he’d like to be a heart surgeon or a firefighter. Whatever path he pursues, he intends “to become something great in life.”

Click here to meet more of our students.

 

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When the Naples Daily News finds something it likes, it lets the world know by giving it a star.

TIF was recently the recipient of exactly this honor.

The Naples Daily News editorial team has recognized TIF’s Immokalee Readers program by giving it a star in its “Stars and spurs, dollars and coconuts” column. According to the newspaper, Immokalee Readers “matches visionary, talented high school students with elementary school students who need a helping hand with reading — the foundation of learning.”

Click here to check out a .pdf of the “Stars and spurs” article.

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Immokalee Readers students gather around their tutor this summer at Lake Trafford Elementary School.

 

TIF Executive Director Liz Allbritten provided a “Community Contributor” piece in the September 17 edition of the Naples Daily News. In the column, she talks about the tremendous success we’ve seen in Immokalee Readers, a TIF program that “matches 59 high school-aged tutors with about 235 children from kindergarten through second grade to provide intensive and exciting reading lessons.”

Click here to check out the full article from the Naples Daily News.

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TIF continues to see our students succeed, even after they’ve left Immokalee. Lately, the success of two TIF students’ athletic pursuits, in particular, have been entertaining to watch. 

First, new scholarship recipient Argeo Cruz is becoming a dominant force on the Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) track team. He just broke the top freshman record and was just hundredths of a second behind the school record for the men’s 8K.

Aaron Henry is also showing what he’s made of as a star safety on the University of Wisconsin football team. Aaron is from TIF’s first graduating class of the Take Stock in Children program. This week he was named as one of the Stars of the Week by Naples Daily News for his performance in Saturday’s game against Arizona State.

Both Argeo and Aaron are excelling in academics as well as athletics. Congratulations to these two star TIF students. We look forward to watching their success continue.

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The Immokalee Foundation has just launched the website for the 2010 Charity Classic. The event, which is the Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser, includes a dinner and auction and a pro-am golf event where benefactors will play nine holes with PGA, LPGA, and Champions tour pros.

On the Charity Classic site, you’ll find information on TIF students and the Charity Classic events, as well as the opportunity to donate today. Click here to check out the site for yourself.

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As reported by the Naples Daily News, The Immokalee Foundation’s students have begun tutoring one another. As part of TIF’s Immokalee Readers program, 59 Immokalee High School students are paired up with around 235 Immokalee children between kindergarten and the second grade, providing them challenging and stimulating reading lessons. The program has helped not just the younger students, 90% of whom are reading at grade level or higher, but also the older students who find the process a rewarding and exciting opportunity to explore teaching as a vocation.

Our very own Patricia Nunez told the NDN, “These kids really need help and the extra work has paid off significantly. Many of the kids in the program last year continued with the summer program at Lake Trafford Elementary to address the issue of regression in the summer months. Providing our schools with these additional resources is changing the lives of these children, which is great. That’s the whole idea.”

Find out more on the Immokalee Readers program here.

Last week, the United Arts Council (UAC) of Collier County asked local artists to volunteer to come together to paint a mural outside of the RCMA Community School in Immokalee. The mural is complete and looks fantastic — now there are freshly painted dragons adorning the walls outside the playground. The mural outlines began on Sunday and the final piece was finished up by Monday evening. On Monday morning, the students and staff told the artists and volunteers that worked on the mural how much they enjoy this new addition to the school grounds.  

To get involved in the UAC of Collier County or to find out a schedule of their events, click here.

 

The Immokalee Foundation’s Vocational Success program provides students technical skills training to better prepare them for the challenges ahead. Providing students vocational training is an important part of TIF’s contribution to the Immokalee community. Recently, several Vocational Success students were taken to the workshop at the Thomas Riley Artisans’ Guild in Naples to assemble stepping stools with the assistance of a few Thomas Riley pros.

Click here to see how you can get involved in TIF’s Vocational Success program.

 

In July, we reported on Immokalee senior Jonathan Cantu’s amazing journey up to Chicago to fulfill his dreams in a burgeoning fashion design career. Recently, his impressive opportunity was noticed and reported in Florida Weekly, a local resource for all things news and entertainment. Click here to view the website.

Congrats again to Jonathan for his hard work and worthy recognition.

Summer is swiftly coming to an end. Collier county schools are back in session and the town of Immokalee is bracing for another exciting school year. For more information on all the Collier county schools, including schedules, lunch menus, and all the activities for the 2010–2011 school year, head on over to their website.

Continue on to see more snapshots from Immokalee’s Lake Trafford Elementary School.

 

Cheerleaders, athletes, and fans alike are waiting anxiously for America’s favorite sport to begin its 2010 season. Yes, football season is heating up all over the country. And it’s no different here in Immokalee. On Friday, it was Cowboys vs. Indians as Immokalee High School took on their rivals, La Belle High School in a pre-season showdown. With four and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, the game was rained out but the Immokalee Indians were the clear victors, ending the game 28 points over their rivals.

Throughout this early football season, grab a hotdog, watch a football game, and enjoy the warm summer nights while they’re still around.

Ever wonder what Immokalee would be like with high-speed Internet available all across town? According toImmokaleetoday.com, the Florida Rural Broadband Alliance (FRBA) has just been granted a $24 million high-speed Internet grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The grant, which is a part of the Obama administration’s stimulus package, will allow interior Florida communities — including Immokalee — high-speed Internet access for educational and personal purposes, among others.

We’re excited about the opportunities that ubiquitous high-speed Internet will bring to Immokalee. The direct impact of the grant will, most likely, not be felt immediately but one thing is a near certainty, this is an exciting step for Immokalee’s jobs, education, and future.

At The Immokalee Foundation, we put students first. Our primary goal is to better the lives of Immokalee students — a goal made easier by the Immokalee students’ enthusiasm and intelligence. Therefore, we’re taking the time to recognize these students on an individual basis. This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to Ojette Bonhomme, a 17-year-old Immokalee student who is excited about her future and the work that TIF has done in her life.

How long have you lived in Immokalee?

I have lived in Immokalee for 17 years, all my life.

What challenges have you faced?

Growing up, I faced many challenges. It’s hard to keep track because everyday is a challenge; some for better, others for worse.

How did your relationship with The Immokalee Foundation begin?

I found out about The Immokalee Foundation through Mrs. Elda Hernandez, who works with Vocational Success. She, as well as Mrs. Noemi Perez, has helped me and motivated me. My relationship with The Immokalee Foundation is great.

Has The Immokalee Foundation changed your life?

The truth is, meeting the people in The Immokalee Foundation has changed my life. I now see a brighter future for myself, and I am truly as dedicated to school as I ought to be. TIF has directly affected my life because since I got into high school, I’ve been thinking about how I was going to go to college, and if my parents were going to be able to afford to send me.

Before The Immokalee Foundation, I was a 3.5 GPA student with little motivation. But with TIF, now I am 100% motivated and have become a 3.8 GPA student. I am now ranked 30 in a class which consists of 320 students, and I’m motivated to be in the top 20 when I graduate.

Where do you see yourself in the near future?

In ten years, I see myself doing whatever positive thing I’m destined to do. It’s hard to plan the future when you don’t know what to expect. I just hope to still be living and enjoying every bit of my life.

A few weeks ago, Paul McCarthy, owner of Captiva Cruises, stumbled upon The Immokalee Foundation’s homepage. After taking a look at the website, he called down to the home office and offered to take the TIF students out on a day-long expedition. A week later, 35 students and a handful of chaperones were on a cruise vessel from Fort Meyers to Picnic Island.

Among the various activities, the students participated in a scavenger hunt and were provided buckets and nets to collect their findings. Overall, the tour lasted about four hours but the contribution to the students’ summer will last a lot longer.

Thanks to Paul McCarthy and everyone at Captiva Cruises for their invaluable contribution to the lives of Immokalee students.

It’s been a busy summer for The Immokalee Foundation. Last week, the Naples Daily News published an articleby TIF board member Joe Zednik outlining all of the impressive accomplishments that TIF has been able to see through in the past three months. Among them:

  • Sponsored three students to participate in the Youth Leadership Collier program.
  • Partnered with Soccer Pit to start a summer soccer program for girls.
  • Funded the Immokalee Beta Club’s trip to the National Beta Club Convention in Kentucky.

…and many more. We here at The Immokalee Foundation are proud of all that has been accomplished during the summer months and are proud of our students for taking their summer and making a difference in their community and in their own lives. With students attending summer camp in New England and art schools in Chicago, TIF students made an impact across the nation this summer. With autumn just around the corner, TIF is gearing up for another exciting and accomplished season.

Here at TIF, we’re proud of the staff that carries out our mission on a daily basis. Their dedication and hard work truly change the lives of Immokalee’s children — and that’s why we’re taking the time to recognize these outstanding individuals. This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to Linsay Crovo. Linsay recently answered a few questions regarding the work that she does for TIF — and she also told us what snack she likes more than ice cream.

What is your job at The Immokalee Foundation?

I am a program manager in our Immokalee Office. Right now I’m working on a bunch of new programs that will continue to help give Immokalee students the opportunity to go to college as well as learn about the different fields of work that are available to them. Along with that, I am working on some after-school programs, such as golf, tennis, and soccer, with many more to come.

What is your favorite part about working for TIF?

Besides working with some of the best people I know, I’d have to say knowing and seeing the positive effects that we have on our TIF kids is the most rewarding part of this job — and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What is something unique about yourself?

Well, I’ve played soccer since I was four years old and played professional soccer for a little while after college.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

I’m not a big fan of ice cream, to be honest. I love Rita’s Italian Water Ice. I like the chocolate fudge brownie flavor the best. That’s definitely the one thing I miss from up north where I used to live. I don’t believe there are any Rita’s down here.

What would you like to see for the future of Immokalee?

Immokalee is such a wonderful place and most people who are not from here do not know just how amazing it is. My hope is that more people can experience the wonderful community of Immokalee that I have been so fortunate to become a part of.

What is your favorite movie?

I love funny movies. I’m not so much into gory horror type movies. My favorite though? Off the top of my head I’d have to say Bad Boys I and II with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. I love to laugh!

Last summer, TIF’s Vocational Success students made 20 Adirondack chairs that were auctioned off at the 2009 Charity Classic, our largest annual fundraising event. Board member Peg Redlinger purchased four for her grandchildren — and this summer, those grandchildren have been making good use of their chairs.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2010 Charity Classic Dinner & Auction, which will be held November 12, 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in Naples. Get the details about this and other TIF events on our TIF Events page.

 

Last month, a woman by the name of Mary French delivered a truck load of school supplies to give to TIF students. What spurred Mary and her husband to donate to The Immokalee Foundation has been a mystery. That is, until now. Mary answered a few of our questions and discussed why she donated school supplies, her relationship with Immokalee, and what it means to have a benevolent spirit.

How did you come to hear about The Immokalee Foundation?
I heard about TIF through Lucio Martinez. He was a summer engineering intern in my office and he’s from Immokalee.

What made you want to give school supplies?
My office is currently scanning all of our files so we are prepping all the documents and removing documents from binders. I hated the thought of throwing them away, so I have been storing them for the past year figuring a school supply drive could use them.

What is your relationship with the town of Immokalee?
My husband and I go to the casino and we are acutely aware of the poverty surrounding it so we decided Immokalee would be the best place to put our resources.

So what made TIF seem like an important organization to donate your school supplies to?
We felt it was important to give school supplies to the residents of Immokalee because supplies are so expensive and education is so important.

My husband is retired and I am an administrative permit coordinator for the state. We have always donated to the local drives of all kinds. This year we felt that Sarasota County was financially more sufficient and so we decided to donate where there was obviously a much greater need. My husband and I are also planning on donating toys to TIF at Christmas as well. The excitement expressed by your staff was so spontaneous and genuine. It was a pleasure to be so appreciated.

I hope that The Immokalee Foundation continues to be a viable organization to the deserving residents of Immokalee.

 

Did you know that The Immokalee Foundation was on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter? It is the 21st century, after all. Stop by our Facebook page here and our Twitter page here. Don’t forget to visit the pages, follow us, and share the links with friends and family. Together, as an online community, we can change the lives of Immokalee’s students.

Thanks to The Immokalee Foundation’s Community Grants program, the students at Village Oaks Elementary School (VOE) celebrated the second annual summer of free and exciting reading. Students were allowed to visit the school’s library twice a week due to a grant from TIF. At the library, students were able to read, use the computer, and check books out to take home.

Now, more than ever, reading is a fundamental part of young people’s educations in Immokalee, as a recent study shows that nearly 70 percent of youth who drop out of school have a poor literacy rate and find it harder to succeed in the work place without such an important core skill.  The Immokalee Library event showed that kids are still excited about reading and rewarded them for their efforts.

Here are some quick facts about the event:

-At the Summer Library Celebration, 21 different students earned awards for reading between five and 23 books.
-Overall, approximately 50 students checked out more than 300 books.
-A special medal for frequent attendance was awarded to ten students.

Congratulations to the kids who won awards and to the town of Immokalee for a summer of exciting literary journeys.

The Immokalee Foundation has been partnering with Lake Trafford Elementary School for a six-week summer enrichment program called “SPLASH” (Sustaining and Promoting Literacy Acquisition in our Safe Haven) that runs concurrent to the regular summer school schedule. The purpose of this program is to prevent summer learning loss (also known as academic regression). TIF staffer Patricia Nunez says that “the program serves a dual purpose, creating a symbiotic relationship for the elementary level student participants as wells as for the high school student mentors.” She also expressed the importance of this program for high school children: “For high school students contemplating a career in education this is an invaluable practical experience.”

SPLASH is an interdisciplinary thematic approach organized into three thematic units — “Water Wonders,” “Water Works,” and “Water Ways.” Students are actively and authentically learning, with topics centered on water conservation, safety, and the connections or interactions between natural and man-made water systems. Along with water awareness, as well as the reading and math curriculum, students take part in weekly experience-based learning through field trips and guest speakers.

Check back in to the Pathways Blog for more updates from the TIF SPLASH program.

Last Tuesday, the Immokalee Community School, which is operated by RCMA in Immokalee, was awarded a large grant by the Martin Foundation in support of the education of children of low-income farmworkers. This grant will allow these children to overcome obstacles such as poverty, migration, and language barriers as they enter into more formative years of their education. According to a local news article, only one-third of Immokalee’s children have had access to after-school services. The grant could give that number a great boost, allowing students opportunities during the summertime as well.

Click here to learn more about RCMA Childcare and Education Providers.

In late July, over a period of three days, The Immokalee Foundation took several students to look at college campuses in the southern Florida area. TIF gave these students opportunities to visit local colleges, broadening their horizons and setting the course for their future, opportunities they may not otherwise have been given. TIF staffer Lois Gomez accompanied the students and was there to capture all of the excitement and anticipation that the college tour event garnered.

Continue on to see more pictures and quotes from some of the students in attendance and check back next week for videos of the students’ reactions of the campus tours.

“This was a learning experience that transformed my life.” — Maria Plata

“This trip wasn’t only a preview of each university but the beginning of my future” — Miriam Martinez

“The tour of colleges was great. It helped me understand what to expect in college but, most of all, it helped me understand what I need to do to get into the college I want to attend.” — Israel Pena

Here at TIF, we’re proud of the staff that carries out our mission on a daily basis. Their dedication and hard work truly change the lives of Immokalee’s children — and that’s why we’re taking the time to recognize these outstanding individuals. This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to Noemi Perez. Noemi took the time to answer a few questions, discussing her job at TIF and some of her favorite things.

What do you do at The Immokalee Foundation?
I am the Take Stock in Children Student Advocate. I monitor grades, attendance, and discipline more than 100 between the high and middle school students. They are all to meet a certain criteria in order to maintain their pre-paid scholarship.

What is your favorite part about working for TIF? 
Working with the students; helping them make a difference in their lives and families’ lives.

Tell us something unique about yourself. 
I could eat pizza and hot wings everyday of the week if they didn’t have so many calories!

What is your favorite ice cream? 
Oreo cookie

What would you like to see for the future of Immokalee?
More activities like dance, boxing and other sports to keep kids out of trouble.

What is your favorite movie? 
My Best Friend’s Wedding


After spending a month fulfilling his life-long dream of studying fashion design in Chicago, Jonathan Cantu has returned to Immokalee. Eager to spend the remainder of his summer with his family and close friends, Jonathan is now looking back on his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with great fondness and overwhelming gratitude. Jonathan recently checked in to share his thoughts on his time in Chicago, his life in Immokalee, and his young, bright future.

Continue on for links to Jonathan’s previous posts, to see his final collection, and to hear his final thoughts on the entire experience.

Here is my first five-piece collection. I used cool shapes and bright colors. I feel that it works together as a collection. I cut out the shapes from magazines adds and put them back together. I based my collection on that and then added my own colors.

My final project wasn’t easy. I had to come up with something random for my story board, then from there I had to make my 10 piece collection. Well I thought about about it for a day or two and finally I came up with this. I was in the city of Chicago and there were building all around me. It made me sad to see some of these beautiful buildings decaying. To me it was a spark of sadness, so I exaggerated that feeling. My collection was created to be dramatic. The beautiful dresses decaying, some having vails and having the models eyes closed, I thought it would give it that dramatic feel I wanted in this collection, using darker colors.

On Being Back in Immokalee

Wow, things feel so different now that I’m back in Immokalee. To be honest, I really wish I could be back in Chicago studying fashion again. I love Immokalee and everything it’s becoming but this is only where my journey begins.

Looking Back

I have missed my friends and family here in Immokalee but now I’m missing my friends and family (The Zedniks) in Chicago. It’s difficult to really compare Immokalee to Chicago. They are both important to me. A part of me will always be in Chicago and a part of me will always be in Immokalee but my future is still yet come. In one year, I’ll be off to college and I have a lot of work ahead of me.

On Fashion

Coming from Immokalee you would never think that someone like me would be so interested in fashion. I may come from a small town but I know the direction in life I want to go and I’m driven by the chance to one day see one of my dress designs on the red carpet. I’ve always loved seeing the beginning of the award shows. Thats where it all started for me. It wasn’t about the best actress of the year or who won what award. For me, it was who is wearing what designer and who is the best and worst dressed. I love reading fashion magazines and educating myself on the subject.

Looking Ahead

I want to study in a big city and Chicago was a great stepping stone. The truth is, the biggest fashion scenes are in New York and L.A. They both have great fashion schools and some that even offer study abroad programs to go to Paris or Milan. The question I most ask myself is, “Where will I get the best opportunities?” Over the next few months, I will be looking up a lot of these major fashion schools. I will still be looking into The School of Art Institute of Chicago but only time will tell where I end up.

Giving Thanks

This being my last post, I wanted to thank everyone who has kept up with me over the last month and I wanted to thank The Immokalee Foundation for giving me this space to share my experiences in Chicago. TIF has been so great to me and I will continue to thank them. I have made great lifelong friends in the Zedniks. I can talk to Joe and Dee about anything and they have truly been gracious in letting me stay in their home while I was in Chicago. Hopefully this isn’t the last you will hear from me. I hope one day you will see my clothes in every mall you visit. I control my future and I see myself one day making it big in the fashion industry.

Have a look back at Jonathan’s previous posts:

June 22

June 29

July 2

July 7

July 13

July 16

Recently, the Immokalee High School Beta Club sent 56 of its members to the 30th Annual National BETA (Better Education Through Achievement) Club Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The BETA Club Conventions give students the opportunity to interact, share project ideas, and showcase their academic and leadership abilities.

This year, the Immokalee students received numerous awards for their accomplishments at the convention. Some award winners included:

  •  Marisela Mendoza, 1st Place On-Site Art
  • Jehia Joseph, Runner-up for National Vice-President
  • Linda Jean Pierre, 5th Place Oratory

Ojette Bonnomme, a TIF student and BETA Club member, gave us this snapshot of the event:

“This year’s convention was one to remember, unlike like any other. We came home with five trophies and although we didn’t come home with the one we wanted, knowing that we came home with the most trophies and had the most members at the convention, automatically allowed us to feel like winners. The experience was great and the time spent there was awesome. Now it’s time to start all over again and begin the same routine, but this time I believe Immokalee BETAs are coming back stronger.  Not to win but to encourage others to know that anyone who completes a task is a winner.”

Last Saturday, TIF staff member Elda Hernandez brought 30 TIF high school students to participate in what was billed as “Survivor — Operation Out Play.” The group went to the event to “explore their inner strengths” according to Elda, who led the students to the Discovery Challenge Course in Naples. There, students participated in obstacle courses, team-building exercises, and physical challenges.

This wasn’t all fun and games, however. The event served as an opportunity to teach the students about the importance of team work and leadership, and challenged them to use one another’s strengths to allow them to work more effectively together.

More pictures after the jump.

“In order to be successful, one must have self-confidence. The youth need to know they are strong and can accomplish anything.” — Elda I. Hernandez

Here at TIF, we’re proud of the staff that carries out our mission on a daily basis. Their dedication and hard work truly change the lives of Immokalee’s children — and that’s why we’re taking the time to recognize these outstanding individuals. This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to Nancy Omonte. Nancy is the College Success program manager.

Here are some fun facts about Nancy:

  • Halloween is her favorite holiday
  • She loves to garden and decorate
  • She is in charge of the Direct Scholarship selection processes each spring
  • Her favorite movie is Cinema Paradiso
  • She was born and raised in Connecticut
  • Her favorite ice cream flavors are vanilla, coffee, cookies ‘n cream, and pistachio

Nancy’s work with the college students on TIF scholarships is, according to her, “the best part about my job.” This is because she can see inspiring work ethics in action. She adds, “I can relate to these kids because I have had to work extremely hard, especially in school, to get where I am right now.”

As for the future of Immokalee, Nancy says she just wants the best for the students: “I would like to see them become better prepared for college and to see them excel in whatever path they choose.”

Each year, TIF’s College Success program partners with the Ave Maria University (AMU) to provide a “Boot Camp” for Immokalee’s incoming college freshmen. This year, 18 Immokalee students attended the three day camp, which was held at AMU. Five TIF college students volunteered 30 hours to help mentor incoming students. These volunteers prepared incoming freshmen for the college experience by offering gateway classes in writing, reading, and math.

Some days, students were treated to a guest speaker. Among them:

  • a respected professor of biology from AMU who discussed the importance of dissecting a college syllabus
  • current college students who discussed the college transition
  • Florida Gulf Coast University’s Director of Community Outreach Isaac Brundage, who discussed important tips for freshman
  • (need a first name) Edison, who presented each student with a certificate of completion

At the end of their session, students took a college placement exam. Collectively, their scores went up and many tested into non-remedial classes. 

As the program wrapped up, students filled out anonymous surveys, and the overwhelming consensus was that they found the program extremely beneficial. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to team up with AMU to make a difference in the lives of Immokalee’s next generation.

Jonathan Cantu’s month-long tenure as an art student is about to come to a close. However, his art career is just beginning. It’s been amazing to see what Jonathan has accomplished over the past three weeks. As Jonathan heads into his final week at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, we’ve caught up with him to ask a few questions regarding his time in Chicago, his fashion design career, and his plans for the not-too-distant future.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far?

I have learned so much and my time here has been incredibly valuable. One important thing is that my sketches have dramatically improved; my body forms are looking so much better now, due to countless hours of sketching. In order to be a fashion designer, I need to know how to do those things and do them well.

I’ve also learned how to be professional with my work. Presenting and explaining my work to two teachers, two student teachers, and 13 other Early College Program (ECP) students helped me because I was able to take their feedback and learn from it.

Where would you go and what would you do if you had limitless resources to study fashion design?

Wow, limitless resources! I would really like to spend at least one day in L.A., Paris, New York, or even Milan. Chicago is a great first step in my fashion career, though, and I feel incredibly lucky to begin here. I would like to find out more on how the industry is run: runways, factories, high-end shopping malls, designers’ studios, etc. Every aspect fascinates me so much, I really can’t wait for my chance to start my own clothing line. If I had limitless resources, I would be in all of these cities, learning what it takes to be successful in the fashion industry.

How do you feel heading into your final week at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago?

The next week will be the longest and hardest. With intense deadlines and major projects, I’ve got a lot on my plate. It’s hard to focus on the finish line when you’re still running the marathon. These projects are not simple, as you can see in my last blog post, but that’s the fashion industry for you. I just hope to finish all my projects and receive my three college credits. That alone will be an accomplishment for me.

The Immokalee Foundation is currently parterning with local soccer veteran Manny Touron and the Soccer Pit to host a girls’ summer soccer program. Right now 12 middle school and high school girls are actively learning new techniques, developing their soccer skills, and having a blast simply running around and kicking the ball in the summer sun. The program, which hopes to grow in the fall once school begins, is the first of its kind in Immokalee and, so far, has been a success in every sense of the word. 

Fun Fact: Did you know that after trying to gain social acceptance for nearly 60 years, women’s soccer was not introduced into American varsity sports until the late 1980s?

As Jonathan’s final week draws to a close, he sees his time in Chicago as just the beginning of his young career in fashion design. Though Chicago served as the setting for the beginning of his career, Jonathan’s talents and enthusiasm will follow him back to Immokalee and wherever he might go from there. With his return to Immokalee in sight, Jonathan shares a few thoughts on gratitude, humility, and excitement for what’s to come.

On His Final Week
My chance of a lifetime opportunity is about to come to an end and all I really want to do is cry. Then I want to jump up and down in joy and think about how lucky I have been. I’ve made some great friends here. I’m going to miss them immensely. My friends Paige and Gaby went with me to the beach two days ago (pictured) — it was our last trip together. What I’ll miss almost as much as my friends is the work. My last week has been nothing but work. I’ve been working on a final project that will be a ten-piece collection (which I’ll post pictures of in my final blog post).

The Immokalee Foundation
I’d like to thank everyone at The Immokalee Foundation for putting this together for me. This was my dream come true and it all started with a letter to The Immokalee Foundation. I’ve always loved fashion and art, and getting to study in a big city like Chicago has really been amazing. I had no idea how awesome The Immokalee Foundation really was. They truly want the best for the students in Immokalee and they do everything and anything they can to better their students’ futures and further their education. This opportunity has really changed my life and I feel like this will afford me numerous opportunities in the future. I am getting three college credits from one of the best art schools in the country and I’ve begun my portfolio for fashion — what more could I ask for?

The Zedniks
Joe and Dee Zednik [Joe is a TIF board member] have been so generous for letting me stay in their home. I want to thank them for giving me this chance and for becoming more like parents to me than mentors. Dee makes sure I feel at home. She stocked up on Doritios, rocky road ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies — pretty much everything a teenager needs. Joe has been such a great friend and listener; I’ve never met such an amazing man. I have been able to come home every day and talk to them about fashion and designers and they seem really invested and interested in what I’m doing. I am forever grateful to how much generosity they have shown me.

Jonathan will check in one final time to give his comprehensive thoughts on the Chicago fashion design experience and to discuss the pictures from his final ten-piece collection.

One of the most exciting things we do here at TIF is see the lives of Immokalee’s students change for the better. And there’s no better place to see this than in the workshops and classrooms populated by our Future Builders of America (FBA) students. FBA is designed to connect students through educational and construction activities that enhance their leadership and teamwork skills — and all of this as they give back to their community. Recently, some students from FBA had some interesting things to say about their home and their plans for the future.


Isais Alvarez
“Immokalee has and always will be my home. My goal is to get a job in industrial construction. I plan to come back to iTech after I get my high school diploma. What I like about Immokalee is that there are so many people who care.”


Sandy Martinez
“When I grow up, I want to be my own boss. I don’t like to be bossed around. I want to be able to wake up when I want, go to work when I want, and leave when I want. I like Immokalee because this is where I was raised. I was shown to love others, make friends with others, and respect others. I learned a lot from this town. I wouldn’t change anything.”


Jemiah Warren
“Immokalee is a place where everyone connects spiritually and culturally. It’s a place where people can accomplish their dreams, whether their dreams be big or small.”


Anita Zaragoza
“What I like most about Immokalee are the people. Immokalee has a variety of cultures. Our people lend a hand when needed. We are united and together we make a big difference.”

In Jonathan’s second week at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he’s learning more than he bargained for. Last week, Jonathan was working on body casting, painting, art history, and more. This week, Jonathan’s working with something he’s truly passionate about: fashion design. To see what Jonathan’s been up to and to see Jonathan’s first ever fully complete garmet, continue on.

On His Projects
I’ve been really busy on my projects. I had to stay up until 3:00 am one night to work on a dress that I had to make out of five black t-shirts. It was hard because I hand stitched everything. I don’t know how to work a sewing machine, but some of the other students did show me a thing or two on the machine. I even went into the studio for nine hours straight on a Saturday…crazy, right? It’s a lot of work but I really enjoy doing it because I love to design and get to the end to see my vision come alive. That’s when all my hard work pays off.

I had to fit the model three times. I’ll admit, I’m not the best at fittings.

I also had to take pictures of the model in my dress, which was the best part.

I then made a storyboard of me working on the dress and showing it on the model.

This is the first garment I have ever completed. It’s not perfect but I still think I did a great job. This is what I will be doing as a fashion designer, and this is what this project was supposed to show me.

In March, Kaye Negri took the plunge: She became a mentor to two Take Stock in Children students. And she hasn’t looked back since.

She mentors recent inductee Junette Desrosier, a seventh grader, and Janita Perez, a tenth grader. Mentoring a middle school student and a high school student at the same time is tricky due to the middle school’s practice of altering its lunch times once or twice each week. But Kaye is figuring out how to negotiate these schedules. 

In her short time as a mentor, Kaye has been able to spend plenty of time with her mentees. For example, Kaye has attended a class presentation where Junette spoke about her native country of Haiti. And she taught Janita how to play dominoes, which Janita now plays with her five siblings. Kaye gave the girls disposable cameras so they can take pictures of their families and friends, as well as chronicle the activities that are keeping them busy this summer.

One of Kaye’s fondest moments so far happened in a mentoring session with Junette, when Kaye had the opportunity to work with the seventh grader to make a family tree. The exercise gave Kaye and Junette the chance to trade stories and to come together to complete a fun and significant task.

At the final session before the school year ended, Kaye gave the girls enough stamped and pre-addressed envelopes to write Kaye once a week throughout the summer.

“The drive to Immokalee every Tuesday is long,” Kaye says, but on the drive home she always knows “how worth it the trip was.”

“Meeting with the two girls is so uplifting,” she says.

Click here to learn more about becoming a mentor.

Things are looking busy for Jonathan Cantu, the Immokalee senior who was given the opportunity to study art in Chicago for a month. Recently, we reported on his first week in Chicago and got see some of his art projects. Having just wrapped up his time at the Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago Jonathan began his first of three weeks at the the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Find out how Jonathan would compare the schools, what he’s up to, and what he plans for the future after the break.

On the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

This is the Harvard of the art schools and I am so blessed to being going to pre-college here. They don’t play around. I’m getting the full-on college experience. For the last two days we have been making figure sketches. It is really helping me because I’m not really good at my sketches and all the hours of just drawing will really help me in my fashion designing.

On His Schedule

They’re keeping me so busy. This is what my schedule looks like: I wake up at 6:45 for a 7:35 train to the city, I walk seven “CITY BLOCKS” for class A at 9:00–12:00, 12:00–1:00 lunch, 1:00–4:00 class B, 4:00–5:30 break, 5:30–7:30 workshops, dinner then 8:35 train, and I almost forgot to tell you I have homework every night too. Art is not all fun and games….not at all.

On Body Casting

Workshops are mandatory on Tuesdays and Thursdays and optional on Mondays and Wednesdays, which I attend. At the optional classes there is body casting, art history, and figure drawing. I did the body casting this week. We started with wax molds of our hands. It was incredibly hot and took forever to cool down. We poured plaster in the molds after very slowly removing our hands. It was difficult but definitely worth it.

On the Differences Between the Two Schools

So far, I’ve noticed a big difference in these two schools. The Illinois Institute of Art will only focus me on my major, which will be fashion. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, on the other hand, will not only focus me on fashion but also give me the opportunity to broaden my art skills in painting, drawing, silk screening, sculpting, art history, and more. They are both great schools but I don’t know too much about the fashion program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the one at the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago is fabulous. Well, so far it’s been fabulous. We’ll see how I feel in two and half weeks.

Last week, we reported on Jonathan Cantu, the Immokalee student and TIF volunteer who received a month long trip to Chicago to study art at a few of America’s great institutions. As Jonathan wraps up a week-long stay at theIllinois Institute of Art, Chicago, he’s gearing up to start a three-week program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jonathan’s first week in the city has been thrilling, but, he says, it’s flown by. Continue reading to hear what Jonathan has to say about his first week in Chicago and what the near future has in store for him.

On Finishing Up at the IIAC

It was great. I had so much fun. I received a $500 scholarship and made lifelong friends.

Art Projects

As my favorite art project, I made a dress out of bubble wrap, a t-shirt, and a screen.

 

On Chicago

This city is crazy. Last week, it was raining so hard that my umbrella went inside-out. No wonder they call it the Windy City. Sometimes it takes me 30 minutes to get a taxi and there was even a train delay of three hours due to tornado warnings. I love the city, though, and am so glad to be here.

On the Next Three Weeks

I couldn’t be more excited to start my three weeks at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I’m having such a good time and am learning so much.

This week, the First Tee of Naples/Collier Summer Camp began. At this golf-focused camp, students get clubs sized for them, learn the basic of the game, and visit the PGA Superstore (pictured). The mission statement for the First Tee of Naples is to “impact lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf” — a mission that fits well with TIF’s goals of providing Immokalee’s children with life-changing educational opportunities. We are excited about what this summer has in store for Immokalee’s young golfers at the First Tee Summer Camp.

Last week the Youth Leadership Collier graduation ceremony was held at Edison State College.  Andrea Guerro, Daphne Antoine, and Maria Plata — pictured here with TIF director Liz Albritten — were among the graduates who embody the selfless, hard-working spirit that makes TIF so proud of its students. The YLC sets out to develop effective, ethical leaders who give back to their community and understand the values and importance of stewardship. Congratulations to the three girls and all the YLC graduates.

On Sunday, Jonathan Cantu — an Immokalee resident and TIF student — boarded a plane for Chicago, where he’ll spend a month studying his favorite subject: art. As part of the Illinois Institute of Art’s 2010 Summer Studio 101 and a summer workshop at the Art Institute of Chicago, Jonathan will enjoy the opportunity to study art, meet new friends, and check out the sights in the Windy City. The Immokalee Foundation is honored to underwrite this life-changing experience for Jonathan.

Today, Jonathan checked in for the first time since touching down in Chi-town — and the high school senior had plenty to say about his first day at the Illinois Institute of Art. He opened up about new experiences, getting to know Chicago, practicing art, finding friends, and feeling fortunate.

Continue on to see what Jonathan had to say about his first few days in the city.

New Experiences

“My first day at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago was great. I really couldn’t imagine it any better than it was. I have experienced a lot so far in the short time I have been here. My first time flying, my first time taking a train, and my first time taking a taxi. Yes, I know, a lot of firsts.”

Getting to Know Chicago

“I am staying with Joseph and Dee Zednik [Joe is a TIF board member] about 25 minutes outside of the city and I take the train in the morning and in the evening. It is still very unbelievable that I’m here in the city of my dreams, looking at these amazing art schools.”

Practicing Art

“Today we worked on a story board project on fashion trends using Photoshop. I entitled mine, ‘Peacocks on the Runway…’ I used designers like Dior and Prada for references in my story board because they used peacock feathers in their spring collections.”

Finding Friends

“I made a lot of new friends from around the country, which was very easy being that I knew I had something to talk about that they were also interested in —that is, fashion.”

Feeling Fortunate

“I really want to thank everyone at The Immokalee Foundation and Mrs. and Mr. Zednik for this unforgettable opportunity I have been given. I feel very blessed to be here.”

Last month, more than 20 Immokalee high school and middle school girls were presented with the question, “What would it mean to be princess for a day?” Sponsored by the Fifth Third Bank Women’s Network, this essay contest empowered the girls and gave them a chance to express how they would use their time as a princess. Their answers ranged from “finding cures for diseases like cancer” to “making sure that everyone had decent living conditions.”

Though the essay was an educational exercise, the girls’ reward for writing the essay was not purely academic. Recently, the students who submitted entries to the essay contest were invited to see the “Princess Diana: Dresses of Inspiration” exhibit at the von Liebig Art Center in Naples. TIF Executive Director Liz Allbritten said, “Our young ladies walked away with a greater knowledge of who Princess Diana was, and the many lives she touched around the world.”

In particular, the students gained a richer understanding of what it means to give back to your community. “Following this event, many of our young ladies volunteered for Kids Against Hunger,” Liz said. The girls were also treated to afternoon tea, a goody bag of treats, and a pink tiara and sash which read, appropriately, “Princess for a Day.”

Continue on to read the full text of three of the girls’ essays.

Maria Leon, Immokalee Middle School, 7th grade

What would I do to change the world if I was a princess?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word princess? Some people think of Cinderella, a beautiful young lady with animal friends who help her find true love and lives happily ever after. Others think of spoiled rich girls who party and think of nobody but themselves. To me a princess is a strong independent woman who is selfless and tries to help anyone who needs it. If I was ever a princess I would do everything in my power to try and change the world in many ways. I would put children on top of my priority list. Children are our next generation and if we show them right who knows what they’ll invent. Maybe they will find cures for disease like cancer. Or they will end global warming. There is no limit for them. Children are our futures. Many children die every year of preventable causes like hunger and thirst. Some things we have an abundance of I would like to help to raise money to buy things for them, the basic every day essentials like food, water, or a flu vaccine. I would also like to build more shelters and donate to others. I would also like to help children in their education. To provide books, colors and offer extra help to those who need. Where education is not a privilege, but a right. Where they can achieve their fullest potential and they are not stopped because of the need of money. Of course there are many other problems in our world, but I truly believe that the next generation of kids can be the key to happiness and the end to many of our problems.

Linda Jean-Pierre, Immokalee High School, 10th grade

A Day in the Life of a Princess

In every girl’s life there’s that one time when she dreams, wishes and yearns for that magical day when she will be transformed from an ordinary girl into a fairy princess. A princess has the opportunity and position to empower the world. If I were a princess, my prime target would be the homeless children.

Homeless kids feel like there is no one who cares about them; they feel worthless. Their self-esteem is slim to none. Homeless children have one character trait that is admirable. They appreciate what they have and what they are given. They aren’t wasteful and they are one of the most humble people it is said you could ever meet.

Greed is an uncommon factor amongst them. Their talents are remarkable and just out of this world. As a princess I would start an organization to raise money for homeless kids around the world. I would try to aid them and feed their hunger. Food, water and shelter would be a gift to them. I would raise money to build schools so that they could have an education to understand their environment and to see that the world isn’t all black and white. People do care. To comprehend all the world has to offer and is willing to offer. To not be ignorant of the truth that lies between their eyes. Also as a princess, I would build shelters for the homeless children. Children are the future, so we start shaping them to be what we want them to be when they’re young. Well, some children have to learn to shape their own lives with no light to lead them. As a princess I would want the world to notice the young and the hopeless to see that their own problems are merely a corn in a field compared to that of others. I would want them to not just watch, but to take a stand in such atrocities. My goal as a princess would be to be able to see homeless children not taking a path left by several footprints but to walk a path and leave a trail. There’s a choice we make every day, we’re saving our own lives. So as a fair princess I would make a better day and help to save the life of a child in need.

Jennifer Previlus, Immokalee High School, 9th grade

When one thinks “PRINCESS” they think of castles, crowns, and riches and royalty. A young lady who’s magically beautiful, demanding orders and being served all day long. Someone who can have anything they dream and anything in the world. However, none of those things would matter to me if I were a princess; I wouldn’t have people dropping themselves at my feet. Instead of people serving me I’d be serving the people. I would in fact make sure the people of the land didn’t regret having me as their princess.

First and foremost would be to make sure that everyone had decent living conditions. Humans can’t function properly if they’re living on the streets — they’d go psycho, crazy, it’s just unhealthy! I know families that have nine siblings living in a two-bedroom apartment. You think they want to be living that way? NO, they don’t! But their situation is like many others I know, their parents migrated to the United States for better living conditions and freedom. If you have people migrating to the area for a better life, then my job is to show them a better life. By making more jobs available to them, giving them a chance to go back to school, and making sure the message of how important school is, is getting through to young kids.

All of the above are ways to help the well being of the people. If you have an education it means you can get a good job which means “MONEY.” It would help open doors for them; they would see the world in a different way. I would also make sure everyone has a health insurance plan because the health of the people is precious to me. People tend to die at home due to the fact that they have no money to get the help they need. Some are even afraid because they have no papers and they don’t want to be deported. They shouldn’t have to experience anything in that kind of way yet die in that way! I would most definitely make sure that, that wouldn’t be the cause of anyone’s death.

If I were princess you wouldn’t have to worry about security. I would make sure to have a tight security system. Anyone coming in or leaving the country would be checked or even stripped if that’s what it takes. Tourists wouldn’t get the opportunity to bomb, or drop any toxic/explosive chemicals into the grounds, and I would be sure of it.

Another event that would take place is having monthly meetings with the towns/cities to see how they feel about anything going on or even anything they’d like to change. Because my voice alone doesn’t count, if I’m serving the people it would be nice to know what they want to be served.

Here at TIF, we’re proud of the staff that carries out our mission on a daily basis. Their dedication and hard work truly change the lives of Immokalee’s children — and that’s why we’re taking the time to recognize these outstanding individuals. This week, we’re pleased to introduce you to Lois Gomez. Lois recruits mentors for TIF’s Take Stock in Children program.

Here are some fun facts about Lois:

  • She is an ex law enforcement officer with the Air Force.
  • Her favorite part of working for The Immokalee Foundation is seeing the smiles on the children’s faces. “The thought of going to college never occurred to these children and their families,  and now we are helping them reach for the stars,” she says.
  • As for the future of Immokalee, the thing she’d most like to see is a town in which every child “receives a quality education, so they are ready for the future.”
  • Her favorite movie is The Quiet Man.
  • Her favorite ice cream flavor is soft vanilla dipped in chocolate from Tasty Treat.

Lois’ work with the Take Stock in Children students gives her a sense of accomplishment as she teams up with selfless volunteers and mentors to ensure that her students see academic and life progress. She says, “I wake up every day excited about the work I do. When you work with volunteers, you see the heart of the program. They are there because they want to make a difference in a child’s life. They aren’t paid and they  have long car rides to Immokalee. They are amazing people who just want to give back.”

Last month, a TIF-sponsored tennis program was held at the Immokalee Community Park for third and fourth graders. Jim and Sulbey Hold — who first introduced the idea to create a TIF funded tennis program — volunteered their time and equipment, spending five weeks with the students teaching them the fundamentals of the sport. It wasn’t all exercise and learning, though. After an hour and a half of tennis practice each day, students were treated to 30 minutes of ice cream.

According to TIF staffer Patricia Nunez, this year’s event was a “complete success” and student’s should be on the look out for next year’s tennis program, which begins in January.

Continue on to see photos of the students.

Last week, 300 family members and TIF supporters gathered at the Bethel Assembly of God in Immokalee to celebrate the accomplishments of the 60 students who have “graduated” from one of TIF’s seven core programs. Of these 60 seniors, 55 have already committed to college or post-secondary vocational school — a number that points to the tremendous determination and success we’re seeing among the younger generations in Immokalee. 

What did the graduation ceremony entail? And what it did it mean to these students? To find out, check out these images of the evening’s celebrations as well as quotes from recent TIF graduates.

Marisela Mendoza

Tonight is very important to me. It shows my commitment to be successful. It is an opportunity that without Take Stock would seem like a dream. Thank you, Immokalee Foundation.

Mary Castro

This night represents so much to me. This is the night that I have been working towards. Without this scholarship, I would probably be worrying about how to pay for college. I thank everyone who has made this possible for me.

Maria Bustamante (middle)

Tonight, is the night that I have been working for the past six years. I have worked hard to keep this scholarship because it is my gateway to success. I come here today knowing that I have achieved my promise to Take Stock and tonight I celebrate that.

Anayareli Abarca

This night is very important to me. It is a night that I will remember as the night when we were recognized as graduates of Take Stock in Children. After all the years of commitment, we are almost to the end of our high school career. It is a wonderful night of gratitude.

On Friday, May 14, a group of approximately 40 Immokalee students participated in the Relay for Life walk in affiliation with the American Cancer Society. The event, which took place from Friday night to Satuday morning, “raised awareness for students and provided them opportunities to speak with people about cancer and its effects on their lives,” according to Elda Hernandez, a TIF staff member and participant at this year’s relay. Among other activities, there were night contests to see who could create the best spirit-stick as well as a contest to see who could walk the most laps. But it was the testimony of cancer survivors that touched the students and adults alike. According to the American Cancer Society, every year more than 3.5 million people in over 5,000 communities in the United States participate in Relay for Life walks.

Continue on to see more pictures of the Relay for Life event.

Bethel Assembly of God in Immokalee is the site of tonight’s TIF graduation dinner and ceremony. Students will be recognized for their successful efforts in at least one of the following TIF programs: Take Stock in Children,Vocational Success, College Success, Direct Scholarships, the First Tee of Naples/Collier, and Immokalee Readers.

Here are some quick facts about tonight’s event:

  • 300 guests will be in attendance
  • 60 students will be “graduating” from TIF programs
  • 55 of those students have already committed to college or post-secondary vocational training
  • The evening will include a formal dinner, the conferring of graduation medallions, and the presentation of the President’s Volunteer Service Award
  • The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes students who’ve accumulated at least 100 hours of community service over the course of a year — and we’re proud to have 17 such students at tonight’s ceremony
  • The keynote address will be delivered by Daniel Hernandez, senior vice president for global strategy at Sykes Enterprises in Tampa

Tonight’s celebration kicks off at 6:00 pm. Check back with the Pathways Blog after the event for photos and more.

Photo caption: Students at the 2009 Immokalee Foundation graduation ceremony line up to receive their medallions.

The man many Floridian’s refer to as “superman,” Tim Tebow, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Winged Foot dinner gala. But he won’t be the only attendee. We here at The Immokalee Foundation are celebrating Immokalee High School student Samantha Molina’s invitation to attend the dinner.

Samantha will attend the 21st annual awards banquet as Immokalee High School’s Winged Foot nominee. The event, which seeks to recognize the best scholar-athlete from each of the Collier County high schools, takes place at the Naples Grande Beach Resort on May 27 and is sure to be a star-studded affair. Guests at this year’s event include top college football coaches, NFL players and coaches, politicians, former Olympians, and former baseball stars.

Find out Samantha’s thoughts on the event after the jump.

Samantha shared some of her thoughts as she gears up for the event.

  • The top 5 things I’m most looking forward to are:
  1. Receiving the award.
  2. Meeting Tim Tebow.
  3. I can invite eight people to attend, including some of my teachers, coaches, my mother, and my best friend.
  4. That night having fun no matter what the end results are.
  5. Let’s hope the food is good…lol.
  • The person I’m most excited to meet is Tim Tebow. I’m not a Gator fan, but a Tim Tebow fan. Who doesn’t want to have a conversation with an NFL player? Go Broncos!
  • If I had to give a speech at the dinner, here’s what I would say: Hello everyone. I’m glad that all of you can make it tonight. To my fellow peers, congrats! Being here tonight is an honor and it wasn’t easy getting here, and I don’t mean the hour drive. I mean it took a lot of will power, dedication, discipline, and heart to come to this finish line. Juggling sports, clubs, and academics was something I learned not everyone can do but is possible — and I did it. For four years! Did I miss out on those crazy parties that my friends talk about? Yes. But I would not take any of it back. Helping my community was my enjoyment on the weekends and there is nothing I love more than sports. Playing and competing is what I live for. Sports give me that satisfaction and wanting more in life! The best of luck to all.
  • The Winged Foot event means the world to me. Only one scholar athlete from Immokalee gets to go. To me, that’s like winning the lottery. Even though I know I haven’t won, I still feel like a home town hero to the Immokalee community.

This year, the Winged Foot Scholar-Athlete Foundation increased the amount given to the finalists for its award from $3,000 to $5,000. The winner receives a $10,000 scholarship — $2,500 a year for four years; the other finalists receive one-time stipends.

Samantha is a senior in high school and a participant in Take Stock in Children and Future Builders of America. We are all very proud of Samantha and wish her the best of luck.

 

Thanks to the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA), Daniel Hernandez, a senior at Immokalee High School and vice president of Future Builders of America Immokalee Chapter, has been awarded a $500 scholarship from the FHBA.

At such a young age, Daniel already has an impressive résumé. In high school alone, Daniel has managed to win major awards, excel in athletic pursuits, and keep a solid grade point average.

Continue on to find out more about Daniel’s amazing accomplishments.

Here are some fun facts about Daniel that make him an exceptional member of the Immokalee community:

• Along with Future Builders of America, Daniel is active in the Key Club, Scholars Club, and Better Education Through Achievement (BETA).

• In total, Daniel has spent over 96 hours participating in community service.

• Daniel has won awards for the following subjects:

-Physical Education      

-Language Arts & Reading      

-Math      

-Writing

 Daniel was on the honor roll in both 2008 and 2009.

 Daniel received the Future Builders of America “Take the Lead” Award in 2009.

Congrats to Daniel. We’re looking forward to seeing what he accomplishes next.

 

When 12 Florida Gulf Coast University students traveled to Dog Beach last Saturday, they intended to clean up the beaches and stop pollution. What they ended up doing — perhaps without even realizing it — was setting an example for future FGCU students and the community at large. Each of these students hails from Immokalee and has graduated from a TIF program.

Using canoes, some students went out on the water to pick up fishing lines and nets, a frequent hazard to marine life in the area. Other students walked up and down Estero Boulevard, picking up bottles and talking to local residents.

To learn more about the day’s events and to see more pictures, continue on.

According to Nancy Omonte, the TIF staff member who led the FGCU clean-up team, the students’ efforts were greatly appreciated by the residents of  Lee County. This was just one of the many benefits of this Saturday outing, Nancy said, listing a string of additional benefits: 

1). “It is very important for youth, or anyone really, to help volunteer and keep our environment clean.”
2). “We need to pass down a healthy environment for future generations.”
3). “I think that outings such as environmental clean-ups help the youth value their environment and it definitely makes them more aware.”
4). “The students learn to not litter.”
5). “FGCU has a whole course dedicated to just this topic”
6). “The students feel proud and energized when they give back to Mother Nature by cleaning it up.”
7). “ It is especially important to keep our waters clean as fish and other ocean wildlife like turtles and manatees get tangled and injured in the ocean litter.”
8). “The land and ocean are all connected so that is why I feel it is important to do our best to make our environment a safe and clean place for everyone.” 
9). “Volunteering is giving back and volunteering to pick up trash and llitter teaches our youth a valuable lesson — that it’s their job to keep our world beautiful.”
10). “They get to feel like they gave Mother Nature a big hug.”

 

The basic question posed to 14-year-old Ethiana Lovely Previlus — and all of the female high school students who participated in the “Day in the LIfe of a Princess” essay contest — was this: If you were princess for a day, what would you do?

Ethiana’s essay, which won first place, was titled “If I were a princess, how would I change the world?”

The contest was hosted by TIF and the Fifth Third Bank Women’s Network in coordination with the “Princess Diana: Dresses of Inspiration” exhibit currently open at The von Liebig Art Center. The 20 winners and their mentors were awarded the chance to participate in a traditional English tea and a guided tour of the Princess Diana exhibit.

Continue on to read an excerpt of Ethiana’s first-place essay.

From “If I were a princess, how would I change the world?” by Ethiana Lovely Previlus:

I’ve been asked many times if I could change the world, how would I change it. After many years, my answer hasn’t changed. If I were a princess, I would change the world by eliminating poverty.

My parents come from Haiti, the poorest country in the world. I visited Haiti two times before as a young child. So I was excited the summer my family decided to take a trip there. I was sure it would be a wonderful experience. Boy did reality slap me in the face!

The first night I slept in Haiti I cried and asked to come back home. I missed America with a passion.

The five-hour drive from the airport brought excruciating emotional pain. I saw things with my eyes that I only saw on TV. Kids on the street, begging for money and food. Many were naked and barefooted. Houses made from leaves were falling apart. Babies crying of hunger. I didn’t want to stay in a place where I saw my own people dying, and I couldn’t even do anything about it …

This is why if I could have one wish, I wouldn’t wish for a big house or a million dollars. I wouldn’t wish for a car, or even for my own happiness. I would wish to see Haiti in a position where people weren’t suffering the way they do now.

As a princess I would provide for everybody in the world that is in poverty. I know this would be difficult, but I’m a princess, so I’d be the boss. I would make sure every family has a pillow to put their heads on at night. I would make sure every child had an opportunity to get an education. Every child would have shoes and fresh clothes to put on their backs. No one will struggle to find basic survival supplies.

As we can see, today the world we live in faces many problems and challenges that we don’t have a solution for today. Our world needs a big lesson in teamwork, and needs to remember about the people, not the powerful. I promise you, if God would ever hand me a miracle and make me a princess, poverty wouldn’t exist.

 

Tim Wright, 18, never imagined that he would enjoy reading to kids. But this year, the Immokalee High School senior began tutoring second-grade students through The Immokalee Foundation’s Immokalee Readers program and enjoys every minute of it.

The after-school program in Immokalee matches 37 high school-aged tutors with about 134 children from kindergarten through second grade to provide intensive and enjoyable reading lessons. The program is designed to complement the reading instruction students receive during their regular school day. It is one of many programs offered by The Immokalee Foundation to foster educational success.

 

Wright’s tutorial efforts have paid off in many ways, he said.

“I wasn’t the type of person to sit and read,” Wright said. “But since I’ve been reading with the kids it makes me want to read and share what I’ve read and talk about the books we want to read. These kids don’t really read at home so they can brush up on their reading skills here.”

“It’s a perfect program for these kids,” said Patricia Nunez, Immokalee Readers program manager.

 

 

The average reading level of a ninth grader is approximately fourth or fifth grade. The first significant test of reading is conducted in third grade, when testing reveals that Immokalee students are far behind the average reading level.

“Most of the kids don’t read at grade level,” Nunez said. “This program changes that. They read at grade level and many read one grade higher. They are so proud.”

There are academic benefits for the high school tutors as well. The tutors have to maintain a 2.5 grade point average to participate. “They have also shown improvements in overall reading proficiency and gain professional experience in the classroom,” Nunez said.

The reading program helps put all of the elementary students on the right academic path as well. Aligned with Sunshine State Standards, the program helps ensure that all students are reading at grade level by the third grade. Because many Immokalee students use other languages at home, the additional training in English-language usage is especially important.

“If they can’t read, they can’t excel in life,” Wright said. “Watching their reading scores increase is thrilling. They are comprehending what we are teaching.”

 

 

The young children also celebrate their success. During the holidays, the tutors hosted parties at three Immokalee elementary schools and gave each participant two books for their home libraries.

“At any other place, it’s just a book,” Nunez said. “But for these kids it’s not just a gift, it’s changing their future.”

Wright is also appreciative of his experience. His affiliation with the tutoring program and The Immokalee Foundation has increased his own confidence. He plans to pursue a degree in Web design at the University of South Florida.

“I feel encouraged,” Wright said. “They’ve helped me a lot. The Immokalee Foundation points me in the right direction. Being around these kids gives me a clear idea of what I want to do in life.”

The success of the program is established twice a year when Collier County Public Schools administers the FAIR reading test, a state-recognized test for younger students that evaluates reading readiness, comprehension and word recognition. Every year the children gain proficiency in all areas.

Immokalee Readers isn’t the only successful program sponsored by The Immokalee Foundation. Since 1991, the foundation has been creating pathways to success for Immokalee’s children through a variety of programs that focus on mentorship, after-school activities, college scholarships, the development of vocational skills and incentives for educational growth.

In 2009, The Immokalee Foundation served 2,700 children through its seven core programs: Take Stock in Children, Vocational Success, College Success, Direct Scholarships, The First Tee of Naples/Collier Program in Immokalee, Immokalee Readers and Community Grants.

Volunteers can help mentor the high school tutors and assist in the day-to-day operation of the program. You can also get involved by supporting a student for $500 per year.

 

* This article appears in April 1, 2010 edition of Naples Florida Weekly.

It’s been an exciting year for us so far. In January, we inducted a new class of Take Stock in Children mentees and hosted our first Immokalee bus tour of the season. We’ve since co-hosted a fashion show, watched donors take flight in a World War II fighter jet in support of TIF, and sent an impressive collection of student-volunteers into the community. And just recently, we welcomed LIz Allbritten as the new executive director of TIF.

All of this means that the newspapers and magazines in Southwest Florida have had plenty of reasons to feature TIF in their pages. Check out the attached .pdf, where you can review a range of TIF press clipping from Feb. 16–March 15, 2010.

Feb._16-March_15_2010_press_coverage.pdf

And don’t forget that you can review all of our press coverage in the TIF Press Center.

What’s an eBlast? It’s a good question. Here at TIF, we see an eBlast as an opportunity to let our supporters know about events, achievements, or opportunities associated with The Immokalee Foundation. For instance, our latest eBlast reminded our Florida supporters about our March 22 bus tour of Immokalee. Around the holidays, we sent an eBlast telling our community about a fundraising campaign we had going. Last fall, when we launched our popular video where TIF students describe Immokalee through their own eyes, we sent an eBlast about that as well. The point is that eBlasts are fun and easy ways for us to keep in touch with you. We typically send one or two a month — enough to keep you posted, but not so much that you’re tired of hearing from us.

So take a second to sign up for TIF eBlasts. It’s easy, and we’d love to keep in touch.

On February 15, The Immokalee Foundation brought grandparents, parents, and children together the first annual Beth Moné Childrens Shoppe Easter parade fashion show luncheon. The event was held at Bay Colony Golf Club and featured more than two dozen children modeling spring fashions from leading designers.

“I truly believe that The Immokalee Foundation is a deserving cause,” said Susan Tigwell, owner of Beth Moné Childrens Shoppe. Her clothing store, located at 381 12th Avenue South in Olde Naples, is Southwest Florida’s oldest and most respected source for children’s fashions.

All proceeds went toward The Immokalee Foundation’s efforts to empower the youth of Immokalee through education.

Take a moment to check out photos of the “runway models.”

Every now and again, we add one of our favorite Immokalee or TIF photos to our Facebook page and we ask our fans to give us their best captions. We’ve just added a new photo. Take a minute to visit our Facebook page and lend us a caption. And don’t forget to become a fan while you’re there.

Visit our Facebook page here.

On Saturday, February 6, a collection of 14 FBA students and one Immokalee Readers student came out to volunteer at the 1st Annual Wings & Wheels event at the Immokalee Airport. A wide variety of aircraft, race cars, and Florida National Guard equipment was on display among many other attractions, including a car show, a bounce house, and food booths.

TIF students helped at the balloons, raffle, and popcorn booths. Students went around visiting the different booths and received an array of information from the organizations that participated as well. And they participated in activities like wall climbing, where they learned to work as a team, gain trust in others, increase self-confidence, and take positive risks. After the event TIF staff members Elda Hernandez and Noemi Perez took them to eat at Hungry Howie’s to thank them for their hard work and to evaluate the day.

On January 21, TIF and Take Stock in Children inducted 24 new members into the college-prep program. After the ceremony, which was held at the Immokalee Technical Center, the inductees and TIF board members took a moment to pose for the camera.

On Thursday, January 21, TIF and the Take Stock in Children program inducted 24 new members at a ceremony in Immokalee. These students, most of them in middle school right now, will receive full tuition scholarships to college as long as they maintain high academic and behavioral standards during the rest of middle school and high school. They will enjoy mentoring and college-prep guidance until their graduation from high school, as well as continued support as they progress through college.

The Naples Daily News ran an article on Thursday night’s induction ceremony. Read it here.

The chair of The Immokalee Foundation’s Board of Directors, John Henry, has published a comment in the Opinion page of today’s Naples Daily News. In his comment, he discusses the importance of organizations like TIF and programs like Race to the Top (a federal education grant competition) in educating America’s next generation. Click the link to read John’s letter, which is the second letter in the listing. And please use the comment field below to let us know what you think.

Read John Henry’s comment (titled “Second that motion”) in the Naples Daily News

Gaelle Colas, a graduate of TIF’s Take Stock in Children program, is currently a freshman at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Gaelle took a few minutes to give us 15 interesting insights into the life of a student at Smith.

  1. “My first semester in college was good.”
  2. “Academically, one of the best.”
  3. “Classes very small — no boys for distractions!”
  4. “Can speak to the professors after class if there are any questions.”
  5. “Each class is assigned a tutor that works with students who are having trouble comprehending the class material.”
  6. “The weather is not as bad you would think. Big Jackets!”
  7. “Instead of dorms, we actually live in houses. Most first years actually live in singles but I chose to live in a double.”
  8. “My roommate is from Virginia, and though we are complete opposites, we get along very well.”
  9. “In each house, first years get a ‘big sib’ who is supposed to guide you in your first-year experience.”
  10. “Smith offers 16 dining options for students.”
  11. “My house actually has its own dining hall with three other adjacent dining halls. So I can eat, let’s say, pizza at my house and go to the next house and get ice cream.”
  12. “The Smith career development office also helps students with future internships and bring Smith alumnae to talk to students about their careers after graduating from Smith.”
  13. “The boy thing stinks but luckily we are allowed to take classes at the other four nearby colleges including Amherst College, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College. Boys are also allowed to take classes at Smith.”
  14. “We are also allowed to attend any social events at the other four colleges and it’s only a bus ride away.”
  15. “I’ve enjoyed the academics at Smith but what I really enjoy are the great friends I made.”

Just before the holiday break, TIF hosted a series of parties to celebrate a semester of acheivement for the students in Immokalee Readers. Held at three different elementary schools in Immokalee, the parties gave us the opportunity to give Immokalee Readers participant two books for their home libraries. This added up to more than 260 books gifted in a one-week period. On top of that, the 31 Immokalee Readers tutors each received McDonald’s gift certificates from TIF, along with various baked treats.

“One thing that really sticks out in my mind is when I saw one of the children kissing his book,” says Lois Gomez, program manager of Immokalee Readers. “They get so excited about gifts, and are so appreciative.”

Continue on for additional photos of this event.

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Each year, we work with more than 100 students through College Success, a program that provides students with the funding and training they need to excel in a college setting. We currently have 117 College Success students enrolled in nearly 30 post-secondary institutions nationwide. Read on to see where our students have landed.

Baptist College of Florida
Barry University
Brown Mackie College
Brown University
Chipola College*
Edison State College
Emmanuel College
Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida State University
Hillsborough Community College
Heritage Institute*
Hodges University
Immokalee Technical Center
Jacksonville University
Johnson & Wales University
Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology*
Nova Southeastern University
Oakwood University
The Ohio State University
Ringling College of Art & Design
Sante Fe Community College
Smith College
Sunstate Academy*
Tallahassee Community College
Tri-County Apprenticeship Academy
Universal Technical Institute
University of Central Florida
University of Florida
University of Northwestern Ohio
University of South Florida
University of Tampa
University of West Florida
University of Wisconsin, Madison

* Indicates an institution where College Success alumni have attended/graduated from but College Success students are not currently enrolled.