From ensuring literacy for elementary-aged students to providing career guidance for middle and high school students to supporting our graduates in their postsecondary programs, The Immokalee Foundation’s life-changing support and services ensures their students have the tools they need to be successful. Regardless of his or her financial situation, The Immokalee Foundation’s goal is to provide each of their students the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary education.
With the rising cost of education, many young people throughout the United States must take out loans to cover the cost of attending college. Among the nation’s graduating class of 2019, 69% of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,900.
Considering that 50% of the children in Immokalee live at or below the poverty line, The Immokalee Foundation’s mission is to provide the opportunity for a debt-free education while setting our students up for career success.
“Our goal is to make education accessible,” said Paulina Magaña, Postsecondary Services Manager for The Immokalee Foundation. “Whether a student wants to attend a college, university, or an advanced postsecondary certification program, we support them and help give them access to scholarships that will take the financial burden off their shoulders.”
An Immokalee Foundation student can receive a scholarship in one of two ways. Through the Foundation’s partnership with Take Stock in Children (TSIC), low-income, academically qualified students receive a Florida Pre-Paid Tuition scholarship with guaranteed tuition coverage for their postsecondary program of choice. The two organizations aim to collectively break the cycle of poverty for at-risk students by providing postsecondary educational opportunities.
Additionally, The Immokalee Foundation provides a number of Foundation-sponsored scholarships—made possible by the generosity of donors—to help cover tuition and other postsecondary related expenses.
“We are here to support our students throughout their entire postsecondary journey,” said Yeimi Espinoza, The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children Program Manager. “Beyond covering expenses for tuition with our typical scholarships, we also provide supplemental scholarships to help cover any additional expenses that may arise throughout their program. This can include assistance on textbooks, technology, winter clothing, plane tickets, study abroad sponsorships or test preparation.”
The Foundation also helps support students through other challenging tasks such as filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms and applying for additional scholarships outside of the Foundation and Take Stock in Children.
“We work hard to ensure that we set each student up for success by giving them the tools and resources they need,” said Noemi Y. Perez, President and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation. “Our programming staff hosts workshops after school and on weekends to help students through all the necessary steps of applying to postsecondary programs.”
With the financial support of The Immokalee Foundation behind them, The Immokalee Foundation’s students have found great success. One-hundred percent of their students have a postsecondary plan for a professional career and ninety-two percent of students graduate with an advanced postsecondary certificate or degree. By giving them the opportunity to succeed without the weight of financial worry on their shoulders, The Immokalee Foundation’s students truly shine.
“The Immokalee Foundation provided me with the guidance I needed to achieve my dreams,” said Alan Cuevas Villagomez, an Immokalee Foundation graduate and 3rd year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh. “The Foundation’s scholarship program gave me the amazing opportunity to attend college and medical school, completely debt-free.”
To help support The Immokalee Foundation, or their career success scholarships, visit ImmokaleeFoundation.org/Donate
For more than 30 years, The Immokalee Foundation has maintained a 100% focus on education and professional development for students in Immokalee—from kindergarten to postsecondary education. Through support, mentoring, tutoring, and life skills development, The Immokalee Foundation provides pathways to success for those who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to succeed. For additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit immokaleefoundation.org.