Education: The gift that empowers, creates prosperity

Dawn Montecalvo

Every inspiring journey starts with hope. For John Auguste, a senior at Immokalee High School, the journey started when his family emigrated from Haiti when John was just a 1-year-old. His mother, Estilia – a single mom with six children –recognized that a high-quality education in this country would offer John and his siblings the opportunity to turn their dreams into reality.

Estilia enrolled John in Guadalupe Center’s nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, which offers academic, social, behavioral and emotional support to prepare students for kindergarten. Then, Estilia made sure John could continue his progress by registering him for the nonprofit’s Afterschool Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program, which provides reading and math assistance that reinforces lessons learned in school.

In eighth grade John applied for admission to Guadalupe Center’s college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program, which offers college and career readiness programs, ACT and SAT test prep, mentorships, financial literacy and scholarship assistance, as well as wages for tutoring younger students.

“Over the years, John has developed a love for learning and confidence in his abilities, and that’s given him hope for the future,” said Daniel Martinez, high school director for Tutor Corps.

An exemplary student, John is taking dual enrollment classes that provide both high school and college credit, giving him a head start on a bachelor’s degree. He scored in the 87th percentile on the SAT, putting him well into the upper quartile on the college readiness exam. He’s also participated in athletics at Immokalee High as a member of the tennis team and consistently is among the top Tutor Corps students in accrued tutoring hours.

The Next Step

John’s academic abilities have caught the eyes of several colleges and universities. Over the coming months, he’ll be evaluating admissions and scholarship offers before choosing a collegiate home.

For John and his peers in the Tutor Corps Program, the next six months are crucial as they turn the page to a new chapter of their lives. John is ready. He hopes to make a name for himself in the world of animation and digital art.

“With the help of Guadalupe Center, I know I can have a career and make my mother proud,” John said.

How Gifts Matter

Dedicated teachers, caring mentors and hard-working staff are only part of the equation at Guadalupe Center. Philanthropic support fuels success. Guadalupe Center relies on support from generous individuals and couples, businesses, foundations and volunteers to create transformational change for families in Immokalee.

Supporters don’t just contribute monetary donations; they are providing the gift of education that inspires, educates and empowers students such as John. At every step of his educational journey, academic programs supported by generous donors have brought his dream of becoming a successful animator closer to reality. He’s almost there. His peers are almost there. They just need a little more help.

Supporters can donate to Guadalupe Center through a secure online platform at

About the Author Dawn Montecalvo is president and CEO at Guadalupe Center, which provides high-quality educational programs for nearly 1,950students annually in Immokalee.

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