by Steven Kissinger
Adilene Guadarrama qualified, applied for and was accepted into The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children scholarship program while in eighth grade. In ninth and tenth grades at Immokalee High School, schoolwork became much more difficult for Guadarrama; she seemed to be in danger of failing.
TIF program specialists and tutors gave her the special attention she needed to improve – in fact, they helped Guadarrama improve her grades to straight As. “There is no doubt that they want you to succeed,” Guadarrama said. This was clear to Guadarrama because the people helping her became involved – and stayed involved for years.
The success stories of The Immokalee Foundation instill long term loyalty not only with program staff and TIF’s corporate sponsors, but also with the community.
Jaguar Naples and Porsche of Naples are two examples of that loyalty as 10-year sponsors of the Charity Classic Pro-Am and Charity Classic Celebration. Jaguar Naples General Manager Jason Reidel said both are always “first class events” but even more
importantly, he’s reminded each year at the Charity Classic events about the spectacular work TIF is doing to enrich the lives of Immokalee’s young people.
“It’s rewarding seeing how The Immokalee Foundation has impacted the students’ lives and the support they receive from their mentors,” Reidel said. “It’s heartwarming.”
Porsche of Naples, under the leadership of General Manager John Harris, also has been unwavering in their backing of these two biggest fundraisers of the year.
The 2016 Charity Classic Celebration, including fine dining, dancing and auction, will be held November 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The Charity Classic Pro-Am, a scramble-style tournament that features some of the foremost names in PGA golf at Bay Colony Golf Club in Naples, is November 14.
Those events enable The Immokalee Foundation to help students like Guadarrama, who is looking forward to starting college
in the fall and pursuing a degree in nursing.
Longtime supporter and board member Peter Negri has seen this happen with other students during the past 10 years, and it keeps him active and involved as well.
“My wife had two students she mentored,” Negri explained, “one of them from seventh grade on. I could see that this girl started out very shy, and through the years she has developed her self confidence and now she is out of high school and in college. The more I got to know about The Immokalee Foundation and the fine results they produce, the more involved I became.”
Echoing those sentiments is Don O’Neill, whose leadership and support date back to about 2000. “It’s just grown and grown,” O’Neill said. “When TIF first started, they had about 250 feet of office space and a part time secretary. Now, there are hundreds of mentors and 500 students in the reading program alone. The kids, parents and donors have really come through in tremendous fashion. We have just been instruments to make it happen, to provide leadership, experience and energy.”
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, executive director of The Immokalee Foundation, can be reached at email@example.com.