Each January, The Immokalee Foundation celebrates Mentor Appreciation Month to recognize the important contribution mentors make to ensure the success of the organization’s programming. Vital to the success of The Immokalee Foundation’s programs, mentors provide the essential support and encouragement for students by meeting with them once a week to discuss academics and their personal lives.
Now a beloved Immokalee Foundation tradition, Mentor Movie Day was designed to allow mentors to connect with their mentees off campus and enjoy a shared experience. While mentors and mentees typically meet once a week at Immokalee High School for a more formal mentoring session, Mentor Movie Day offers an opportunity for mentors and mentees alike to enjoy a more casual, social event.
“Movie Day is a great event for the mentors and students to connect with each other in a different environment,” said Student Services Manager and Mentor Yeimi Espinoza. “It’s a fun day for everyone.” This year, 62 students, 51 mentors, and five Immokalee Foundation team members shared lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and attended a screening of “Little Women” at the Regal Coconut Point.
This literary classic provided a jumping point for the mentors to discuss their thoughts on the film and explore how students related to the characters. Some male Immokalee Foundation students who thought they wouldn’t be able to identify with the film’s female characters were surprised how much they enjoyed “Little Women.” All of the students appreciated the hardships and ups and downs the sisters experienced and recognized the message of working hard to achieve their goals.
“I liked being out and catching up with my mentor. I liked the movie because it was funny and emotional. My favorite character
was Beth March because she was innocent and did not have flaws,” said Bradelune Casseus, an Immokalee Foundation mentee.
Aracely Velasco-Santos, another Immokalee Foundation mentee, agreed.“The movie had a good message. I talked to my
mentor about the meaning of the movie afterward.”
The Immokalee Foundation Career Counselor Richard Kent said Movie Day benefits both the students and mentors. “It’s delightful to talk to the younger crowd to see the difference in perspective,” he said. Mentor Jennifer Rajoppi said, “I really enjoyed spending time with my mentee, Jaqueline – it was great fun to do together.”
The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, 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.
Noemi Y. Perez, president and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.