Delivering Hope

COVID-19 forced the world to pivot. When Guadalupe Center temporarily shut the doors to its physical campuses, teachers and staff started opening doors to a new virtual campus.

Step one was assessing families’ technological needs. In Immokalee, economically disadvantaged families often lack computers and internet access is considered a luxury.

Guadalupe Center and its philanthropic partners stepped forward to make sure children had the digital tools to succeed in a digital learning environment.

Next, teachers and staff established Zoom classrooms and created lessons that could be delivered online. Within days, teachers were remotely guiding students through reading and math instruction, and even art and music classes.

High school students joined weekly online workshops covering essay writing, the college application process, test prep and more. Guadalupe Center even enrolled rising Tutor Corps seniors in a virtual college class.

Student focused. Mission forward.

Guadalupe Center has always gone beyond the classroom to support students’ growth, development and ability to learn. Its mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

The world may have paused because of COVID-19, but Guadalupe Center did not. While hallways were quiet, students continued to learn. While the future became blurry, Guadalupe Center offered hope.

Many Immokalee families elected to continue virtual learning as the 2020-21 school year began, and as a result, Guadalupe Center continues to pivot.

Maria Cervantes, coordinator of the Smart Start program, has shifted her focus to become a direct connection between Guadalupe Center and its families.

Nearly every day, Maria fills Guadalupe Center’s van with literacy activities, math workbooks and school supplies, delivering learning essentials directly to the homes of students. Her route takes her across Immokalee and into neighborhoods, a necessity considering many families lack transportation to pickup assignments or school lunches.

Education offers all children the best hope for a brighter future. However, it’s difficult to concentrate on schoolwork when you’re hungry, so Maria also began delivering healthy food on her routes.

Through Guadalupe Center’s partnership with the Benison Center in Immokalee, Maria is able to deliver fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins to dozens of families each week.

Maria isn’t just delivering academic materials and food. Maria and the entire team at Guadalupe Center are delivering a sense of hope to students and their families. They are committed to each student’s well-being, now and in the future.

When you give to Guadalupe Center, students like Sophie can continue making strides academically while learning from home. Sophie is proud to show off her improved reading skills as a result of Guadalupe Center’s nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, where an astounding 95% of students meet or exceed Florida’s kindergarten readiness standards when they enter school, starting ahead from day one.

When you give, students like Freddie can receive nourishment that fuels their minds and body. Each week, he receives new academic materials delivered to his family’s home. Freddie is eager to show how he’s learning to read and count, all while munching on an apple provided by the Benison Center.

Guadalupe Center is recognized as an education provider, but it’s also become a lifeline for more than 1,400 Immokalee students and their families. We refuse to let them down.

Guadalupe Center is committed to its mission and continues to create endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee. To donate, please visit GuadalupeCenter.org/how-to-give or call 239-657-7711.

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