On Friday, March 25, Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee will host an evening of tempting tangos, sizzling salsas, and jiving jitterbugs for its inaugural Dancing with the Naples Stars. The evening will feature Naples Stars – key government, community, and business leaders – who will be paired with professional dancers for a performance and friendly competition.
The Naples Stars have eagerly been training with their professional dance partners to perform in front of a live audience. Though there will be adjudicated prizes and awards, the Stars are more motivated to win the “People’s Choice” awards –which will be decided through online voting at PathwaysEarlyEducation.org/DWTNS.
Judy Tedder and Sarann Kraushaar, members of Pathfinders auxiliary support organization, were inspired to chair the star studded evening after seeing how Pathways serves some of the most at-risk children in our community. Entering its 58th year, Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee has strived to continue growing and serving its families – despite setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic. With limited capacities, increased operational expenses, and reduced fundraising events, the school led the charge to reach more children in need. In 2020, the school launched a cutting edge virtual prekindergarten program that kept children engaged in literacy while they were quarantining and allowed Pathways to enroll new students in a hybrid learning environment. Additionally, Pathways used virtual technologies to keep students engaged with their mentors all around the country.
As a leader in NCEF’s Early Learning Initiative, Pathways collaborates with other nonprofits to implement groundbreaking programs that close education gaps by delivering high-quality Early Learning programs. Multiple studies have shown that when students are engaged in early education programs, they are more prepared to enter kindergarten with stronger language, math, and
cognitive abilities. By giving every child access to nurturing and stimulating environments, Pathways is helping Immokalee’s future leaders adapt for a lifetime of learning.
Thousands of children have passed through Pathways’ doors to achieve success in school and careers, breaking the cycle of poverty that impacts over half of the families in Immokalee. However, the waiting list for a child to enter the school can be a year or longer. More than 500 children are currently waiting to gain access to the language-rich environment, where they learn to work cooperatively with a diverse peer group.
How can you help? Vote in the People’s Choice Awards. For every $10 donated to Pathways in support of Immokalee’s Future Leaders, you can vote for your favorite Naples Stars:
Representative Bob Rommel
Sandra Lee Buxton, CMCD Commissioner
Dr. Joaquin Hernandez
Lois Bolin, Ph.D.
Learn more and cast your vote at PathwaysEarlyEducation.org/DWTNS