More than 20 years ago, the Immokalee Foundation set out on a mission to build a pathway to success for Immokalee’s children. The goal was to make a difference – provide kids with the chance to learn, grow and succeed – opportunities many would not have if not for TIF. Today, through its dedication to early-childhood literacy training, educational mentorship, college and vocational preparation, and out-of-classroom experiences, the organization has undoubtedly made quite an impact on the Immokalee community. It’s the kind of impact that would not be possible without the generosity and dedication of others. With the help of donors, volunteers, mentors and more, every student in a TIF program is able to achieve his or her dreams.
On Saturday, Nov. 16 at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, guests can raise their paddles and help make those dreams become reality at TIF’s annual Charity Classic Celebration dinner and auction – an unforgettable fundraising event that promises to motivate and inspire each and every one of us. On this night, we will hear stories of challenge, hope and triumph from the students themselves. Stories that very often have happy endings thanks, in large part, to the contributions of the evening’s patrons.
The Charity Classic Celebration is unique in that it offers a very specific and tangible way for donors to support students on their educational path through the Fund A Dream live auction. One hundred percent of the funds raised during Fund A Dream will benefit the category of choice.
Fund A Dream is organized into five specific categories that provide students with opportunities and experiences such as attending a College Success boot camp, tutoring, attending their first professional baseball game, participating in career and networking seminars, going to a play, becoming involved in youth leadership and attending a four-year college or vocational school. Donors may even provide students with college scholarships, literacy enhancement, career development and experiences to build leadership and life skills. With our generous donors in the lead, brighter futures are on the horizon for the children of Immokalee.
The first category, or Dream One, is Reading Readiness, which focuses on Immokalee Readers, an after-school early reading readiness intervention program targeted to improve the reading skills of children in the bottom 17 percent performance scale on the state achievement assessment from kindergarten through third grade. National studies show that students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma. Students currently in the program, who are matched with high school-aged tutors, have developed their literacy, reading skills and writing concepts with great progression and the majority of students make gains toward reading grade level by the end of the school year.
Dream Two is Avenue of Achievement, which focuses on tutoring, mentoring and technology. With the help of a tutor and/or mentor, frustration and struggle give way to academic achievement and invaluable self confidence for middle and high school students. It allows students to continue to advance as they move forward, especially in reading and math.
Dream Three provides the Tools to Succeed through leadership experiences and life skills. Instead of spending summers complaining about boredom, students will have the opportunity to attend college programs and workshops that have the potential to shape their future.
Vocation for Life is Dream Four, and it focuses on Career Development. We understand that every child is different and therefore every path to success is different. This category provides career training and scholarships for those interested in pursuing a post secondary education at a vocational school or two-year Florida college.
Dream Five is College Bound, focusing on our Take Stock in Children program, a scholarship and mentoring program that awards students a full college scholarship upon high school graduation, but only if they earn good grades, exhibit good behavior and meet weekly with a mentor. We are proud to say that we have placed more than 220 students on the track to college. This is an enormous step in achieving their dreams.
On this night and during the Fund A Dream auction, memories will be made, lives will be changed and legacies will be created. This annual gala is our largest fundraising effort and is crucial to the success of our organization and the goal of providing sustained educational opportunities to Immokalee’s youth.
Ticket prices are $550 per guest; tables are available at $5,000 for 10 guests. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are also available. For more information or to make reservations, contact The Immokalee Foundation at (239) 430-9122, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.
Liz Allbritten is executive director of The Immokalee Foundation and can be reached at email@example.com.