First-year TIF college students enjoy ‘fun money’

(Submitted photo) Dr. Massoud Eghrari and Mrs. Tayebeh Eghrari awarded “fun money” scholarships to first-year college students from The Immokalee Foundation

NAPLES – For students enrolled in The Immokalee Foundation’s programs, there is one scholarship that’s not based on academics, test scores, grade point averages, or class standing. This scholarship is just for fun.

Dr. Massoud Eghrari of Naples once again provided “fun money” scholarships to first-year college students who completed an application with general information and an essay about what they would do with the money if they received it. In the spirit of the award, the students are required to spend the money on themselves, rather than others.

Dr. Eghrari and his late wife, Isabella, understood what hard work is involved in pursuing an education and a career. Knowing that young people from Immokalee usually have limited resources, their support for The Immokalee Foundation historically has involved not only academic scholarships, but also these no-strings-attached awards of $500 each for students to spend however they wish.

“With the money your scholarship provided, I was able to purchase little things that made me happy and that I normally wouldn’t purchase,” wrote Daisy Matias in a thank-you letter to Dr. Eghrari. Matias was one of 14 students who received the scholarships this year.

Matias also was able to go out to dinner with friends. “Being able to do that was very important because socializing is a great way to unwind and create memories of fun experiences. I am extremely happy and thankful that I was able to enjoy some good food and have a nice time with people I cared about, without having to worry if I could afford it,” she wrote.

Yuridia Zaragoza’s dream as a child was to see the Cinderella Castle at Disney World. “Because of you, I was able to do so,” she wrote. Zaragoza also went to Universal Studios.

“With the money I was able to go shopping. I got new jackets, pants, and new shoes. Thank you again for your generosity and support,” Mackenson Yrelus wrote in his own thank-you letter.

At least one student became wiser for the experience – as well as a bit wealthier in material goods.

“I had so much fun being able to swipe my debit card and purchase anything my heart desired,” wrote scholarship recipient Jonathan Martinez. “I felt like over the course of my shopping spree I became more obsessed with myself as well as a bit selfish. I also didn’t think twice about the price of things until the $500 were all gone,” added Martinez. His thank-you letter summarized his feelings this way: “Overall, it was an experience I’d love to ‘endure’ again in the future.”

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, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit https://immokaleefoundation.org.

The Immokalee Bulletin is published every Thursday.

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