Dreamcatchers raising aspirations for local youth

In 2014, The Immokalee 1 by 1 Leadership Foundation began seeking students who were interested in giving back to their community. They molded these students by giving them “responsibility, focus and motivation necessary for success in their chosen fields.” Then they inspired some youth to take on an entrepreneurship and start the Taste of Immokalee, a food business that uses family recipes to sell salsa throughout surrounding communities.

The 1 by 1 Leadership Foundation also created Inspire Immokalee Future Sports, a program designed to help keep athletes mentally and physically fit throughout the year. Furthermore, the 1 by 1 Leadership Foundation created iCO Arts, a program dedicated to encourage high school students gifted with artistic abilities, (dancers, singers, writers, etc.) to raise community awareness.

However, in April 2018 the Board of Directors decided to make even a bigger change to Immokalee’s youth by forming Florida Dreamcatchers, a program dedicated to mentor a child from sixth grade all the way to their second year of college/career school. This nine-year dedication shows the commitment that they have to inspiring today’s youth.

Florida Dreamcatchers work with school’s guidance counselors to find “What students can use an extra adult in their lives”. The program uses a lottery type drawing for students who apply. They accept 20 applicants each year from sixth grade. So the lucky students participating this year, will be in seventh grade when new students are selected, and then the following year, a new group of sixth graders will be chosen as the others advance a grade.

Although they are starting with twenty students, they plan on having 180 participants by 2027. Even more amazing is that if a student has an interest in something not offered in the community, Florida Dreamcatchers will find a way to help that child learn about their interest. This nine-year commitment to today’s youth is sure to have a positive impact on the community.

Lewis Perkins is special to the Immokalee Bulletin and can be reached at ibnews@newszap.com

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