Guadalupe Center helps Immokalee students with college essentials

NAPLES – Guadalupe Center helped 24 Immokalee High School graduates prepare for college life with a shopping trip to purchase essentials for their dorm rooms.

The students, part of the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program Class of 2019, visited Target to purchase linens, cleaning supplies, lamps, luggage and other items for their residence halls. Then they traveled to Best Buy, where they bought electronics, flash drives and other school supplies so they’re well-equipped when college classes begin in the fall.

Employees from Target and Best Buy joined Guadalupe Center staff members to help students select items within their allotted budget.

“This opportunity really means a lot to me because it takes a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Francisco Brito. “I’m pretty much set for school in terms of supplies. This past year has been really difficult for me, but I have a great support system with the Guadalupe Center, friends and family.”

Brito, who was diagnosed with leukemia last summer, will be attending Florida Gulf Coast University and plans eventually to become an oncologist.

The Tutor Corps shopping trip has become an annual event for graduating seniors and is generously funded by longtime supporters Brynne and Bob Coletti, who donate funds to help “level the playing field.” Guadalupe Center serves low-income students who live in rural Collier County, and most do not have the basic necessities to live away from home.

Tutor Corps is a college preparatory program that provides Immokalee High School students with mentors, academic guidance, scholarship assistance, financial literacy and wages for tutoring children in Guadalupe Center’s educational programs.

In addition to funding the Target and Best Buy shopping trips, the Colettis also provide each student with a gift card to host a pizza party at their college dorm as a means of getting to know fellow students.

“This shopping trip was an opportunity to get a head start on my college life by providing me with the college essentials I would not have had otherwise,” said Karen Reyes-Santos, who will attend North Central College in Illinois. “I am grateful for the generosity I have been shown. It will help facilitate my move to an out-of-state college.”

About Guadalupe Center
Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven, nonprofit organization with proven results in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education and fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. With a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center is proud of the children’s accomplishments: 95 percent meet or exceed kindergarten readiness measures, 100 percent of Tutor Corps high school seniors graduate high school and are accepted into college, and more than 92 percent graduate with a post-secondary degree.

The Immokalee Bulletin is published every Thursday.

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