United Way of Collier and the Keys has provided Guadalupe Center with a $74,000 grant to enhance learning opportunities for 840 students enrolled in its After-school Tutoring Program.

The highly successful program offers homework help and academic assistance in language arts, math and science, and instruction is led by certified teachers, paraprofessionals and tutors.

“The After-school Tutoring Program serves kindergarten, first- and second-graders who are at-risk and at least one grade level behind in reading, math or science,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of Guadalupe Center. “United Way has been a longstanding partner of Guadalupe Center, and this grant will allow our teachers and tutors to help close the achievement gap so that students do not fall behind academically.”

Guadalupe Center is among 19 partner agencies supported by United Way of Collier and the Keys, which directs its assistance to organizations addressing health, education and financial stability. United Way awarded Guadalupe Center’s grant through Project ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed). It’s estimated that more than 37,000 households in Collier County have incomes above the poverty line, yet those families still face economic challenges.

Within Immokalee, 97% of students qualify as economically needy and more than half of adults have no more than a ninth grade education. Research indicates a strong correlation between household income and academic achievement, which led to Guadalupe Center’s mission: breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

Assessments show that 100% of Guadalupe Center students show significant learning gains in reading and math after attending the After-school Tutoring Program.

“Beyond academic achievements, students in our After-school Tutoring Program also improve their self-esteem, self-confidence and positive social behaviors,” said Jamie Rossi, assistant director of after-school programs at Guadalupe Center. “The academic, social and behavioral foundation that students build in their first few years of school will carry them throughout elementary, middle and high school, and even into college. That’s why it is so important to invest in high-quality programs that serve young learners.”

The After-school Tutoring Program also relies on Immokalee High School students in Guadalupe Center’s college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. After completing a training program through Guadalupe Center and the Collier County School District, Tutor Corps students collaborate with certified instructors to deliver academic assistance to children. In return, they are offered a wage while learning responsibility, accountability and time management skills. Tutor Corps also provides students with mentors, academic guidance, scholarship assistance and financial literacy.

Guadalupe Center is requesting additional support to help fund its successful educational programs. For more information, please visit GuadalupeCenter.org/how-to-give or call 239-657-7711.