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Philanthropy in uncertain times: How, and where, to make a difference

At this point each year, Southwest Florida’s philanthropic scene starts to explode with fundraising galas and special events.

The continued presence of COVID-19, however, is reshaping philanthropy here and across the nation. Formal fundraising galas, the type of black-tie affairs where nonprofits can raise $1 million or more in a single night, will be few and far between.

Instead, nonprofits are turning toward virtual events while identifying new opportunities to connect with and recognize their supporters. For example, Guadalupe Center’s Circtacular on Jan. 21 will be a livestreamed, circus-themed virtual event that captures the excitement and energy of the circus while demonstrating Guadalupe Center’s impact on education and poverty in Immokalee.

With no definitive end to the world’s health and economic crisis, philanthropic-minded individuals still recognize the community’s needs and the potential impact of their generosity. Without question, 2020 has been a challenging year for nonprofits. However, Southwest Florida is home to successful business leaders and entrepreneurs who value philanthropy and cherish opportunities to provide resources that will help nonprofits carry out their missions.

Below are four tips to consider when deciding how, and where, to make a difference in the community we call home.

Select a cause

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofits registered with the IRS. Nonprofits represent the arts, culture, humanities, education, research, environment, health care, human services, religion and many others.

When giving, consider causes near and dear to your heart. Sharing a personal connection with a cause strengthens the bond and creates a vested interest in an organization’s success.

Evaluate organizations

Donors want to feel confident that an organization is spending their contributions wisely while accomplishing its mission. Charity Navigator offers 4-star ratings to signify an organization’s financial strength, accountability and transparency. GuideStar offers platinum ratings to nonprofits that chart their success and accomplishments using verifiable data.

When giving, consider local nonprofits. These boots-on-the-ground organizations are the pulse of a thriving community. They may have relatively small budgets compared to national nonprofits, but they have big dreams and aspirations.

Determine the purpose

Learn about an organization’s specific needs and how your donation will help accomplish the nonprofit’s goals and objectives. Look for organizations that collaborate with others in the community. Ask for a tour. Nonprofits are proud to demonstrate their success.

Where possible, consider making an unrestricted gift to provide nonprofits with the greatest flexibility. Many organizations are unable to host traditional fundraising events and they’re facing uncertain financial futures, so flexibility is vital to helping the causes you care about.

Choose a gift type

Monetary donations and even multi-year pledges are among the easiest ways to contribute while also providing the most flexibility for an organization. Planned giving allows donors to create a legacy through appreciated stock, charitable rollover, charitable lead or remainder trusts, endowments and beneficiary designations.

When giving, consider an organization’s long-term needs. Gifts are needed today, tomorrow and beyond. Blended gifts can incorporate both cash and planned gift vehicles, allowing you to support the organization now and into the future. Supporters have designated Guadalupe Center, for instance, as beneficiaries in wills, trusts, life insurance policies and retirement plans, thus reducing the size of donors’ taxable estates before assets are transferred to heirs.

Nonprofits in Southwest Florida rely on philanthropy to carry out their work. Although 2020 introduced a host of new fundraising challenges, we’re blessed to live, work and play in a community that always comes through in times of need.

READ MORE: How to Give: Your Gift is Needed Today, Tomorrow and Beyond

– By Kelly Krupp, Senior Director of Philanthropy at Guadalupe Center

Guadalupe Center seeking donations for Holiday Gift Shop

Guadalupe Center is requesting donations of children’s gifts to restock its Holiday Gift Shop, an annual shopping experience that allows parents of Guadalupe Center students to select presents for their children.

Now through Dec. 4, Guadalupe Center will accept new, unwrapped donations of age-appropriate toys, clothing, shoes and other gifts for infants through teenagers. Each year, the Holiday Gift Shop provides presents to about 900 Immokalee students who otherwise might not receive gifts.

“So many families in Immokalee struggle with day-to-day living expenses in a typical year, and 2020 has been especially challenging,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Every child should have a gift to open on Christmas morning, but for that to happen, we need help from the community. Generous individuals, residential communities, civic clubs and businesses can help make the Holiday Gift Shop a tremendous success.”

The Holiday Gift Shop is open to parents of students in Guadalupe Center’s nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program.

Guadalupe Center suggests the following age-appropriate gifts:

Infants and toddlers (0-2 years): infant gyms and bouncers, rattles, baby dolls, stacking rings, light-up or musical toys, crib mobiles, bath toys

Preschool-age children (3-5 years): building blocks, baby dolls, wireless headphones or earbuds, remote-controlled cars, popular children’s characters and superheroes, activity sets, Play-Doh

School-age children (6-12 years): dolls, action figures, LEGO kits, wireless headphones or earbuds, musical instruments, sporting goods, popular children’s characters and superheroes, arts and crafts sets, riding toys, tablets, science lab kits

Teenagers (13-18): gift cards, wireless headphones or earbuds, Roku Express boxes, Bluetooth speakers, Fitbits, cell phone accessories, tablets

Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at two locations:

  • Naples: Guadalupe Resale Shop, 12980 Tamiami Trail North, Unit 10
  • Immokalee: Guadalupe Center, 509 Hope Circle

Additionally, monetary donations are appreciated and can be made online at https://www.GuadalupeCenter.org/donate/. Guadalupe Center also has created an Amazon Wish List at https://a.co/buwtIRs. For more information, please contact Ellie Ramirez at ERamirez@guadalupecenter.org or 239-657-7125.

From hope to opportunity: Early childhood education brings optimism to Immokalee

A quarter-century ago, Immokalee was a much different place. 

Although the economy was agriculture-based then, like it is now, today’s children have so much more opportunity than was offered a generation ago. Hope is in Immokalee, and it comes in the form of education. 

Guadalupe Center recently broke ground on an additional education campus, the second such ceremonial event in as many years. The van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning will open in early 2022 and will accommodate up to 154 students in the Early Childhood Education Program, as well as 125 high school students in the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. In August, Guadalupe Center opened the Monaghan Family Early Childhood Education Campus, which can serve up to 64 students ages 6 weeks to 3 years old. 

Once the new campuses are complete, Guadalupe Center will serve more than 1,800 students annually. 

When a ribbon-cutting ceremony is held for the van Otterloo campus, Guadalupe Center will simultaneously be celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Early Childhood Education Program. Through research, Guadalupe Center staff uncovered minutes from a Board of Trustees retreat held more than two decades ago that described the “uphill climb” associated with creating the Early Childhood Education ProgramThen, the program offered hope. Today, the program is offering opportunities and a rising sense of optimism. 

Below is a look at notes from that board retreat: 

Staff qualifications 

  • Then: Recruiting was difficult because applicants had limited or no experience in child care, as well as limited education backgrounds. 
  • Now: Educational staff have two- and four-year college degrees, and every teaching position is filled with an experienced instructor. Some employees are former Tutor Corps students at Guadalupe Center. 

Student recruitment 

  • Then: Few families recognized the long-term benefits of early childhood education and were reluctant to register their children, so Guadalupe Center relied on local churches for referrals. 
  • Now: The popularity of Immokalee’s only NAEYC-accredited program has led to a waiting list that exceeds 500 students. 

Enrollment 

  • Then: Guadalupe Center initially averaged 34 students daily when the program started in 1996. An expansion raised the capacity to 85 children in the Early Childhood Education Programs and up to 20 in the After-school Program. 
  • Now: With 371 students currently, the Early Childhood Education Program has grown tenfold. Once the van Otterloo campus opens, the program will be 14 times as large as it was in 1996. 

Financial stability 

  • Then: Funding was tight and federal subsidies were not easy to obtain on behalf of students. 
  • Now: Philanthropy accounts for almost 80% of the annual operating budget. “Guadalupe Center: 2020 & Beyond” nearly met its goal before the fundraising campaign was publicly announced. 

As a soup kitchen in the 1980s, Guadalupe Center fed the body. As an education provider today, Guadalupe Center nourishes the mind and is giving energy to Immokalee. Supporters like Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo, along with hundreds of other generous individuals, couples and foundations, have helped create a culture of academic success in Immokalee. 

“The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation is proud to support the great work accomplished through the Guadalupe Center,” said Mary Beth Geier, the foundation’s Florida directorTheir expansion and continued commitment to early learning is greatly needed and will continue to make a profound impact on the families in Immokalee. We are grateful to have an opportunity to be a part of these life-changing moments in the community! 

The minutes from that board retreat in the late 1990s concluded that Guadalupe Center’s quest to provide new educational opportunities to families “who make their home in Immokalee has been filled with the challenges and frustration that come with ‘hills and valleys, sunshine and rain.’” 

Today, even during these unprecedented times, Guadalupe Center is experiencing blue skies and brilliant sunshine. The hope from 1996 is now fostering opportunity. Generous supporters and hardworking staff are making certain that students receive a high-quality education that will propel them to endless possibilities. 

– By Dawn Montecalvo, President of Guadalupe Center

Minimalism: an interior design trend that helps you, nonprofits

Our closets are filled with stuff. Our garages are filled with stuff. Our bookshelves and drawers are filled with stuff. 

As Americans, it’s almost second nature to acquire stuff – clothing, books, souvenirs, knickknacks, wall artdishware and a multitude of personal items. 

Millennials began bucking the trend about five years ago, favoring experiences over belongings. Now, minimalism has become mainstream. Everyone from first-time homeowners to retirees are decluttering and simplifying their homesJust flip on the TV and you’re bound to stumble across a home improvement or redecorating show where hosts are emphasizing simplicity. 

Minimalism isn’t about removing every painting to reveal barren walls or tossing tchotchkes off the shelves. It’s about having the right balance. It’s about having items that speak to your tastes and personality. 

Essentially, it’s about having the right “stuff” at this particular point in your life. 

Unlike some extinct interior design trends, such as wall-to-wall carpeting and popcorn ceilingsCOVID-19 helped affirm that minimalism is here to stay. Here’s why: 

  • Stuff costs money: The pandemic taught us that economic situations might change at any moment. Stock market drops can wipe away retirement savings in the blink of an eye. No industry is recession- or pandemic-proof, even government jobs and those requiring college degrees. Going forward, consumers will be closely scrutinizing their expenditures and building rainy day funds. 
  • Stuff clutters living spaces: Florida’s “safer at home” order forced many professionals to work from home, only to find themselves less productive. That’s because our brains prefer order, and researchers say clutter creates distractions, stress and anxiety. It’s also difficult to unwind with stacks of dirty dishes in the sink or piles of dirty laundry in the bedroom. 
  • Stuff isn’t important: That snow globe you bought on sale or free bobblehead you got at the ballgame just take up space and collect dustUnlike family or health, many household objects aren’t important. You likely walk past dozens of items daily without even noticing their presence. 

Once you’ve made the decision to declutter, it’s time to formulate a plan of attack. 

(1) Schedule it

Set a date and time to inventory and clean each room in your home. Otherwise, procrastination can derail ambition.  

(2) Set parameters

When deciding which items to keep, first identify if you have a personal connection to an item, whether you have used or enjoyed it recently and whether it has any value. 

(3) Trash vs. donation

If you no longer need or want an item, would someone else? Only donate items that other people may consider purchasing. While it’s true that someone’s trash can be another person’s treasure, it’s also true that someone’s trash can be another person’s trash.  

(4) Find a cause

In Southwest Florida, many nonprofits operate resale shops and thrift stores that welcome donations, which ultimately are resold to generate support for programs and services. Local causes include education, hunger, employment, housing, religion and more. Donating higher-value items allows your organization of choice to sell items at higher prices, thus raising additional funds to support the mission. Plus, donations often are considered tax deductible. 

When you’re ready to jump on the minimalism trend, please consider donating quality furniture, home décor, artwork, kitchenware, lamps, linens, DVDs and CDs, books and more, as well as all types of new and gently used ladies and men’s clothing, including accessories such as jewelry, purses and nearly new shoes. Call ahead to make sure a nonprofit accepts the items you want to donate. 

Every donation and sale allows nonprofits to accomplish their goals and enhance our community. 

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop.

READ MORE:

Captivating sculpture finds new home, funds new educational opportunities
Teens fill the volunteer void as seniors wait out COVID-19

Guadalupe Center breaks ground on van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning

Guadalupe Center broke ground on Oct. 30 for a new educational campus that will create lasting, transformational change for students in Immokalee. 

The van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning will feature two academic buildings with multiple classrooms, a library, learning lab, cafeteria and kitchen, playground, administrative offices, mentor lounges, commons areas, medical and dental suiteoutdoor gardens and a student wall of fame. The campus will accommodate up to 154 students in Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program, as well as 125 high school students in the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. 

Guadalupe Center named the campus in honor of Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloowhose generous $5 million matching gift helped launch the project and inspired others to give. Within the campus, Brynne & Bob Coletti Hall will become the new home for the Tutor Corps Program. Barron Collier Companies donated 9.5 acres for the new campus. 

A strong early childhood education gives children the best opportunity for future success, and this expansion will allow more students to get a head start on an education that will carry them through school, into college and beyond,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of Guadalupe Center. “We are truly grateful for all of the generous donors who stepped forward to help this dream become a reality for families in Immokalee. 

Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment (APPLE). It also is recognized through the Southwest Florida Stars – Quality Rating and Improvement System and Gold Seal Quality Care Program through the Florida Department of Children and Families. Additionally, Guadalupe Center has a five-star rating from the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida. 

Tutor Corps is a highly selective, college preparatory program that offers guidance in college and career readiness, ACT and SAT test prep, mentorships, financial literacy and scholarship assistance, as well as wages for tutoring younger students at Guadalupe Center. 

In August, Guadalupe Center opened the Monaghan Family Early Childhood Education Campus, which can accommodate up to 64 students ages 6 weeks to 3 years old. The addition of the van Otterloo campus will bring Guadalupe Center’s total student population to more than 1,800 students annually. 

Construction costs for both new campuses are being funded through “Guadalupe Center: 2020 & Beyond,” a capital and operational campaign raising money to build new educational centers, hire additional staffexpand academic programs and establish an operational endowment fund. 

“When our children were old enough to have conversations about philanthropy, we discussed creating a foundation and what causes we’d like to support as a family, such as a hospital or museum,” Rose-Marie van Otterloo said. “Everyone said education, and that’s what we’ve been supporting for the past 20 years.” 

After moving to Naples, a friend introduced the van Otterloos to Guadalupe Center. After that first visit, Rose-Marie was hooked. 

“I fell in love with this place because of its mission,” she said. “The only way to get out of poverty is through education, and Guadalupe Center is providing hope to so many families in Immokalee.” 

Construction on the van Otterloo campus, which will be located at 3655 Westclox St. in Immokalee, is expected to be complete in late 2021. Project partners include Heatherwood Construction, David Corban Architects and Peninsula Engineering. 

Guadalupe Center is recognizing donors through a naming opportunity campaign. Several investment opportunities are still available, including classrooms, building wings and offices. For information about additional giving opportunities, please contact Senior Director of Philanthropy Kelly Krupp at 239-657-7711. 

Welcome to college: quarantine, coloring books and pursuing a dream

Note: This article was written by Alberta Araceli Morales-Gonzalez, a freshman at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York. She is a 2020 graduate of Immokalee High School and Guadalupe Center’s Tutor Corps Program.

For an incoming college freshman, those first few days on campus should be the time of your life – total freedom, endless social events, memorable experiences and making new friends.

Unfortunately, I had to spend the first two weeks of college locked alone inside my dorm room.

To help prevent further spread of COVID-19, New York implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone traveling from the state from Florida. That meant I had to arrive at Roberts Wesleyan College two weeks ahead of schedule and couldn’t see anyone or do anything outside the four walls of my dorm room. My phone was my primary entertainment source for music, videos, TV shows and movies. I also read, colored, made a friendship bracelet and organized my room – it felt like kindergarten all over again!

My two-week quarantine ended with no symptoms, and I was free to start my college career and begin pursuing a dream I’ve had for many years. In Immokalee, graduating high school isn’t a given, let alone going to college. Yet, here I am, the daughter of a construction worker and the oldest of four siblings, majoring in business at a private, out-of-state college with an annual sticker price of $44,910.

How did this happen? Well, now, students like myself have a whole community in their corner, helping us blaze a trail toward a brighter future through education.

After my mother suddenly passed away, I had to balance schoolwork with additional responsibilities at home as the eldest. I set a goal of not only becoming the first in my family to graduate from high school, but also the first to attend college. I was accepted into Guadalupe Center’s college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program, which gave me opportunities to overcome barriers I was facing. I learned how to properly shake hands and make small talk in a professional setting. I learned how to write essays, complete financial aid forms, apply for scholarships and fill out college applications.

As I progressed through high school, I considered staying local for college. After my junior year, though, I had an opportunity to attend a summer program at Roberts Wesleyan through Guadalupe Center’s E.G. Salisbury Tutor Corps Summer Academy. That experience opened my eyes and helped me realize that while I wanted to be near my family, this was an opportunity that would help me reach my full potential. I decided to leave home to focus on school and my future.

Roberts Wesleyan College is an elite academic institution, and I had the grades and the motivation to succeed there – I just didn’t have the money. Again, Guadalupe Center stepped up. Through my work with the Tutor Corps Program at the Guadalupe Center, I earned scholarship funds that I could apply towards my Roberts tuition. Roberts also acknowledged my academic achievements in high school by awarding me the Presidential Scholarship, and I received federal grants and loans. Finally, I received a new scholarship from Roberts Wesleyan College, established by generous donors, that is specifically for students from the Guadalupe Center. It was this new scholarship, a partnership between Roberts Wesleyan College and the Guadalupe Center, that made it possible for me to attend the college of my choice.

Guadalupe Center then helped provide essentials for my dorm room and even worked with donors to cover my flight to New York.

Leading up to that flight, my dad became more comfortable with the thought of me leaving home. When I left, his words of advice were to study hard and set a good example for my brother and two sisters. They’re also a part of Guadalupe Center programs, and I’m hopeful they’ll be following in my footsteps to become the second, third and fourth members of our family to attend college. I want them to see that life can improve once you let go of any negativity that might be holding you back and simply follow your dreams.

– Alberta Araceli Morales-Gonzalez

Captivating sculpture finds new home, funds new educational opportunities

Bargain hunters recognize that resale stores offer opportunities to score great deals on furniture, clothing and accessories.

Now, art collectors are experiencing the same sense of euphoria when visiting Guadalupe Resale Shop in North Naples.

Recently, a generous supporter donated a prized sculpture by renowned hyperrealist artist Marc Sijan. “Janet,” the name given by her donors, was part of Sijan’s Standing Barefoot collection and was as lifelike as they come, right down to flesh tones, freckles, eyelashes and skin imperfections.

Guadalupe Resale Shop positioned Janet at the front entrance so shoppers could appreciate the beautiful work of art. One of those admirers was Aldo Castillo, an international art curator who recently opened a new gallery on Fifth Avenue South in Naples. Castillo is quite familiar with Sijan’s work, noting that some of his sculptures have sold for upwards of $30,000 to $40,000

“I have traveled the world and know what really good artwork looks like, and this piece is spectacular,” Castillo said.

Many of Sijan’s works are nudes. Castillo said this sculpture is rare in that she’s fully clothed and was well-preserved by her former owners.

This isn’t the first time an art aficionado has found treasure at Guadalupe Resale Shop. Last year, art collector Ron Woods purchased an original oil painting by S. Lewiston depicting a Venetian canal bordered by Italian villas. The painting was later appraised for $2,000 and ultimately made its way to Canada, where it’s now the centerpiece of a senior living facility’s library and conservatory.

“It’s not unusual to find a treasure in a store like Guadalupe Resale Shop,” Castillo said. “People in Naples donate some very nice things.”

Those “nice things” are then resold, helping to fund educational programs that serve more than 1,400 students annually.

“Higher-end donations like the Marc Sijan sculpture ultimately mean we’ll be able to create additional educational opportunities for students in Immokalee,” said Bob Spano, vice president of programs at Guadalupe Center. “Both donors and customers at the Resale Shop are having a tremendous impact on our programs, our students and our community.”

It’s estimated that the sculpture’s sale will allow Guadalupe Center to outfit a preschool class with music and art supplies for an entire school year.

In addition to artwork, the Resale Shop accepts donations of quality furniture, home décor, kitchenware, lamps, linens, DVDs and CDs, books and more, as well as all types of new and gently used ladies and men’s clothing, including accessories such as jewelry, purses and nearly new shoes.

Donors can claim tax deductions because Guadalupe Center is a nonprofit.

Meanwhile, Castillo said buyers also have a financial incentive to purchase high-end pieces of artwork.

“People buy art for their enjoyment, but it’s also a wise investment,” Castillo said. “Unlike real estate or the stock market, artwork generally does not lose its value.”

Castillo didn’t begin his relationship with Guadalupe Resale Shop as a shopper. He started as a donor, dropping off household items and clothing. While the location was convenient, Castillo said the cause captured his support.

“I believe in their mission,” Castillo said. “Guadalupe Center is providing an education that will change the lives of these children.”

Guadalupe Resale Shop is located at 12980 Tamiami Trail N., Unit 10, in Naples. The showroom is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please call 239-594-2696.

Mark your calendar: ‘Circtacular’ virtual fundraising extravaganza set for Jan. 21

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, prepare to be amazed at Circtacular, Guadalupe Center’s circus-themed virtual event to be livestreamed on Jan. 21. 

In 2021, Guadalupe Center’s signature fundraising gala will be a circus-themed virtual extravaganza featuring an interactive livestreaming experience that captures the excitement and energy of the circusRather than gathering under the big top, guests can join virtually to learn about Guadalupe Center’s tremendous impact on education and poverty in Immokalee. 

Circtacular’s tagline is “The Magic. The Mission. The Moment.” 

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but like they say, the show must go on,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Guadalupe Center has remained student-focused and mission-forward, ensuring that we continue providing high-quality education programs that help the children of Immokalee overcome poverty. 

The signature event is Guadalupe Center’s annual fundraising galaIn January, the flamingo-themed Be Flamazing event raised $1.2 million to benefit students in the Early Childhood Education, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment and Tutor Corps programs. Combined, the programs serve more than 1,400 students annually. 

Sponsorship opportunities for Circtacular start at $3,000 and can include recognition in marketing materialsprograms, news media and social media, as well as during the event. Additional sponsorship benefits include virtual event passes, custom party boxes delivered to guests and invitations to exclusive donor events. 

Circtacular will be held virtually on Thursday, Jan. 21. Guests are encouraged to host private dinner parties during the event and watch the livestreaming event. 

For sponsorship or ticket opportunities, please contact Special Events Coordinator Tammy Richelieu at 239-963-3668 or email TRichelieu@GuadalupeCenter.org. 

High-Quality Donations = High-Quality Education

Janet was quite the looker. 

Recent visitors to Guadalupe Resale Shop couldn’t help but notice beautiful woman standing by the front door. The prized sculpture by renowned “hyper realist” artist Marc Sijan, part of his Standing Barefoot collection, was as lifelike as they come, right down to flesh tones, freckles, eyelashes and skin imperfections. 

Art aficionados immediately took note of Janet, the name given by her donors. Research showSijan’s work often fetches five-figure sums when sold through art dealers. 

Janet was a high-quality donation, and high-quality donations help fund a high-quality education for the students of Immokalee. Revenue at Guadalupe Resale Shop infuses financial support into Guadalupe Center in Immokalee, which offers a nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. 

Janet sold in late August to Aldo Castillo, an international art curator who recently opened a gallery on Fifth Avenue South in Naples. Proceeds from that sale can provide an entire preschool class with creative arts and music resources for the year. Or it can sponsor child and his or her parents for the Smart Start Program, which shows parents how to facilitate in-home learning and ensure that children are reaching age-appropriate developmental milestones. Or it can allow Guadalupe Center to purchase an in-class educational system like LEGO kits for STEM lessons. 

Guadalupe Resale Shop has been blessed with an amazingly generous base of regular donors who have given entire living room and bedroom sets, oak cabinets, stylish apparel, one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork and home décor. High-quality items don’t sit on the showroom floor very long. Each sale represents another opportunity to support children whose lives are being transformed through Guadalupe Center, which has a mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.  

Many well-meaning donors have asked what constitutes a “high-quality donation.” Customers are advised to ask themselves, “Is this something I would give to a friend?” If the answer is yes, then typically that item will have a good value in the resale market. If the answer is no, however, then it’s not likely someone would purchase it, either.  

To advise customers on how to truly make an impact on a child’s life, Guadalupe Resale Shop offers the following guidelines for donors: 

  • Will acceptLike-new furniture, home décor, kitchenware, artwork, lamps, linens, DVDs and CDs, books and all types of ladies and men’s clothing, including accessories such as jewelry, purses and nearly new shoes.  
  • Will not accept: Electronics, used household appliances, mattresses, children’s clothing and toys, baby equipment, gardening tools, light fixtures, ceiling fans, armoires, entertainment centers and exercise equipment. 

Guadalupe Resale Shop is located at 12980 Tamiami Trail N., Unit 10 in Naples. The showroom is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; donations are accepted 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, please visit GuadalupeCenter.org or call 239-594-2696. 

Guadalupe Center prepares students for college, cold weather

Guadalupe Center’s Tutor Corps Program has amassed some astounding statistics – a 100% high school graduation rate, 100% college attendance rate and 94% college completion rate.

The program offers guidance in college and career readiness, ACT and SAT test prep, mentorships, financial literacy and scholarship assistance. It also provides wages for tutoring younger students, money that certainly helps cover college expenses.

The 28 students in Tutor Corps’ Class of 2020 earned a combined $3.7 million in scholarship and grant awards. Among the class are 12 students who were the first in their families to graduate high school and 17 who are their first in their families to attend college. Eleven are pursuing degrees at Florida institutions, while the other 17 are enrolled at universities in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.

For the past four years, dedicated teachers and staff at Guadalupe Center and Immokalee High School have been preparing Tutor Corps students for college. However, the curriculum doesn’t prepare students for living in a cold climate. That’s why each summer, as students are packing for college, Guadalupe Center brings the teenagers to Guadalupe Resale Shop in North Naples for a back-to-school shopping trip while also demonstrating how donations and sales at the Resale Shop support academic programs. Students are allowed to pick out 10 items, each priced up to $40, at no cost. This year’s students selected jeans, sweaters, blouses, blazers, dress shirts and pants, ties, shoes and accessories. Any additional items are 75% off the ticketed price.

Araceli Anzualda, who is attending University of Toledo in Ohio, picked out several winter items, as well as clothing she can wear during the fall. The shopping trip was especially valuable given this year’s events.

“It’s been really hard to go to the store since most of them have been closed for half the summer,” Araceli said. “I’m so grateful for Guadalupe Center.”

Jamie Ozuna, who is enrolled at St. John’s University in Minnesota, also used the opportunity to stock up on warm clothing, picking out long-sleeved shirts and a new tie for when he attends events requiring business attire. He essentially is starting over in a new environment 1,800 miles from home.

“My expectation is to meet a lot of new people, make a lot of new connections and just have new opportunities that I wouldn’t have here,” Jamie said.

Whether it’s the Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program or Tutor Corps Program, Guadalupe Center is focused on creating endless possibilities. The nonprofit’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

I am living proof of that mission. Neither of my parents graduated high school – one works as a farmworker and the other is a custodian. The importance of education that parents stressed, combined with the assistance from Guadalupe Center, put me where I am today. Because of Guadalupe Center, myself and my three brothers are now all college graduates and working in our careers of choice.

– By Daniel Martinez, high school coordinator for Guadalupe Center’s college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program