DIY blogger’s home renovation brings cash prize, national attention to Guadalupe Center

Kelly Hartley wanted to transform the look of her bathroom through a low-cost, DIY renovation.

She will end up transforming the lives of students through a high-quality education.

Hartley, a self-taught designer, interior stylist, DIYer and blogger from Naples, was one of 15 home décor bloggers that competed in the 2021 FrogTape Paintover Challenge. All contestants were given a budget of $1,000 and assigned a specific design trend. Hartley’s theme was “rest easy,” which meant she had to create “a space that provides peace of mind and offers sanctuary from daily stresses.”

Hartley opted to refresh her guest bathroom with a modern, contemporary look by enhancing the vanity, installing a new mirror, creating faux shiplap on the walls, restyling shower and floor tiles, replacing plumbing and lighting fixtures, and repainting the room.

“My goal for this project was to create a calming space for my family to relax and unwind,” Hartley said. “I love that my daughters now start and end their days in a soothing environment.”

The Paintover Challenge attracted 15 designers across nine states, and online voters tapped Hartley’s renovation project as the winner.

For her efforts, the DIY blogger received a $2,500 cash prize. In addition, she was able to direct support to a nonprofit organization of her choice. She designated Guadalupe Center, which will receive a $10,000 cash donation to support its mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

Hartley also was awarded another $2,500 to execute a design project at Guadalupe Center. In the coming weeks, she will help transform a cluttered office and storage space into a beautiful, tranquil teachers’ lounge that Guadalupe Center’s team of dedicated educators can use to unwind, enjoy lunch, plan student activities and have small meetings.

“They do such amazing things for the children in Immokalee, so I am just so honored and excited to be able to do this with them,” said Hartley, who creates high-end style and décor on a budget.

Beyond the $10,000 donation, Hartley also introduced a national audience of designers, DIYers and bloggers to Guadalupe Center. In encouraging online support, Hartley asked the nearly 85,000 followers on her Instagram page, @hartley_home, to consider the impact of their votes – helping provide life-changing educational opportunities at Guadalupe Center – when considering their favorite renovation project, even posting images of happy, engaged students at Guadalupe Center.

FrogTape, a leading brand of painters’ tape, also posted about Hartley and Guadalupe Center on its social media pages, which include a Facebook page with 63,000 followers and an Instagram page with 26,000 followers.

As a grassroots, locally run nonprofit, Guadalupe Center relies on a small army of supporters to help raise awareness and support for educational programs that, quite literally, change lives. More than 95% of students in the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, for instance, meet or exceed kindergarten readiness standards. Every student who attends the After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program make significant learning gains in math and reading. Among students in the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program, 100% graduate from high school and 94% graduate with a post-secondary degree.

A high-quality education changes students’ lives. Thanks to Hartley and those who voted for her bathroom renovation project as the best, Guadalupe Center is 10,000 steps closer to making students’ dreams of a brighter future become a reality.

Guadalupe Center requests back-to-school donations for Immokalee students

Guadalupe Center is requesting donations of school supplies through its 29th annual Back-to-School Shoes & Supplies Drive, which outfits hundreds of students with new sneakers and school supplies.

Requested items include writing utensils, paper products, art supplies, classroom supplies and student accessories. The National Retail Federation estimates the average household will spend $849 on back-to-school shopping in 2021.

“The majority of students we serve come from low-income households, and summer is an especially difficult period financially for families since so many jobs in Immokalee are seasonal,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of Guadalupe Center. “Every child should be able to walk into class on that first day of school eager to learn and with the resources to succeed academically.”

Guadalupe Center is requesting donations of:

Writing utensils: No. 2 pencils, erasers, pens, crayons, highlighters, small pencil sharpeners, pencil cases, washable markers and permanent markers.

Paper products: composition writing books, spiral notebooks, folders, binders and student agenda books.

Art supplies: blunt scissors, construction paper, glue bottles and glue sticks.

Classroom supplies: dry erase markers, white board erasers and plastic bags.

Student accessories: flash drives, backpacks and headphones.

Guadalupe Center serves more than 1,500 students annually through its nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program. The nonprofit’s mission is breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.

This year, Guadalupe Center again partnered with Snyderman’s Shoes of Naples and Laces of Love to distribute new shoes to more than 300 students.

Monetary donations can be made online through a secure portal at New school supplies can be dropped off or mailed to Guadalupe Center at 509 Hope Circle, Immokalee, FL 34142; Guadalupe Center’s development office at 2640 Golden Gate Parkway, Suite 205, Naples, FL 34105; or Guadalupe Resale Shop, 12980 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 10, Naples, FL 34110. All donations are tax deductible.

For questions or to schedule a donation pick-up, please contact Haley Thalheimer at 239-657-7120 or

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