(239) 643-4755
info@championsforlearning.org

Community Resources

Introduction to Innovation

For years Champions For Learning has been involved in preparing students for their future learning and career goals, utilizing the lab space within our office building to not only inspire students’ ambitions but to help them reach their goals.

Longtime Champion, Frank Daveler, was always grateful to facilitate students’ ambitions as they pursued their own success through opportunities otherwise inaccessible. Because of the $500,000 contribution from Frank and his late wife, Ellen, Champions For Learning was able to launch the Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in January, allowing the lab space to be reimagined, moving the new Center into the future.

Frank & Ellen Innovation Center Classroom | Champions for Learning   Frank & Ellen Innovation Center Classroom | Champions for Learning   Frank & Ellen Innovation Center Classroom with People | Champions for Learning

Scheduled for completion in June 2021, the new Center will expand the capacity and opportunities for Champions For Learning to support collaboration and innovation with teachers, students, parents, volunteers and community partners. As you look at the renderings of the reimagined Center, you will see that the strongest theme is collaboration. The spaces are meant to be rearranged to become functional lab spaces where students, teachers, and community partners can come together to discuss and innovate.

We believe the Davelers would have enjoyed seeing students, teachers and community members engaged in this way in this vibrant new space, creating opportunities for our community to connect with students as they prepare for their futures and to inspire solutions to complex challenges.

We are excited about the opportunity to engage teachers, students, parents and the community through the Center for Innovation and know that you are excited to move into the future with us!

Champions For Learning is in need of funding for furniture and materials for student modular workstations and conference rooms for the Frank & Ellen Daveler Center For Innovation. Contributions to the Innovation Center will be matched dollar for dollar.

Join in. Your gift to Champions For Learning inspires our community to continue to work together. No gift is too small–your gift can be combined with others to support life-changing learning experiences.

Should you like to make a donation, please visit us here online. Your gift begins making an impact immediately.

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Top Five Reasons for Becoming a Mentor

Have you ever considered being a mentor but uncertain about getting involved?

Champions For Learning offers Collier County community members the chance to mentor high-achieving, low-income public school students who show the potential to go to college. Upon successful completion of the program, each student mentee earns a two-year state college scholarship from Champions For Learning.

Here are five reasons why we ask you to look beyond the obstacles that may have held you back in the past and to take the next steps in becoming a mentor for a local student today:

Reason #1: Mentors change lives. 

Just think about the impact you can have on a young person’s life!

Do you remember a teacher, a coach or a friend who said or did something that changed the trajectory of your life?  This is your chance to do that for someone else.  Not every mentoring partnership is life changing but every mentor has the potential to instigate change.

You may not think that you have much to offer but engaging with someone who has had an entirely different background can be immensely rewarding for both of you.

Many young people in our community don’t see attending college as a possibility, but you can help change this. Give a new generation the encouragement and support that will help them make the most of their potential.

Seeing a student developing their life skills firsthand and, knowing that you have played a part in this, can be incredibly satisfying.

Reason #2: Mentoring allows you to gain new perspectives. 

Mentoring is a unique opportunity to step outside your normal circle of friends and family to gain an intimate understanding of how the world looks through someone else’s eyes.  New perspectives lead to fresh ideas, and who knows where fresh ideas could lead you?

Mentoring gives you the chance to engage with someone younger than you, who may see things very differently than you. In a changing world, it can be very rewarding to understand how those who have come after you think, and also how they view your own generation.

Mentoring a young student also helps bridge the generation gap, as each generation can come to understand the other’s motivations, goals, and attitudes.  In fact, we’ve found that at some point during most mentoring experiences, it begins to feel like there’s no gap at all.

Reason #3: Mentoring feels good. 

We guarantee you that once you become a mentor the “feel good” factor will take hold.  There is little more rewarding than knowing you are making a difference in someone else’s life.

Mentors have the opportunity to build up someone’s skill set and confidence – and that’s a relationship not easily forgotten.  Not to mention, the idea of enlightening another person’s life will always add additional happiness to yours.

Mentoring is more than just a fancy word for supporting someone else. It is a commitment of time and effort that is incredibly rewarding, providing a sense of fulfillment that extends far beyond your mentor/mentee sessions. It is knowing that you have made an impact on your mentee while at the same time undertaking some valuable self-reflection, which can only have positive outcomes for your own life.

Reason #4: Mentors become part of the Champions For Learning family.

Champions For Learning offers a connection to our community that many often feel is missing. It’s a connection to the needs that exist in Collier County, to like-minded volunteers and mentors, to the teachers, students and families the community served through Champions For Learning, and to the Champions For Learning staff.

When you offer your time to mentor, you not only make a difference in the life of your mentee and in the future of our community, you also become a part of the Champions For Learning family. A family that is dedicated to creating life-changing learning experiences for students, but also a family that is very much dedicated to one another.

Reason #5: Mentors leave a legacy.

Most of us long for a legacy, some stake in the future that says, “I was here.” What better legacy than to be a part of shaping the future of our community?

Mentors can have a lasting impact on their mentees. This is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a mentor… just knowing the small contribution you have made to the life of a young person can be incredibly rewarding.

Remember how lost and confused you sometimes felt during high school?  By acting as a mentor, you can help make challenges and transitions easier for your mentee. And when you reflect on what you have given to your mentee, you receive a profound sense of legacy and gratification.

Q & A with Kristin Peras, Director of Community Engagement, Champions For Learning

Kristen Peras, Champions For Learning

What’s the purpose of the mentoring program?

The mentoring programs offered through Champions For Learning break the cycle of poverty by identifying high-achieving, low-income public school students who show the potential to go to college and providing them with holistic support. More than 200 high school students are active in the program each year.

What do students need to do to qualify for the program? And what kind of assistance do they receive?

Students entering 9th Grade with economic need, good grades, behavior and attendance in school, and a desire to achieve post-secondary goals may apply to the program. The program offers students a caring volunteer mentor, a professional College Success Coach, and College Readiness support.

What is the end goal of the program?

Upon successful completion of the program, students earn a two-year state college scholarship from Champions For Learning. To date, Champions For Learning has impacted over 32,000 students.

Do mentors need special experience or skills?

No experience is required, and training is provided. Mentors are trusted advocates and excellent listeners, helping the student reach their goals, develop life skills, learn to advocate for themselves, and ensure they take advantage of resources and opportunities available — mentors are not a tutors or counselors.

How long of a commitment do mentors need to make?

Mentors are encouraged to continue to mentor the same student through his/her high school graduation to continue building the relationship with the mentee and their family.

How often do mentors meet with their mentees?

Mentors meet with mentees face-to-face or through virtual sessions during the academic year, sessions are typically held bi-weekly.

Can mentors meet with mentees virtually?

Virtual Mentoring via Zoom is offered to connect with mentees in supervised settings during lunch and after school hours. Virtual mentoring allows for seasonal mentors to be engaged all year and working mentors to have a session from the office.

Are there any requirements for mentors?

All mentors must undergo a screening process through Collier County Public Schools. Once screened, Champions For Learning matches you to a student and coordinates an introduction with your mentee.

Do mentors receive guidance from Champions for Learning?

Mentors receive a wealth of resources and training opportunities from Champions For Learning to ensure the success of the program and relationship and to help inform the focus of your meetings, including direct support from Champions For Learning staff and seasoned mentor liaisons, as well as online resources and webinars. If at any point a mentor has a concern about their mentee, they are encouraged to notify the Champions For Learning team to help resolve the issue.

What should we do if we’re ready to take the next step?

Contact me – Kristin Peras, Director of Community Engagement – at 239-643-4755 or KPeras@ChampionsForLearning.org. Or visit our website — ChampionsForLearning.org/LearnMore — to join us at our next All About Mentoring informational session.

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Inspired To Give

From Student to Teacher, Meet Kiara 

Through Champions For Learning I’ve been inspired by my mentor, community, and the students I teach. My name is Kiara and I am a Kindergarten teacher at Village Oaks Elementary in Immokalee and a 2012 graduate of the Champions For Learning programs.

My whole life has been about learning. Learning to be a better student, a better community member, and a better teacher. I strive to be the best educator I can be because of those who advocated and believed in me as a student.

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FAFSA Is Now Open

The FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aid) is the application that students must complete to apply for financial aid which can be used to attend eligible colleges or technical schools. The application opens annually October 1st.  Students should complete the FAFSA beginning senior year of high school and every year they are enrolled in college.

To access the FAFSA click here!

The FAFSA is used to determine what federal aid a student may qualify for.  In Florida, colleges and private organizations also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for state and institutional aid. Completing the FAFSA is the access point for students to the majority of grants and scholarships, regardless of income or academic status.

 

The first step to completing the FAFSA is to create a FSA ID for the student and parent.  We’ve created a step-by-step tutorial for creating a FSA ID .  Once the FSA ID has been processed (about 3 business days) the student will receive an email and can then complete the FAFSA.

 

 

We’ve also created a step-by-step tutorial to walk a student and parent through completing the FAFSA for the first time.

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Investing in Education is an Investment in the Future of Our Community

Because of you, our programs have given students, educators, and community members an opportunity to work together to face challenges and celebrate triumphs. We continue this work to provide life-changing learning
experiences for every student and want to support them in learning the life skill of adapting while staying firmly focused on their future. During this challenging time, we continue to listen, adapt, and respond to the
needs of our educators and students. The Classroom Grant online portal allows teachers to request classroom grants that will come directly from the community to create innovative learning experiences for their students. Thanks to Suncoast Credit Union, which supports the technology and capacity for the grant portal, 100% of community contributions go toward supporting teacher grants. You can fund a specific request from a teacher by visiting https://www.finditfunditflorida.com/collier/.

Champions For Learning is working with our elementary school principals and teachers to provide our students with the tools they need to resume their schooling. With more than 60% of students returning to Collier County Public Schools for instruction on campus, our students will have the opportunity to learn with district-provided laptops and devices appropriate to their grade levels and will be provided with face masks and hand sanitizer. However, the guidelines outlining social distancing will require that each student uses their own individual school supplies. They will not be able to share their crayons or scissors and teachers will need to help
students keep their own supplies organized.

Every $10 donation will provide a student with a backpack full of items needed to start school. The average request from principals is 300 backpacks with supplies. Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring supplies for a specific school.

Through enhanced programming, foundational skill development, and engagement of over 450 volunteers supporting students, our students are equipped and prepared for their future learning and career goals.

The strong outcomes of the Class of 2020 demonstrate this readiness. Even in the face of COVID-19, the Class of 2020 surpassed last year’s outcomes and 100% have stayed on track toward their post-secondary
aspirations.

Beyond the students directly served, over 12,000 students gained access to financial and college readiness resources, through partnerships and community outreach. This year challenged us and provided us many opportunities to adapt and learn new things. The adaptations this year served our students and program well and many will continue to be expanded upon in the year to come.

It is because of your advocacy and support that Champions For Learning is able to adapt and leverage resources to help ensure our students and teachers can continue to work toward their vision for the future, even
when the way of achieving those goals may be changing. Help us continue to support students and educators in Collier County.

Your gift to Champions For Learning empowers our community members, teachers, and staff to continue to interact with students in ways that dynamically enrich all their lives. No gift is too small; your gift can be combined with others to support life-changing learning experiences for students across our community.

Click here to make a donation! 

 

 

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Back To Learning

Champions aren’t born; we lift each other up. Although our school year is getting started differently, we are so grateful for our teachers, administrators, parents, volunteers, and community partners for helping our students get back to learning!

Now, more than ever, it is fundamental to student success to keep learning moving forward, whether virtually or in-person and our community recognizes that our educators are the champions that students need in their corner.

Please join in and help our educators, schools, and families in one or more of the following ways:

  • Fund a teacher’s great idea by visiting https://www.finditfunditflorida.com/collier/ or by purchasing a License For Learning License plate with 100% of the proceeds going directly into classroom grants.
  • With more than 60% of students returning to Collier County Public Schools for instruction on campus, our students will have the opportunity to learn with district-provided laptops and devices appropriate to their grades and will be provided with face masks and hand sanitizer. However, the guidelines outlining social distancing will require that each student uses their own individual school supplies.   They will not be able to share their crayons or scissors and teachers will need to help students keep their own supplies organized.   A $10 donation can sponsor a backpack full of the items that a student will need to start school. To donate visit: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E206032&id=41
  • Join in and become a virtual volunteer! For more information, visit https://championsforlearning.org/volunteer/
  • Class of 2021 be ready for what’s next! Champions For Learning is preparing students for life after high school check out our student resources, updated regularly!  www.Championsforlearning.org/resources
  • Learn more about Champions For Learning by attending a Virtual Champions 101. Learn about how our work is impacting students, families, and teachers in Collier County. Champions 101s are informational sessions that serve as an introduction to who we are, what we do, and how to help. https://championsforlearning.org/learnmore/

Our community is engaged and energized in support of student success. Please join in and help us to create life-changing learning experiences for every student in Collier County.

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Adapting As Volunteers

Champions For Learning is proud of all of the students, teachers and volunteers who continue to be Champions for our community. During this time volunteers have adapted and continue to share their gift of time with our students, helping them to stay focused on their goals.

Volunteers have been active participants virtually in our weekly programming for our students. As you will see in these examples, our volunteers are modeling adaptability and versatility for our students.

Volunteer Frank Blod has traditionally led student workshops on building resumes; this spring the workshop will look a little different. Blod will be leading a virtual training workshop for 20+ volunteers who will learn how to provide feedback virtually to students on ways to enhance the initial draft of their resume. Going virtual has allowed more volunteers to be able to participate in the student resume workshop!

Another example of this is with volunteer, Jesse Roberts, M.D. who has led a workshop for our 8th – 12th grade students who are interested in Healthcare professions. Joining him was Todd Lyon, Director of Talent Management from NCH hospital. They shared the various career options available in healthcare and the different paths and degrees necessary to get there. More than 25 students participated in this session.

“it’s important to always remember gratitude. When you are a doctor, the person who cleans a patient’s room and gets it ready for the next person, it equally as critical to patient care, so you must always remember to say thank you,” said Roberts during his presentation.
Finally, volunteer Larry Kirschner was able to adapt a lab session originally intended for Seniors on Financial Literacy to become virtual. With this opportunity, both Seniors and Juniors from our program were able to join.

“When you are my age, I can assure you, you’ll look back at your 17-year-old self and you’ll either say I’m really glad I took the time to understand this, or you’ll kick yourself for having not thought about it enough. You are the ones who will benefit from understanding this, or pay the consequences for not,” said Kirschner during his presentation to students.

The students learned an introduction to interest rates, credit, and how to make wise financial decisions. Kirschner even developed an online soccer game to allow the students to answer quiz-style questions at the end of the presentation.
Although volunteers are not able to physically meet with students, our volunteers have been able to continue to support and engage students in our program by going virtual! We are so thankful for all of our volunteers.

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Inspired By Our Students

 Our community is proud of all of our students. During this time students have shown how quickly they can adapt to their new learning environment.


Students are attending their e- learning classrooms and are participating in their virtual labs through Champions For Learning. 12th grade virtual labs include college readiness, college cooking hacks, giving thanks, and decision day celebration. We are grateful for our students and the leadership that they have demonstrated.

Our students have continued to reach their goals, our 91 12th grade students to date have been accepted into 263 college and universities and have earned 71 scholarships totaling $3,508,332.

During this time our students have stayed flexible and have already shown how they are grateful in many ways.

“Doing work at home has made me more accountable and more independent.” – Ruby
“I appreciate my teachers being understanding and responding as fast as they can to us students!” – Isis
“ I am grateful to be able to spend more time with my family during this time.” – Gabriella
“I appreciate being able to work on my organizational skills.” – Christopher

Thank you to our students who have uplifted us during this time and continue to reach their goals!

Mr. Gamber has been a long time volunteer who has been upgrading our old laptops and some he has donated, so that our students can do their online coursework and participate in our virtual labs and workshops.

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Champions For Learning Celebrates 30 Years of Impact

Champions For Learning is proud to mark 30 years of community impact through education.
Champions For Learning, the education foundation in Collier County, is an independent, community-based, non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that strives to create life-changing learning experiences for every student. With a vision of a community that is 100% engaged in support of student success, Champions For Learning serves a unique role in bringing the community together to support a culture of learning and innovation. The organization has been awarded the highest four-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency by Charity Navigator and achieved the highest distinction as an exemplary Local Education Foundation. In 1990, Champions For Learning was founded by community and business leaders who believed the best opportunities for students were when the community was involved as a full partner with schools and educators in the success of students. The community’s recognition of the unparalleled role that teachers play in their students’ learning began a long tradition Golden Apple in honor of the profession of teaching. Champions For Learning expanded by creating student programing and continuously growing while listening to the needs of the community.
Champions For Learning has a significant impact as it brings the community together to create a culture of learning, innovation, and inspiration for not only students but the educators who support them. As Champions, we Champion students and in return, they Champion our community’s future. Beverly Feagin, Chair of the Board of Directors, invites the community to get involved. “If you would like to see your contributions make a difference in the lives of students and their families- and in the future of our community- there is no better place to start than Champions For Learning.” Champions For Learning celebrates a legacy of leadership in its 30th anniversary year by recognizing its past board chairs as the Heart of the Apple honorees. Join us in celebrating our leaders who have created 30 years of impact for the future of our children and our community. Join us on February 7, 2020 at Night of Champions. For tickets please call at (239) 643-4755 or visit ChampionsForLearning.org/night-of-champions.

Past Board Chairs

· 1989-1990: Byron Koste
· 1990-1991: Bill Barton
· 1991-1992: Alan Horton
· 1992-1993: Don Barber
· 1993-1994: Laird Lile
· 1994-1995: Colleen Conant
· 1995-1996: Grover Whidden
· 1996-1997: Brian Martin
· 1997-1998: Rachel Gutman
· 1998-2000: Lloyd Liggett
· 2000-2001: Chris Vernon
· 2001-2002: Thomas Riley
· 2002-2003: John James
· 2003-2004: Bill Thomas
· 2004-2005: Vivian Dawson
· 2005-2006: Mike Maxwell
· 2006-2007: Mary Lynn Hill
· 2007-2008: Todd Bradley
· 2008-2009: Sharon Treiser
· 2009-2010: Claudine Leger-Wetzel
· 2010-2011: Kaleigh Grover
· 2011-2012: Dianne Mayberry-Hatt
· 2012 – 2014: Jim Hoppensteadt
· 2014-2015: Keith Walker
· 2015- 2017: Bill Barker
· 2017-2019: Lynn Davidson
· 2019-Present: Beverly Feagin

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Calling All Volunteers!

Want to support our students with your time? Here are a few volunteer opportunities that can fit any time commitment.
  • Take Stock in Children Mentor: Give guidance to the same student and change their life with the gift of your time (a minimum of 15 sessions a school year).
  • Financial Aid Volunteer: Become trained to help families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during FSA ID Labs and FAFSA Completion Events (Fall 2018)
  • College and Career Coach: Help students in group settings on a periodic or short term basis to learn about career pathways, goal-setting, and employability/foundational skills. (Ongoing student lab opportunities)
To learn more contact Rachel Welch at (239) 643-4755 or RWelch@ChampionsForLearning.org
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