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Donor Stories

Educators Are The Heartbeat Of Every Community!

Champions For Learning’s Classroom Grant program allows teachers to make grant requests that are funded directly by the community to create innovative learning experiences for their students. One-hundred percent of these contributions go directly into classrooms for teachers to put to use immediately with students.

Tommie Barfield Elementary demonstrates the outstanding creativity and innovation shown by teachers, especially during this incredibly challenging year, offering us the opportunity to understand the incredible daily effort put forth by our educators — they truly are the heartbeat of every community!

The Health and P.E. educators at Tommie Barfield Elementary School could not wait to get students’ hearts pumping when they returned to school last fall, but they knew that doing so during the pandemic — where new protocols were in place around safe distancing and not using equipment — was going to be a challenge.

Fitness Activity Circuit Stencils, obtained through a classroom grant requested by P.E. teacher Deana Richett and funded by Ray Harman, in honor of Karen Harman, made it easy to transform the sidewalks and hardcourts at Tommie Barfield into safe environments to play and be physically active. The stencils are perfect for creating fun and engaging sensory, fitness, and socialization opportunities for students of all ages.

During recess, students can run through the circuit at their leisure. During physical education classes, the teachers use the circuits with more structure, building on daily lessons. Given all the changes and restrictions put on students this school year, it is important for their social and emotional well-being to have safe opportunities to play. All 500 Tommie Barfield students are now able to improve their motor development, flexibility, strength, and coordination through the different activities available while still following safety guidelines.

This year, more than ever, it is so important for us, as a community, to appreciate and honor teachers across Collier County for the extraordinary work they have done in ever-changing circumstances to keep our students moving forward. 

The Golden Apple Celebration of Teachers continues to be an opportunity to highlight teaching and learning in Collier County. Although the pandemic has prevented us from sending community volunteers into schools for a Golden Apple selection process, it has created an opportunity for Champions For Learning and all Collier County Public Schools to tell a larger story about teaching and learning over the course of this extraordinary year.

Presented by Suncoast Credit Union, the Golden Apple television program will air on Sunday, April 25th at 7:00 pm on NBC-2. Leading up to and following the program, there will also be social media highlighting each of our schools, and this will serve as a bridge to Teacher Appreciation Week in early May. Champions For Learning will also lead a community-wide initiative to thank educators on Tuesday, May 4th.

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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Announcing The Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in Learning at Champions For Learning

Champions For Learning, The Education Foundation of Collier County,  is pleased to announce the $500,000 contribution from Frank Daveler and his late wife, Ellen, to launch the Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in Learning at Champions For Learning.

In 2016, Champions For Learning purchased the first floor of our office building.  Thanks to the generosity of Mary Seaton Breese, Lavern Norris Gaynor, and Mary Garwood Ingram, the space became the permanent home of Champions For Learning.  Since then, Champions For Learning utilized two-thirds of the space and the other third had been occupied by a tenant, who has since moved.  This gave Champions For Learning an opportunity to transform this additional space into a Center For Innovation in Learning.

The new Center would expand the capacity and opportunities for Champions For Learning to support collaboration and innovation with teachers, students, parents, volunteers, and community partners.  The expansion and renovation of the remainder of the first floor will provide much-needed space, technology, and enhanced efficiency.

Aligning with the Davelers’ life experiences, the Center would have a heightened focus on developing the entrepreneurial spirit in our community around learning.  An entrepreneurial spirit supports the ability to innovate solutions to complex social, economic and environmental challenges. This center will enable students, teachers, volunteers, and community partners toward this goal, and continue to provide the collaborative capacity for Champions For Learning to facilitate the Future Ready Collier network.

Frank Daveler embodies the spirit of innovation, not just in his decades-long career, but in his devotion to uplifting the next generations of entrepreneurs. Having funded, with his late wife Ellen, substantial entrepreneurship programs at the University of South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University, the Davelers’ lasting legacy will live on with Champions For Learning through the Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in Learning. At a spry 102, Frank’s passion for the work, and for the young people, is clear. Believing in the power of curiosity and a love for learning, Frank has been honored to facilitate countless students’ ambitions as they pursue their own success through opportunities otherwise inaccessible.

“Frank’s profound understanding of how investing in others, particularly young people, can transform not only their lives, but the entire community is the driving force behind his philanthropy and the founding principle for this Center,” states Susan McManus, President, and CEO of Champions For Learning.  “On behalf of students, teachers, and our entire community, we are grateful for Frank’s support and vision for our future.”

The Frank and Ellen Daveler Center For Innovation in Learning is scheduled to be complete by Spring 2021.

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