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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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Renovation of The Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in Learning Officially Begins

PRESS RELEASE

(February 3, 2021 – Naples, FL)  PBS Contractors broke ground to mark the start of the construction for the $500,00 Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in Learning at Champions For Learning on Friday, January 29, 2021.  The project includes both an expansion and a renovation and the new Center for Innovation in Learning will provide a collaborative, multi-use space for teachers, students, parents, volunteers and community partners to support one another.

Champions for learning staff renovation projectLeading the renovation kickoff ceremony were several members of Champions For Learning’s Board of Directors, including Barbara Melvin, Dr. Bruce Mousa, Chuck Carlsen, Stephanie Lucarelli and Susan McManus.

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.

Aligning with the Davelers’ life experiences, the Center will have a heightened focus on developing the entrepreneurial spirt 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. The Frank and Ellen Daveler Center For Innovation in Learning is scheduled to be complete by Spring 2021.

Mr. Frank Daveler, Champions for Learning's Center for Innovation in Learning

Frank Daveler embodied the spirit of innovation, not just in his decades-long career, but in his devotion to uplifting the next generations of entrepreneurs.  Believing in the power of curiosity and a love for learning, Frank was honored to facilitate countless students’ ambitions as they pursued their own success through opportunities otherwise inaccessible.

The new Frank and Ellen Daveler Center for Innovation in Learning will expand the capacity and opportunities for Champions For Learning to support collaboration and innovation with teachers, students, parents, volunteers and community partners,” explained Susan McManus, President & CEO, Champions For Learning.  “The expansion and renovation of the remainder of the first floor will provide much needed space, technology and enhanced efficiency and will illustrate the entrepreneurial spirit that the Davelers valued.”

In addition, Mr. Daveler will be honored at this year’s Celebration of Champions event, a virtual celebration honoring those who exemplify what it means to make a commitment to our students and their futures through mentoring, leadership, collaboration and community involvement with educators and students. Individuals may register to watch the virtual experience and participate in the online auction at no cost. To register, visit https://championsforlearning.org/celebration-of-champions/.

About Champions For Learning™
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. Become a Champion for Learning and visit ChampionsForLearning.org.

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Champions For Learning Reveals 2020-2021 Celebration of Champions Honorees

PRESS RELEASE

(February 01, 2021 – Naples, FL) Champions For Learning is proud to announce their 2020-2021 Celebration of Champions honorees.

The honorees are being recognized at the Celebration of Champions virtual experience on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 6:00pm. These individuals will be honored for their impact on the lives of students through mentoring, leadership, collaboration and community involvement with educators or students. The honored Champions exemplify what it means to make a commitment to our students and their futures.

Celebration of ChampionsThe 2020-2021 Celebration of Champions honorees are: Frank Daveler, Lynn Davidson, Beverly Feagin, Kiara Gonzalez-Duran, Yadira Vintimilla, as well as this year’s Heart of the Apple recipient, Nany Potter. To learn more about the 2020-2021 Champions, please visit: championsforlearning.org/featured-champions/meet-the-champions.

“We look forward to sharing the stories of this year’s Champions and the impact they have made in our community,” says Susan McManus, President of Champions For Learning. ”The Celebration of Champions honorees truly exemplify how our community comes together to make a difference in the lives of students and their families.”

Proceeds will ensure Champions For Learning student programs will continue to help change lives for generations to come through College & Career Readiness programs and scholarships.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors:
Presenting sponsor: Florida Gulf Coast University

Major sponsors: Karen & William Lutz, Naples Daily News, Naples Illustrated, Stock Development and Suncoast Credit Union.

Individuals may register to watch the virtual experience and participate in the online auction at no cost. To register, simply go to championsforlearning.org/celebration-of-champions. Virtual watch party sponsorships are also available. For more information, please contact Jason Kurek at 239-643-4755 or JKurek@ChampionsForLearning.org.

About Champions For Learning™
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. Become a Champion for Learning and visit ChampionsForLearning.org.

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Tom Gamber: Star of Giving Recipient

After serving twenty-five years in the Navy and teaching for five years In San Jose, California, Tom Gamber decided to move to Naples, Florida in 2000, At this time, he started to repair and teach the community about computers.

With his passion for computers and a little help from his friends at Greater Naples Leadership, Tom learned about Champions For Learning ten years ago.

At first, he started by donating computers to a few students who needed them for school but realized many more students had the same need.

In total, Tom has donated over 142 refurbished computers to Champions For Learning and has restored all 38 student lab computers to Windows 10, all through his partnership with Microsoft.

“This work for me is so important because I know that these computers are going to students who need them, if I can help even one student in his studies, I know that I have made a difference,” said Tom.

He hasn’t stopped there; Tom has also mentored students for the last eight years. “For me mentoring is exciting and I feel like I learn just as much as the students do. My favorite part about mentoring is receiving the student’s perspective on today’s issues,” said Tom.

Tom has been mentoring much longer than his time in Naples, “all teachers are mentors, as a high school teacher in San Jose, teaching inner-city students, I had to be that mentor for them,” said Tom.

During his time as a teacher, Tom built more than forty computers for students to have a place to do their homework or to just come in and play games. Later, he taught the same students how to build computers from scratch that they could take home.

“If I can teach the students I mentor anything it is that there are three stages in life; the first is learning, the second is earning, and the third is returning,” said Tom. He hopes to instill a passion for giving back to the community in his students.

As for being awarded the Star of Giving award, Tom was shocked. “I didn’t realize how big of a deal this was for students. For me, computers are my passion and I take each one as a challenge. I am proud and grateful to be a part of an organization that gives back and also invests in the future of the community,” said Tom.

The Star of Giving award was presented by Waterside Shops on behalf of Champions for Learning. The community celebrated a day of shopping at Waterside Shops on December 11th, where 10% of total sales benefited Champions For Learning!

 

To donate click here

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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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Champions For Learning Celebrates 30 Years

Champions For Learning is celebrating 30 years of creating life-changing learning experiences for every student. Our community recognition has begun with a proclamation by the City of Naples recognizing September 24th as Champions For Learning Day in collaboration with schools across Collier County.

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Champions For Learning Earns Fourth Consecutive 4-Star Rating

Champions For Learning’s (The Education Foundation of Collier County) strong financial standing and commitment to accountability and transparency has led the organization to earn a four star rating by Charity Navigator, the leading charity evaluator in America, as it celebrates its 30th year as an organization.

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Champions For Learning Announces 2019 -2020 Board of Directors

Champions For Learning is proud to announce their 2019-2020 Board of Directors as we celebrate 30 years. This group of professionals and community leaders are dedicated to creating a community that is 100% engaged in support of student success along with preparing for the next 30 years.

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Attention Class of 2020 Attend a Rising Senior Workshop!

Registration is open for the Class of 2020 to attend Champions For Learning’s Rising Senior Workshops.

These Rising Senior Workshops are provided at no cost to Collier County students and families thanks to the generous support of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and Naples Children & Education Foundation.

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Congratulations Graduates!

The 12th grade students who have accomplished their goals in Champions For Learning programs were celebrated in a Countdown to Cap and Gown Celebration, presented by BMO Harris Bank, on April 11th at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club.

More than 450 people—board members, school staff, donors, volunteers, mentors, parents, and alumni joined to celebrate the 95 seniors representing 11 high schools participating in the Take Stock in Children and College and Career Preparation programs of Champions For Learning.

To-date, the senior class (95 students), has accomplished the following

  • 220 college acceptances
  • 9600+ community service hours
  • And, to date, earned 104 scholarships totaling just over $3.4 million dollars

The Champions For Learning Class of 2019 was named in honor of Claudine Leger-Wetzel for her leadership and commitment to the mission of Champions For Learning which has spanned almost 14 years and represents her personal dedication and passion for education, along with the her professional role with Stock Development sharing their commitment to education.

The student program support is generously provided by many donors and in particular, thank you for the incredible generosity from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Take Stock In Children Foundation, Florida Prepaid Foundation, Naples Children and Education Foundation, Suncoast Credit Union, and the School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program through the State of Florida and Consortium of Florida Education Foundations.

In addition to BMO Harris Bank as presenting sponsor, these sponsors also helped to make the evening celebration possible:  AT&T, Gulfshore Insurance, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, and Naples Daily News.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to help Champions For Learning earn matching scholarship dollars for next year’s class, or you would like to get involved as a mentor, please contact Champions For Learning at 643-4755.

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