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Student Resources

Are You Ready For Be Future Ready Day?

On Saturday, March 25, 2023, students in Collier County will have the unique opportunity to attend Be Future Read Day at Coastland Center Mall hosted by Future Ready Collier.

This event will allow students an opportunity to receive an instant admissions decision to a local college, be able to start and complete their FAFSA, and can be the first to apply to the JumpStart scholarship. All in one afternoon!

This event is for students that may want to go to college, haven’t made college plans yet, or are realizing they want to seek a certification or degree.

Be Future Ready Day was designed as an idea through Future Ready Collier to help high school seniors in Collier County be ready for life after high school.

Champions For Learning is proudly supporting Future Ready Collier to help coordinate this day to help the class of 2023 no matter their future plans.

Champions For Learning will be tabling at the event to promote the JumpStart Scholarship to provide Collier County students an opportunity to earn extra financial assistance.

To support Future Ready Collier, Champions For Learning volunteers and staff will be on site to assist students and families in completing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications.

Future Ready Collier is inviting local colleges Florida Gulf Coast University, Keiser University, Florida SouthWestern State College, and Lorenzo Walker Technical for instant admissions decisions and admission fee waivers for students. This means that a student that brings their transcript, ACT/SAT, and CCPS student device could get their decision right there, a great move in the right direction for these students.

Future Ready Collier volunteers will be on site to help student seniors complete their FAFSA.

This is an important step to ensure students have the funding they need to pay for what degree or certification they are seeking.

The JumpStart scholarship will open that day at 11 am which totals 30-credit hours (a full year at a state college). This scholarship will be a first come first serve priority. No essay required.

Students will be asked to bring their FSA ID, social security numbers, 2021 Federal Income Tax Returns, CCPS laptop, and high school transcript.

We are so excited to help get Collier County students ready for their future!

Click here to access the flyer for more information Be Future Ready Day

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Day of Service

During Spring Break, Champions For Learning hosted Day of Service, a dedicated day to give students the opportunity to volunteer out in the community. This unique opportunity is another example of how Champions For Learning prepares students for their future.

Thanks to the C’MON Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples and our own volunteer program managers, students gained a better understanding of what organizations look for in their volunteers and how the actions of others create positive impact on non-profits all across Collier County.

After lunch, students traveled to the Naples Therapeutic Riding Center (NTRC), to see firsthand how volunteers can serve our community. They learned how volunteers are selected and trained to work alongside the horses and riders at NTRC. All of the students were wowed by the experience and some who had never seen a horse up close gained a better understanding of the important role they play in helping others.

Juliana, a sophomore attending Lely high school shared, “My favorite part of today was petting the horses. I feel that it is very important to give back to our community due to how much the community gives to us. It’s really important for me to give back to my community knowing that they give constant support to me, my family, friends, and community members.”

In the afternoon, students visited Meals of Hope where they learned what it takes every day to deliver meals to people who need them most in our community. They were so moved by what they learned the group of 38 students packed 20,520 meals in two hours, a new record for Meals of Hope! In twenty-four hours that followed the visit, those meals were distributed throughout areas of Collier County.

Julia, a freshman attending Gulf Coast high school shared, “My favorite part of today was helping package meals for Meals of Hope for the Southwest Florida community. It felt really great working with others to get the project done.”

She continued, “Volunteering is important to me because it is helping me towards college and helping others. I like helping others and it makes me feel good to know I am making a difference.”

Thanks to our community partners and supporters, our students made a big difference during Day of Service. And we aren’t done yet!

April 29th Champions For Learning will be working with Meals of Hope again this time with a team motivated to continue giving back! More information about future volunteer opportunities will be available soon.

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“It’s Life Changing For These Families, Especially in Rural Areas.”

Collier County is home to eight high schools with thousands of seniors eager to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and excited to hear back on college acceptances. There are many community resources in Collier County, including Champions For Learning that offer FAFSA assistance, but that is not the case for other communities.

Recently, the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations received a rural county grant through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help bring support and assistance through peer-matching, to help this issue.

Through this grant, Glades County became the receiving rural county and Champions For Learning was partnered as the peer match through the Consortium to offer support.

Together, Champions For Learning and Glades Education Foundation hosted a FAFSA completion event where Jessica Manchette, Champions For Learning’s Chief Programs Officer, went to Moore Haven Middle-High School to assist the senior class.

“When it came to light that Glades wanted to focus specifically on helping their students get their FAFSA completed, that is something that is close to both the mission of Champions For Learning as an organization and to me personally,” shared Jessica. “We don’t limit our resources to just the students we serve here in Collier County. Our best practice is that we share opportunities and resources openly and widely at no cost to students and families as well as our community partners across the state.”

Glades County is home to one high school with less than one hundred seniors enrolled. With more than half of seniors in attendance, 30 completed their FAFSA and plan to pursue higher education this fall. Champions For Learning is proud to support neighboring communities with these events, this is an amazing accomplishment.

Manchette shared just how tailored this event was towards Glades County. “We walked the student’s question-by-question to fill out the FAFSA. The Education Foundation of Glades County also helped to provide translators because we had many parents that did not speak English.”

“After completing the FAFSA, students and families can instantly see what Pell grant they qualify for. Students of high-economic need have a higher chance of qualifying for needs-based opportunites, like the Federal Pell grant,” said Manchette.

More than half of the students at Moore Haven Middle-High School demonstrate economic need and qualify for a needs-based grant. Completing the FAFSA is very important for these seniors and is one of the first steps in them reaching their post-secondary and career goals.

Manchette shared, “The biggest barrier for many families is the cost of what college truly is. If we can remove that cost prohibitive barrier – whether that means getting a student to a technical college, a state college, or even a state university, we’re enabling them to get that certification. That degree will help them earn a very solid living wage, right here in our community.”

“It’s life changing for these families, especially in these rural areas. These kids do not have as many opportunities. Being able to bring this opportunity to them — to get a solid education and really pursue a meaningful career – is so incredibly rewarding.”

This FAFSA completion event has gifted Glades counselors, with knowledge that they will now be able to share with the countless seniors that will graduate from Moore Haven in future years.

Champions For Learning is proud to be a supporter for education and to fulfill our vision to offer a community one-hundred percent engaged in support of student success. Champions For Learning is determined to be a catalyst for change, to reach all high school seniors and offer assistance so students can complete the FAFSA with as much assistance as needed.

The FAFSA can be a difficult application to complete, especially for students completing it for the first time. As the Education Foundation in Collier County, Champions For Learning serves as a community to inform, assist, and celebrate students and their achievements in preparing them for college and career success.

Are you a student that needs assistance in completing your FAFSA? Visit our website for step-by-step instructions on how to complete the FAFSA.

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Preparing Students for Success through Career Exploration Labs

Students involved in Champions For Learning programming are getting a better look at what their future career could look like. For two weeks, successful business men and women within Collier County have taken the time to visit Champions For Learning and speak with students. Topics range from how they began their career, to what they studied in college to what students should be doing today to prepare for a future career.

Alan is a student within Champions For Learning and has aspirations to study biotechnology. He attended the Business and Entrepreneurship lab because he feels that business is used everywhere, even in the medical field.

“I wanted to learn more about the career path process and how I can develop skills that can help me advance towards my preferred career,” said Alan.

Other session that have been available are Communications, Information Systems, Engineering, Manufacturing, Technology, Business, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.

“I think that when I was younger and starting my entrepreneurship journey, there were not a lot of resources like this. This is a great resources and I love to be a part of the development of young minds. I think that’s a really cool thing,” said Rafael Feliciano, a guest speaker at the Business and Entrepreneurship session.

Tasheekia Harris is an entrepreneur who founded her own organization, Crowning Daughters for Success. Her mission is to inspire and enhance the diverse lifestyle of young girls and women. She dedicated her time to come and speak to students about starting a business and what that looked like for her.

“I believe if we build strong, children, we will not need to repair broken men. That quote is from Fedrick Douglas. This is the building process. We are in the building process together and this was one brick that I believe will make a huge difference in how our young people think, how they act, and how they pursue their dreams,” said Harris.

Each session has been facilitated by a volunteer. These moderators have helped keep the session on track making sure students get the most out of each.

Career Exploration labs continue with session regarding Health Sciences, Technology, and Human Services.

If helping students prepare for a future career sounds interesting to you, join us for a Champions 101. These are information sessions that serve as an introduction to who we are, what we do, and how to help.

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Champions For Learning to Name Five Suncoast Credit Union Scholars in 2023

The Suncoast Credit Union Foundation is partnering with Champions For Learning to offer 5 of $2,000 scholarship awards to high school graduates in the Class of 2023. This year’s  high school graduates in Suncoast Credit Union’s 21-county service territory have the opportunity to apply for financial support to continue their education, thanks to a $116,000 investment in scholarships by the Tampa-based credit union’s Foundation.

Applications will be open now through February 11, 2022 and are available by clicking here.

This year’s Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program represents a continued philosophy of the foundation to support education initiatives and the well-being and potential of children.  Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has contributed more than $33 million including more than $2.4 million in scholarships.

“We believe the best way we can build better communities is by investing in education and health-related initiatives for children,” said Cindy Helton, recently retired Executive Director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.  “Through the Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program, we have the opportunity to invest in individual human potential, which is particularly rewarding.”

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Champions For Learning Celebrates Lely High for FAFSA Completion

As the cost of college continues to increase, financial aid becomes ever more important. While many factors are involved in the decision to attend college, a strong correlation exists between FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, completion and college enrollment. A completed FAFSA form opens the door for need and merit aid to be award from the Federal, State, and Institutional level. In fact, over 90% of all private scholarships require the FAFSA to be completed.

This year, Champions For Learning received funding from the Florida Lottery through the “Lighting the Way to A Bright Future” program which funds standout projects that support students and families in understanding and taking the next steps to successful postsecondary education. Champions used this extra funding to promote FAFSA completion, including a district-wide competition. After keeping a close eye on FAFSA completion rates by high school, Lely High was deemed the winner, having increased FAFSA completion over 11% from last year.

To celebrate, Champions For Learning will be providing all 140 Lely High seniors who have completed the FAFSA with a pizza party and trophy on Thursday, May 5th at 1:00pm in the Lely High cafeteria. “This is a huge accomplishment and such a testament to the dedication of the school counseling team’s dedication to helping students prepare for life after high school”, said Jessica Manchette, Chief Information Officer of Champions For Learning.

Many of these students are currently eligible to receive a Jump Start scholarship this year through Champions For Learning.

“The Jump Start scholarship will provide over 100 eligible students with 30 credit hours, enabling them to enroll in a Florida technical program, state college or state university for one year,” said Susan McManus, President & CEO of Champions For Learning, “helping them obtain the credentials and degrees they need to enter our workforce.”

The Jump Start application is now open. Students and families can learn more and begin the application process by visiting the Jump Start webpage.

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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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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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Virtual Rising Senior Workshops


Champions For Learning Invites Class of 2021 to attend Virtual Rising Senior Workshops

Registration is open for the Class of 2021 to join in for Champions For Learning’s Virtual Rising Senior Workshops.

As part of an ongoing goal to ensure all Collier County students are equipped and prepared for their future learning and career goals, Champions For Learning offers a variety of community-based college and career readiness resources to the entire community in support of our collective goals through Future Ready Collier.

This series of Rising Senior Workshops are provided at no cost to students and families thanks to the generous support of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Naples Children & Education Foundation, Naples Daily News, and the School District Education Foundation Matching Grant Program through the State of Florida and Consortium of Florida Education Foundations. Collier County rising seniors (Class of 2021) and their parents will receive information by local experts about the college application process, financial aid, and scholarship resources to help prepare them for post high school education.

All sessions will be held virtually, pre-registration is required.  To register for one or more of the workshops visit ChampionsForLearning.org/Resources. Each webinar will be recorded and will be available on-demand for those unable to attend.

The dates and descriptions of the workshops are listed below.

  • Application Process

This workshop is designed to demystify the college admissions process.  Topics covered will include admissions requirements and deadlines (with a focus on in-state institutions), deciding which schools to apply to, tips and resources to complete applications, and what happens after the application is submitted.

  • July 22, 2020: 9 am – 10:30 am
  • August 5, 2020: 6 pm – 7:30 pm


  • Scholarships

This workshop is designed to give students and parents a strong foundation for applying for scholarships.  We will guide families through the community scholarship application process using the Scholarship Connector.  Students and families will also learn about Florida Bright Futures and receive resources to aid them in the scholarship application process.

  • August 6, 2020: 9 am – 10:30 am
  • August 20, 2020: 6 pm – 7:30 pm


  • Financial Aid Process

This workshop is designed to walk students and families through the financial aid process.  Topics covered will include cost of college (with a focus on in-state institutions), types of financial aid, the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA), Florida state aid, institutional aid, and resource guides designed to make the financial aid process easier. 

  • July 27, 2020: 9 am – 10:30 am
  • August 10, 2020: 6 pm – 7:30 pm
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Suncoast Scholarship Recipients Announced

Champions For Learning in partnership with The Suncoast Credit Union Foundation is pleased to announce that five students in Collier County have each been awarded a $2,000 college scholarship. In total, Suncoast Federal Credit Union has awarded $116,000 in scholarships to 58 high school seniors within their 21 county service area this year.

The scholarship recipients in Collier County  are:  Yesenia Avila (Lorenzo Walker Technical High School), Sandra Gregorio-Matias (Immokalee High School), Natalia Maldonado (Gulf Coast High School), Bryan Perez (Golden Gate High School), and Cindy Velasquez (Immokalee High School.)

“We believe the best way we can build better communities is by investing in education and health-related initiatives for children,” said Cindy Helton, Executive Director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation. “Through the Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program, we have the opportunity to invest in individual human potential, which is particularly rewarding.”

This year’s Suncoast Credit Union Scholars program represents a continued philosophy of the foundation to support education initiatives and the well-being and potential of children.  Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has contributed more than $22 million including more than 600 student scholarships valued at nearly $1 million.

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