(239) 643-4755
info@championsforlearning.org

Blog

Classroom grant portal helps teachers with school supplies for innovative projects

Rashaad Vann, Fox 4 Southwest Florida

On average, $750 was spent on school supplies by teachers last year.

Historically, it’s the highest amount ever spent according to the Adopt-A-Classroom website.

When you think about things that you want for the classroom, there are things we were looking for even yesterday that Amazon currently doesn’t have,” Dr. Cindy Gomez, Collier County Public Schools District TSA said. “So we have to be creative.”

Dr. Gomez talks about the challenges teachers face when trying to come by school supplies.

“Teachers have the ability to say, ‘well I’m going to get creative. This is the way I still can make it happen,’” Gomez said. “But I need A B and C.”

Teachers are able to get grants for supplies to create innovative projects and more for students with the help of the Classroom Grant Opportunity portal held by Champions For Learning.

“They can write that grant up to $2,000 and say ‘this is what I want to do, and this is how many students that it’s going to reach.’” Gomez said.

“It is also an incredible opportunity for our community to get to know our teachers,” Amy Snyder, Director of Educators Programs for Champions For Learning said.

Snyder said residents are able to see what teachers may need and how they can help out.

“The supplies needed to do a school garden and someone who’s excited about gardens is going to say, ‘hey I’m going to get on that,’” Snyder said. “’I’m going to make sure that the school can have this opportunity.’”

“It’s a great way for teachers to reach lots of students in a variety of ways,” Gomez said.

The classroom grant portal is open to the community, anyone is able to donate and see a list of classroom grant requests.

Read more

Naples Florida Weekly: Two Collier high school students selected as 2022 Student Leaders

In Collier County, fewer than 50% of residents aged 24-65 have earned a twoyear degree or higher, according to the Florida College Access Network. Without access to career skills-building opportunities like the Student Leaders program, many young people may be left behind from a fast-changing job market, leading to higher rates of youth unemployment. Along with the Student Leaders program, Bank of America is connecting more than five teens and young adults to paid jobs and internships across Southwest Florida with Boys and Girls Clubs of Lee County and The Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.

The Class of 2022 Southwest Florida Bank of America Student Leaders are:

Allyson Horst: A senior at Barron Collier High School, Allyson founded the Health and Humanity Club at her school to help address poverty and homelessness by volunteering and partnering with local organizations. She aspires to expand the club to schools within Collier County so the rising generation can be educated on the struggles those with limited means face in their community. She is also involved with Grace Place for Children & Families, Meals of Hope, and her school’s student council.

Alfa Vergara-Nunez: A senior at Naples High School, is dedicated to giving back to her Hispanic community. As a minority with non-English speaking parents, she attended New Horizons, an organization providing after-school tutoring, mentoring and career guidance from kindergarten to eighth grade. Years later, she is giving back as a New Horizons volunteer helping their students with homework and overcoming language barriers so they can thrive.

The Southwest Florida-based Student Leaders are participating in programming that includes a collaborative project with Champions for Learning to create new content for the College and Career Toolkit as well as the classroom grant portals. As high school students, their input and recommendations are helping to shape the annual program plans.

Read more

Lely High School’s Scholar Bowl Team Funded by Classroom Grant

If you aren’t familiar with Scholar Bowl, imagine a large group of students that are working to answer questions covering anything from History, Science, Art, even current events. Students that participate in Scholar Bowl are very well-rounded and prepare by studying for these difficult concept questions.

Aaron Chambers, Social Studies teacher at Lely High, gathered 40 of the brightest students on campus and entered as a team for this past years Scholar Bowl. To be successful, the team needed study materials to help them prepare for the competition.

To meet the need of his students, Chambers applied for a Champions for Learning Classroom Grant and received funds donated from Jeff & Ida Margolis, that allowed him to purchase the necessary items. Chambers shared, “We have the framework in place and have been recruiting the right kids to make up for our deficiencies this past season. Having the student guides should go a long way in helping prepare the students to complete in our next season”.

From the community support of the donation, the Lely High team came in 4th in the region. This is a wonderful accomplishment for the students and an encouraging reminder that hard work pays off.

The outcome of this classroom grant is a great reminder to students and members of Collier County how the impact of one can change the lives of many.

Collier County teachers! The classroom grants portal is now open for submissions. You can apply for a grant here.

All grants will be made public for community based funding for the 2022-2023 school year starting on July 19th.

In the meantime, support classroom grants in Collier County by purchasing a Support Education license plate. When a Florida resident purchases or renews their Support Education specialty tag, $20 goes directly back to support schools, teachers and students in the county where the tag is registered.  In Collier County, Champions For Learning, The Education Foundation of Collier County, invests 100% of those proceeds into classroom grants.

Lindsay Lydon is a graduate of Champions For Learning’s Take Stock in Children mentoring and scholarship program. She is currently a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University studying marketing and advertising and is interning with Champions For Learning this summer.

Read more

Naples High School Special Needs Students Practice Cooking Funded by Classroom Grant

Many of us take our independence for granted and don’t realize that simple tasks may be challenges for others. In our community, students with learning or behavioral disabilities are assigned to special education classrooms where devoted teachers work with transition students on skills to help them build real world knowledge.

Naples High School teachers Nicole Rennie, Scott Barham, and Jen Szcepkowski applied for a Champions For Learning Classroom Grant to fund a fun and engaging classroom activity for their special needs students. Three 12th grade classes were provided cooking supplies provided by The Poinciana Civic Association, Brad & Phyllis Estes, Michael Mitchell, and Margaret Carlson fund.

The cooking activities allowed their students to follow directions, collecting the items by making a shopping list and preparing the recipe. Items included cooking tacos, pancakes, eggs and toast, baked goods, spaghetti with garlic bread and many more. “Our students love doing anything with food because at the end they get to enjoy whatever they cooked. It also provides a time for us to practice our manners and social skills”, stated Rennie.

The hands-on approach to learning is very engaging and will be a memorable skill for these students.

Collier County teachers! The classroom grants portal is now open for submissions. You can apply for a grant here.

All grants will be made public for community funding starting on July 19th.

In the meantime, support classroom grants in Collier County by purchasing a Support Education license plate. When a Florida resident purchases or renews their Support Education specialty tag, $20 goes directly back to support schools, teachers and students in the county where the tag is registered.  In Collier County, Champions For Learning, The Education Foundation of Collier County, invests 100% of those proceeds into classroom grants.

Lindsay Lydon is a graduate of Champions For Learning’s Take Stock in Children mentoring and scholarship program. She is currently a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University studying marketing and advertising and is interning with Champions For Learning this summer.

Read more

Bikes for Tykes Provides for Recent Champions For Learning Graduates

Recent Champions For Learning graduates will not have to worry about how they will get around their college campus in the fall thanks to Bikes for Tykes. The organization provided over 30 refurbished bikes for recent graduates of Champions For Learning’s scholarship and mentoring program on Friday.

Bikes have become a necessity for most college students in Florida. With college campuses being so wide-spread, having a way of transportation is crucial. Many students will not have a car while in college, making a bike their only form of transportation.

“Being able to transport myself from class to class every morning is extremely important, especially so I’m not late,” said Isabella Viquez, Champions For Learning 2022 graduate. “I currently don’t have a car or anything and I am moving to a different city away from family. So it’s really important to be able to transport myself around the cities and be able to know exactly it is where I am living and the area around me.”

For many soon-to-be college students without a car, their next and only option would be to walk. When asked what his backup plan would be if he did not receive a bike today, Manuel Castro, Champions For Learning 2022 graduate, said, “I probably would’ve walked for my first semester which is pretty far. My business class is almost 20 minutes away from my dorm.”

This is the second year Bikes for Tykes has partnered with Champions For Learning to give away bikes to high school graduates.  Bikes for Tykes has been busy collecting used bikes, refurbishing them and then storing those bikes for students.

“We work very closely with Champions For Learning to see how many they need. How many are boys and how many are girls. Then we go back to see what we have in stock. As we get them in, we set them aside,” said John Whipple, director at Bikes for Tykes.

Whipple says on top of giving away bikes today, he was also able to teach some students how to ride a bike.

“It’s one thing to work in the shop and fix the tires and fix the various things that go wrong with a bike, but to be here and provide that bike that you fixed and see that smile on their face. It is just amazing,” Dave Pascale, Vice President, Bikes for Tykes.

Bikes for Tykes also provided helmets for every student who received a bike today. In order to do provide helmets, the Bikes for Tykes staff became certified to fit students for the correct helmet.

Champions works hard to always support the success of our students and knows that these new bikes will be an essential piece of their college success.

Read more

Kendra Scott Gives Back to Champions For Learning

The popular and adored jewelry store, Kendra Scott, is supporting teachers and students within Collier County through a special event benefitting Champions For Learning.

Saturday, June 25th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 20% of the proceeds made at the Kendra Scott store located at Waterside Shops will go towards supporting Champions For Learning.

This initiative is part of the Kendra Gives Back program. Taking the fashion world by storm, Kendra Scott uses her fame and fortune for a good cause as much as she can. The program allows community members to host in-store events for causes and organizations that work to improve health & wellness, education & entrepreneurship, and empowerment.

In addition to the in-store event, Kendra Scott Gives Back will also take place online.

Anytime from June 25th-June26th, when you purchase from the Kendra Scott website using code GIVEBACK-CBAOJ 20% of your purchase will go towards student and educator programs at Champions For Learning.

This is a great way to purchase some beautiful items for yourself and others for a great cause.

Support Champions For Learning at the Kendra Gives Back event, we hope to see you on Saturday, June 25th. Kendra Scott is located at Waterside Shops, 5485 Tamiami Trail, between Sunglass Hut and White House/Black Market.

 

 

Read more

With Gratitude: Alan Richard Korest Sr.

Our entire community is so grateful for having had Alan Korest as a champion for teachers, children, and their learning in Collier County.

His unwavering curiosity fueled his limitless desire to learn and inspired him to set that example for generations of children and families who will thrive into the future.

Alan’s legacy of leadership around building a culture rooted in learning was recognized in 2013-14 when he became a Heart of the Apple recipient through Champions For Learning.

Click here to read his full obituary and contributions of a life well-lived.

Read more

Highlands Elementary Incorporates Fun Ways to Learn Through a Classroom Grant

Highlands Elementary School’s science teacher Mara Shaffer recognized the learning approach her students needed and this past July, applied for a Champions For Learning Classroom Grant. Shaffer wanted a way to “incorporate fun, instructional videos throughout the curriculum” and requested a one-year subscription service from Brain Pop and Flocabulary for her curriculum.

As students continue to learn through tablets and other devices, teachers are turning toward supplemental instruction videos which helps visual learners engage in a learning approach that benefits them.

Beverly Feagin, a committed member of our Champions community, funded this grant and supported Shaffer’s request. “Giving to Classroom Grants is a wonderful way to show appreciation to our teachers and to help them create innovative learning experiences. My family was a big supporter of education and I can’t think of a better way to carry on that legacy. It’s a wonderful feeling being able to contribute in any way possible,” said Feagin.

These services are professional educational websites that provide informational videos for students K-12 to help them learn and memorize classroom content. Shaffer wanted to benefit her classes and knew these videos would allow her students to “be more engaged throughout the lesson and will use the mnemonic strategy to remember key concepts being taught across the curriculum”.

The subscriptions purchased through the grant were used between multiple classes covering language arts, science, and social studies lessons. Because of this Classroom Grant, elementary students were able to learn in a fun and interactive way to help them remember class material. This is just one example of how a Classroom Grant can impact students in Collier County.

Collier County teachers! The classroom grants portal is now open for submissions. You can apply for a grant here.

All grants will be made public for community funding starting on July 19th.

In the meantime, support classroom grants in Collier County by purchasing a Support Education license plate. When a Florida resident purchases or renews their Support Education specialty tag, $20 goes directly back to support schools, teachers and students in the county where the tag is registered.  In Collier County, Champions For Learning, The Education Foundation of Collier County, invests 100% of those proceeds into classroom grants.

Lindsay Lydon is a graduate of Champions For Learning’s Take Stock in Children mentoring and scholarship program. She is currently a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University studying marketing and advertising and is interning with Champions For Learning this summer.

Read more

Lely High School’s Theatre Program Returns Thanks to a Classroom Grant

After a 15 year pause for Lely High School’s theatre program, they recently performed Mother Goosed, made possible in part by the investment of the Michael J. Searcy Family through the Champions For Learning Classroom Grant program.

Dr. Cynthia Gomez teaches Language Arts and Theatre at Lely High and wanted her students to be able to experience theatre in an authentic and memorable way. The $500 donation enabled Dr. Gomez to purchase supplies for her students, including stage materials, make-up kits, and scripts, allowing students to organize, plan, and produce a performance that will not be soon forgotten.

The materials purchased allowed the students to experience a true performance, including set designs, make-up, and costuming.  Gomez says hosting and performing the show has “reignited a passion for theatre among our students”.

“These students will learn things that will push them out of their comfort zones and stretch their character. They will learn that the sky is the limit, and with the right words- they can become whomever they choose to be,” shared Gomez.

Our Collier County community has the opportunity to change the lives of students in many ways. The students and staff at Lely High will never forget the impact the Searcy family’s donation had on them. This one donation has changed the lives of many students. Champions For Learning believes in the power of education and is proud to see the impact one person can make for a whole community.

Collier County teachers! The classroom grants portal is now open for submissions. You can apply for a grant here.

All grants will be made public for community based funding for the 2022-2023 school year starting on July 19th.

In the meantime, support classroom grants in Collier County by purchasing a Support Education license plate. When a Florida resident purchases or renews their Support Education specialty tag, $20 goes directly back to support schools, teachers and students in the county where the tag is registered.  In Collier County, Champions For Learning, The Education Foundation of Collier County, invests 100% of those proceeds into classroom grants.

Lindsay Lydon is a graduate of Champions For Learning’s Take Stock in Children mentoring and scholarship program. She is currently a junior at Florida Gulf Coast University studying marketing and advertising and is interning with Champions For Learning this summer.

Read more

A Year of Student Success Thanks to Our Donors

As another school year comes to an end, Champions For Learning is in awe of all the amazing things our students have accomplished. However, none of these accomplishments would have been possible if it weren’t for the generosity and support of our donors and sponsors.

This year alone, 47 eighth graders were inducted into our four-year mentoring program, Take Stock In Children. Graduates of this program earn a 2-year scholarship to a Florida state college or technical school.

“There is so much value in Champions For Learning and Take Stock In Children that got me through a lot of struggles,” said Watson Marcelin, a graduate from the Champions For Learning Take Stock In Children. “The program got me prepared in every facet to make sure I was ready for college, and then didn’t let go of my hand but made sure I completed college successfully.”

Champions For Learning is also celebrating the graduation of 82 seniors from this years College & Career Prep program. This program provides in-person support for students in financial aid, career exploration, goal-setting and self-advocacy. Collectively, these 82 students received over 250 college acceptances!

“Being a first-generation student was difficult enough but figuring out everything I needed to know to prepare for college seemed impossible without the Champions For Learning community,” said Brianna Barrantes, a 2022 graduate from Champions For Learning’s College & Career Prep program. “Through Champions, I learned to make a resume, apply for a job, study for the SAT, write a personal statement, apply for financial aid, and so much more.”

It is because people within our Collier County community believe in the importance of education, that many students’ lives are forever changed.

Help every student develop a goal for their future, an educational pathway and a financial plan to accomplish their dreams!

You can give to Champions For Learning in various ways. Click here to learn more and to give.

Read more