Supporting Champions For Learning

Champions For Learning Alumna Gives Back With Special Challenge Gift

Champions For Learning is kicking off the end of the school year with a special challenge gift from our former student, Areli Sanjuan, who felt inspired by the care and commitment Champions For Learning provides through our Student Programs. At just 20 years old, Areli is launching this campaign with an incredible $10,000 gift to support education in Collier County, which will match your gift dollar-for-dollar up to the first $10,000 raised. With Areli’s act of generosity and kindness, your investment will go twice as far in empowering our students to achieve their future learning and career goals.

Areli knows first-hand what it is like to face barriers to higher education. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico to open their family business, Sanjuan Family Nursery, in Bonita Springs. Although their hard-working spirits and determination rubbed off on Areli, her parents could not help her navigate the complexities of college enrollment. She also realized that affording tuition would be a challenge. However, she did not let these barriers define her or limit her goals.

When Areli discovered that she would not only gain valuable knowledge, resources, and guidance through Champions For Learning’s College and Career Preparation Program but would also earn an In-Demand Careers Scholarship to mitigate the costs of post-secondary education, she eagerly applied to the program. “Champions For Learning helped me develop crucial skills in communication, resume-building, and networking that I still use to this day,” Areli said. By committing to the program, she invested in herself and her education. Weekly program workshops and lab sessions regarding college admissions, financial aid, and goal setting required both time and effort. Her parents were equally invested in the program and supported Areli throughout her journey.

After graduating from high school with her associate’s degree and completing Champions For Learning’s College and Career Preparation Program in 2021, Areli began to work at her family’s business, where she quickly paved her own path to success. While managing the supply store, she opened a separate business focusing on wholesaling operations, where she works with a variety of clients interested in purchasing items from the nursery. Although she did not finish earning her bachelor’s degree straight after high school, Areli never wavered in her belief that education is everything. She recently reconnected with Champions For Learning, who assisted her in enrolling at Florida SouthWestern State College to study finance.

As a Champions For Learning student, Areli witnessed how our staff and community worked tirelessly and seamlessly together to offer our array of Student Programs. She also knows that there are still students who struggle to make their academic dreams a reality because she had been in their place not too long ago. “Champions For Learning went out of its way to push me across the finish line,” she said. Because she experienced professional success at such a young age, she now can be that nudge for first-generation college students or those who come from households with low incomes with her own $10,000 challenge gift. Her investment in the transformative power of education will enable even more students to flourish.

Areli’s dedication to giving back to her home and the community who empowered her to reach her goals is truly inspirational. Her generosity reflects our shared belief that education is everything. Will you follow Areli’s example? Together, we can champion learning in Collier County.