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Guadalupe Center raises expectations, support at Elevate

Six Guadalupe Center kids perform during Elevate special event

Hundreds of community, business and philanthropic leaders rose up in support of Guadalupe Center at Elevate Endless Possibilities, the nonprofit’s signature fundraising gala.

Held Jan. 19 at The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón, Elevate featured dinner, cocktails, performances by children and professional singers, passionate student speeches and a spirited live auction that featured exclusive experiences, culinary masterpieces, top-shelf wines, spectacular sightseeing excursions and more. The gala concluded with the highly anticipated Jump Up for Education, an interactive call to action that allows attendees to pledge donations and jump up in support of Guadalupe Center.

“Our guests elevated our gala by demonstrating their unwavering support for Guadalupe Center and our goal of using education to create a cycle of prosperity,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Education is changing the trajectory of children’s lives in Immokalee, as well as families and the entire community.”

Elevate, chaired by Debbie and Bill Toler, raised more than $1.4 million to support three programs: the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program and college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program.

Immokalee High School Senior Nallely Segura delivered an emotional speech about picking tomatoes side-by-side with her parents each summer, struggling just to make ends meet. The aspiring doctor recognizes that education offers the best chance at a brighter future.

“It is the key to freeing myself from the chains of poverty,” she said.

Fellow Immokalee High Senior Widme Victorin delivered a speech of his own to a virtual audience, connecting with supporters near and far. Victorin’s mother passed away in 2020, and he has been channeling

that emotional experience to become the best version of himself. He started playing basketball during his junior year, learning that not everything comes easy.

“You’re not going to get everything you want in your life, so you have to work with what you have and improve your situation,” he said.

Guadalupe Center aims to create endless possibilities for students in Immokalee, and a successful signature fundraising gala helps fuel programs that serve more than 1,750 students annually.

Elevate’s presenting sponsor was Moorings Park Grande Lake, a project by London Bay Development Group. Additional sponsors included Seminole Casino Hotel; Toler Foundation; Waterside Shops; Preferred Travel of Naples; Merrill; The Cenname Team Private Wealth Management; LCEC; Dee & Associates, CPAs; Carter; Florida Weekly; Gulfshore Life and NABOR.

About Guadalupe Center

Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven nonprofit organization with proven success in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education, as well as fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. Established in 1984, Guadalupe Center is a premier, education-focused organization that delivers outstanding results: 95% of students in the nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program meet or exceed kindergarten readiness standards; 100% of students in the After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment Program demonstrate significant gains in reading and math; and 100% of seniors in the college-preparatory Tutor Corps Program graduate from high school and are accepted into college, with more than 94% ultimately earning a college degree. With a mission to break the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center serves more than 1,750 students annually and is generously supported by private donors, philanthropic organizations and community partners. For more information, please visit GuadalupeCenter.org or call 239-657-7711.

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