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Guadalupe Center to host 26th annual Buddy Day Feb. 17

Immokalee second graders hit the beach for fun-filled buddy activities

Volunteers are needed for Guadalupe Center’s 26th annual Buddy Day at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Hideaway Beach on Marco Island. Guadalupe Center, a nonprofit organization focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through the education of children in Immokalee, will bring 150 second grade “little buddies” out for a day of fun in the sun with their “big buddies.”

With students hailing from Pinecrest, Lake Trafford, Highlands, and Village Oaks elementary schools in Immokalee, Buddy Day is an annual day of celebration for second-grade students enrolled in Guadalupe Center’s After-School Program who have studied hard for up to three years to improve their reading and math skills. Throughout the afternoon, little and big buddies will rotate through fun, educational stations including beach exploration led by Everglades National Park at The Gulf Coast Visitor Center, a birding program with the Big Cypress National Preserve Rangers, games run by Marco Island YMCA and crafts overseen by community volunteers. Hideaway residents provide everyone with fun-filled rides on their decorated golf carts, which are always a big hit with the children. As the day wraps up, each child will receive a book and Kids 2 Camp provides stuffed animals.

“Buddy Day is a special day for our After-School Program students, and gives us an opportunity to celebrate all of their accomplishments over the past few years,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of Guadalupe Center. “Through the generosity and support of the community, we are able to provide a fun-filled day for these special second graders who have worked hard with our Guadalupe Center high school tutors and staff to improve their reading, math and English skills. This is key in breaking the cycle of poverty for children in Immokalee.”

Buddy Day is made possible thanks to volunteers and supporting organizations from the Marco Island and Naples communities who share their time and talents with these students including Hideaway Beach Club, Verona Walk, Fiddler’s Creek and many others. Generous food contributions for the day are donated by Cheney Brothers, Culligan, Fresh Point, Hideaway Beach Club and Oaks Farms.

To volunteer or take a tour, contact Kelly Hammer, Guadalupe Center’s Director of Community Engagement, at 239-657-7158 or khammer@guadalupecenter.org.  For more information about the Guadalupe Center’s educational programs, visit www.guadalupecenter.org.

About Guadalupe Center
Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven, nonprofit organization with proven results in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education and fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. With a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center is proud of the children’s accomplishments: 94% exceed kindergarten readiness measures, 100% of Tutor Corps high school seniors graduate high school and are accepted into college, and more than 90% graduated with a post-secondary degree.

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