Hideaway Beach hosted its 19th annual Buddy Day event. More than 120 volunteers (from Hideaway Beach, Eagle Creek, Verona Walk, Grey Oaks, and the League Club) waited eagerly to meet their little buddies, many of whom have never been away from Immokalee or had the opportunity to be at the beach.
Approximately 130 energetic Immokalee second graders, who will soon graduate from the Guadalupe After-School Program, were treated to “hands on” programs presented by the Rookery Bay Environmental Education Center, and National Park Service rangers from the Big Cypress Reserve. The majority of students were from Pinecrest and Highland Elementary Schools in Immokalee.
The day is a reward for the children who have improved their reading and math skills while in the after school program. They are tutored by Immokalee high school students from the Guadalupe Center’s Tutor Corps. The children enjoy a variety of 45 minute sessions which included acraft session where they designed their own sun visors to take home and traded tattoos with their big buddies, as well as a golf cart ride around Hideaway Beach. There was beach exploration and even a bit of ‘birding’. Prior to departure, the children thanked their big buddies through song and handmade gifts.
After the student buses departed for home, volunteers for the event enjoyed a bit of camaraderie at the home of Bill and Pat Dempsey in Hideaway Beach, where each was congratulated on a job well done.
The Guadalupe Center of Immokalee has been serving the children and families of Immokalee for more than 25 years. Their mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education. They provide early childhood education, after-school tutoring, a soup kitchen, clothing room program and more, making a real difference in the lives of Immokalee’s children. To learn more about the Guadalupe Center and its work with the people of Immokalee call 239-657-7711, or visit www.guadalupecenter.net.