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And one of the main things I have learned while in college is that anytime you have the opportunity to give back, then do it. And this idea of giving back has been introduced to me while I was with the One by One Leadership foundation as well. This semester, I had the opportunity to gather a group of friends and we helped wash 1,000 handmade bowls, for Arcadia’s annual Empty bowl benefit dinner. Although, it was extremely cold and my hands were freezing, I didn’t stop because I knew each bowl was needed in order to feed people who don’t know where their next meal will come from. Also, I am currently working with Cindy Rubino, the coordinator for the community service office at Arcadia University and every spring she takes 40 students to Immokalee and completes a service project and I’m helping her with ideas of what my community needs help with and the issue I want to address is the need for reconstruction of trailer homes in Immokalee.
By surrounding myself with great leaders from the One by One Leadership foundation, I have learned that it’s all about giving back to your community and recognizing your experience and sharing what you have learned. Also, the One by One Leadership foundation members, have introduced me to the concept of grants and how to write an outline for a grant and how to build connections. Using the skills I have learned and being able to speak to Marketing professionals such as Scott J. Sterling, and understanding different concepts of branding and how non-profit business works is a great feeling. One of the main things I have learned is that you have to be able to connect with people who are more knowledgeable about certain topics and listen to what they have to say and learn about what they have been successful in.
I met so many people, including these two young ladies, who are also leaders in their own communities. They have introduced me to several non-profit organizations in Philadelphia. And I’m building my networking connections with various organizations such as the Jewish Relief Agency, Simply equal Education, and Schools for sustainability, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I met with Alyssa Ramos-Reynoso, the founder of Schools for sustainability and she told me she will be more than happy to offer me an internship to write grants.
Several meetings were held in November by 1by1 with students and teachers to finalize plans for the Seminole Indian Museum Field Trip on November 7th. Sixteen students and two teachers joined Sinclaire Williams for a day of music, dancing, drama and Smithsonian exhibits. The museum is only 40 miles from Immokalee but until this visit none of the students and teachers had had the chance to visit the reservation. The trip kicked off the project’s effort to include culture, especially that of the Native Americans in the fabric of the project’s quest for Environmental Responsibility strategies for their hometown.
Subsequent meetings were held with a key partner, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (IFAS) Horticultural Department with the Immokalee High School staff in an effort to begin planning of the April 2015 Earth Day event around the upgrading of Ann Olesky Park as a service learning project. Yasmin Perez and Alfredo Villalobos-Perez attended the IFAS Workshop on best practices for gardening vegetables, herbs etc. in the backyard containers and proposed a partnership with IFAS Master Gardener Coordinator Isabel Way.
Dr. Hailer and Mr. Williams met several times with the IFAS Director of the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWR&EC) to finalize collaboration with the Immokalee High School students who would be paired with SWR&EC scientists for Water Quality Research and also for participation in their newly created 2+2 program with Southwest Florida University (SWFU). Subsequent meetings with SWFU faculty and their Provost and the SWR&EC Center Director, Mr. Calvin Arnold finalized the partnership for the High School.
The success the team had at Stone crab Festival led to several specialty food markets interested in selling our products. So far with Taste of Immokalee we managed to make our way in into Wynn’s Market which is located in Naples Florida after doing a phenomenal job at presenting and or promoting both of our products which include The Salsa and the Spice or Soborsito Sensacional.
On Wednesday, November the 19th, our products were sampled with catering foods that Wynn’s Market is providing which ultimately allowed for both products to be promoted that is, Wynn’s catering foods and the Taste of Immokalee’s products. The Naples press was also there to take pictures including the students whom created the products and put in all efforts into going from a one step distribution to a two step distribution.
Overall, the One by One Giving Back Project has really progressed enormously, we started off with ideas, then products, and now having our products sold in stores such as Wynn’s. All in all, we look forward to enhancing our productivity along the way, in fact perhaps allowing other stores such as Oaks, and Wholefoods to hear our presentation in hopes of having our products sold there as well.