Giving Back and the Community

During the fourth quarter, July-September, 2014, students focused on using the lessons learned from the Giving Back project to consolidate their experiences and relate it to their futures in higher education. Elizabeth Martinez and Francisco Cuevas, used the time to develop and administer a survey with the University of Florida and the Florida State University Medical School Nutrition projects to their high school peers on the football team who were using Meals of Hope food packets to build their protein intake over the summer. Elizabeth and Francisco used that experience to develop several recipes that would make the Meals of Hope packets more palatable to the players. They were motivated by the experience to start a Meals of Hope cook book. Both of these student leaders will no doubt go to college since they worked hard in their studies but feel they have learned a great deal more than their academics from participating in this project.

supreme court justiceDulce Mendosa, the class Valedictorian, spoke at the Naples Rotary Club about what she had learned from the project and how service learning would enhance her education when she left for college next year. She will join another Immokalee graduate at college, Alejandra Martinez. This spring, Alejandra was home from college to present her college travel experience to Japan and also to Washington DC where she met Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Alejandra’s talk energized the group to follow her footsteps. She demonstrated her understanding of service learning as she explained her two Giving Back goals for next year. The first was to conduct the first Meals of Hope event at her college and the other was to accept the PNC Bank’s request that she conduct financial planning workshops in the Philadelphia area for Spanish speaking single mothers.

During the fourth quarter, the project engaged, Ms. Lune Dumond to help the four student Giving Back product development teams prepare marketing and business plans for future sales. Lune took each team through the steps they needed to make their products marketable and helped find venues for them to sell the products under the title “Taste of Immokalee” when they were ready for market. Local food festivals were targeted for the fall campaign such as the Stone Crab Festival and Farm City BBQ, where students could sell their products to large groups and thus not interfere with school time. To develop a corporate strategy, the four product teams will collaborate on newly formed committees focusing on Finance, Marketing/Sales/Events, Production/Distribution and Creativity. To facilitate their work, Lune created a Taste of Immokalee web site and instituted the use of Wiggio to facilitate their work through social media. Additionally, Project Director Sinclaire Williams and Dr. Hailer prepared a proposal to the Gannett Foundation that would fund IMBIZ, a Giving Back partner, to help next year’s students market the Giving Back products using printed media.

Alejandra Martinez Lopez – College Experiences that Define Us

supreme court justiceMy first year at Arcadia University was awesome! I had the opportunity to meet Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. One of the things she mentioned was to take advantage of every great opportunity and to broaden your capabilities. My first year at Arcadia was tough because I felt a bit homesick and moving far away from home was difficult but I made sure I kept myself engaged by joining clubs such as the Latino Association, Biology/Pre-Med club, and Newman club. One of the main skills I learned during college was to prioritize. I bought a planner and wrote down exam dates and study sessions times. My hard work definitely paid off because this upcoming year I will be a Biology tutor.


financial literacyI am also in the Honors program at Arcadia University and participated in the First Annual Exhibition of Academic Success event. This event allowed me to make a presentation on Financial Literacy. Financial Literacy is something I really enjoyed learning about with the One by One leadership Foundation. And teaching students, employers, and members of organizations in Philadelphia about Financial Literacy was a great success. After I made my presentation on Financial Literacy, Phillip A. Kees, the VP Branch Manager of PNC bank approached me and asked me if I would be willing to teach single mothers about finances and credit scores. I was more than happy to help him with his request because I had previous knowledge from the meetings with the One by One leadership Foundation. So this year, I plan to start helping Mr. Kees on the weekends. And I also plan to start an annual Meals of Hope Event at Arcadia University.


tokyoSince Arcadia is known for their study abroad programs, I was very excited when I found out I was going to Tokyo, Japan during my spring semester. As a freshman in college, I was nervous about being on a 14-hour flight; all I could do was pray for a safe flight. As soon as I landed onto the Nishi-Kasai airport, I called my parents and they felt relieved. I learned how to speak and write Katakana which is one part of the Japanese writing system. I also learned that Japanese people are extremely punctual. Going to Japan made me realize that traveling the world is something that I am very interested in and I plan to do an internship with doctors in Guatemala because my major is Biology with a Pre-med concentration and a minor in Spanish and Business. I also plan to study abroad at Bond University in Sydney, Australia because they have a great Health science program.
-Alejandra Martinez Lopez -Sophomore ’17 at Arcadia University

Two Immokalee Youth Meet In College Soccer Game

It just doesn’t get any better When two home grown kids meet in a college soccer game.

Alejandro “Pelon” Mendoza, who has returned for his second year to the nationally ranked Georgia Perimeter College, met up with his buddy from Immokalee High School Al Hernandez Jr., who just started at Monroe College in Rochester, NY, for the first game of the year for both teams. Alejandro’s and GPC, came up on top with a 2-0 win.


Alejandro "Pelon" Mendoza and AJ Hernandez Jr., met recently on the soccer field.
Alejandro “Pelon” Mendoza and AJ Hernandez Jr., met recently on the soccer field.

When we started the Soccer Pit Cobras youth soccer in Immokalee eight years ago we knew that the benefits would come. Both of these young men are product of the program and Immokalee High School soccer. We have always encouraged the academics because without them there is no next step after high school. Alejandro, Al, Jesus Velazco, Pepe Guzman, Daniel Guzman, Rogelio Guzman and Eric Leon, are our ambassadors to the college scene, and we hope that our other players take note that this is not impossible. All it takes is the commitment in their school work and the persistence to want to be at the next level. I know our parents want that for their sons and daughters. It is the first time in twenty one years that two of our boys faced each, other in a college soccer match. Today, I’m on cloud nine.
-Manny Touron

Rotary and 1by1 Leadership Foundation

1by1 Leadership Foundation has been an avid supporter of the Immokalee Rotary Club. Sinclaire Williams was the past president and responsible for initiating several service projects including a District Grant for Meals of Hope. Dick Hailer recently served as secretary. He also wrote a District grant focusing on Environmental Education that supported service projects of students from Immokalee High School and Ave Maria University and ultimately helped create an Interact Club of 25 high school students. Stephen Lawson has been very active as a fundraiser for Rotary. This past year Rotary was used as the venue for launching the Giving Back project and as the four student generated food products of the project came on line, Rotary in Immokalee and Naples featured the high school student’s products at joint events with the Chamber of Commerce launching the “Taste of Immokalee’ marketing campaign.


Interact of I.H.S 166Immokalee Rotary has committed its entire membership to support the Interact Club during school year 2014-15 by mentoring the students in their service projects and featuring the student’s presentations to the Rotary at one monthly meeting a month. Marketing the Giving Back project’s Salsa, Cookies, Spices and I-Burger will be a high priority as will promoting Environmental Tourism in Immokalee through service projects throughout the year. Institutionalizing Service Learning will be a major goal in the collaborative effort of 1by1 Leadership Foundation, Immokalee Rotary and the Immokalee High School.

Cross Country Run Through the Mountains

Hugo Gijon and the Immokalee Cross Country team ended up taking 12 Immokalee High School student athletes to Montreat College in North Carolina. We spent our mornings and evenings running through the mountain trails and getting to know runners from Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and many other places.  For many of our athletes, this was the first time they had been outside the state and they have already stated that they cannot wait to go back again next year!  From the whole entire team, we would like to say thank you for investing in our team’s growth not only physically, but also mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  We could not have done this without you and we really appreciate all you do for the community!

Joslin Alberique – Developing Leadership Characteristics

Joslin Alberique - Photo Courtesy of Naples Daily News.
Joslin Alberique – Photo Courtesy of Naples Daily News.

As a native of Immokalee and coming back after a year in college to interact with high school kids, I noticed a lack of brotherhood between the players and no clear role models exhibiting leadership characteristics. A sense of fellowship is needed to be successful on and off the field. Having the players come together learn from pros, and get mentored by caring adults in Immokalee though 1 by 1 Leadership Foundation. 1 by 1 Leadership provides great opportunities for students to impact the lives of those who are willing to listen.

Joslin Alberique – 1 by 1 mentee, recent IHS graduate, former IHS football player

Argeo Cruz – Mentoring Brings Successful Lives

Argeo CruzOne of my biggest mentors as a student athlete has been my coach.

My high school coach was also my nutrition teacher. My track coach showed me the value of an education as a foundation; since I listened to my coach in practice I decided to carry that obedience to the classroom.

I believe that athletes who have mentors end up being very successful in their lives. Athletes are usually very dedicated hard working individuals; however, once an athlete gets a mentor they become a well-rounded student athlete.

Mentoring is one of the best guidance a student athlete can have: providing encouragement and support, relationships and networking that last a life time.

Argeo Cruz- 1 by 1 mentee, FGCU graduate and one of Florida’s fastest long distance runners

Elizabeth Martinez – Success Story Enhancing A Life

Elizabeth MartinezElizabeth Martinez was provided an opportunity to travel to Washington DC to participate in a seminar on service learning and  developing leadership skills so she can share her newly acquired knowledge back in Immokalee.

Elizabeth Martinez and her family have been engaged with One by One Leadership Foundation for almost ten years. Elizabeth has grown up with us and is developing into a young adult ready to change the world and that includes changing Immokalee.

This was a national seminar on service learning where she began to hone her leadership skills to better share her newly acquired knowledge back in Immokalee. The leadership there already knew about Immokalee and were taken with the natural leadership of Elizabeth.

They filmed her story to become part of their story. It is a defining moment of our journey to show others the way of giving back in a way that gives dignity to all those learning. Its nature includes for us a spiritual component that is often missing in the process of service alone.

Elizabeth is part of a new generation of Immokalee youth who have had a great education and a spiritual development that is preparing them to change the world by giving back as they learn to work with others to accomplish in service what they could not do on their own.


Patricia Lopez – Success Story

“I never thought my kids would go anywhere and have good grades, too. This program has helped all of them.” ~ Patricia Lopez, single mom

One daughter received a grant from State Farm through 1by1 to attend a service learning workshop in Washington D.C., while a younger daughter got an iPad that has boosted her reading comprehension. Martinez is impressed and grateful for the assistance, guidance and reinforcement 1by1 Leadership has provided.

Her oldest son will soon be graduating from college thanks to 1by1 Leadership.

Manny Touron – Without 1 By 1 this dream could never have happened

“Without the help and support of 1by1, this dream could never have happened.” ~ Manny Touron, Immokalee Soccer Pit Coach

Manny Touron has set up many soccer program for various ages. His hope is that he can help end the cycle of poverty that many of the students have been raised in. He finds great satisfaction in watching his athletes gain a new sense of purpose, and establish good habits for success in their future lives.

“It is all worthwhile when you see that happen.”

Luis Cartagena – Our engagement with kids can teach financial literacy

“Our engagement with kids can teach financial literacy.” ~ Luis Cartagena, VP Florida Community Bank, Immokalee

His branch bank provided a grant for Immokalee students through 1by1, but Luis Cartagena discovered charitable event participation promoted through 1by1 by bank staff benefited just as much.

It seems getting out in the community builds a sense of community among employees.

Cartegena says employees from other branches want to be a part of their engagement. He’s also hopeful to get future employees from their partnership.


Marty Quinn – We’re gonna make it bigger, better

“We’re gonna make it bigger, better and more special than it already is.”
~ Marty Quinn, Head football coach, Ave Maria University

The leader of one of the nation’s newest football programs is referring to the relationship between the university and the town of Immokalee when he calls the interaction between college and high school students “awesome” and says the mentorship project, facilitated by 1by1, is a two-way street.

Quinn shares his hopefulness as the programs continue to expand and include more students and more athletes. He’s confident the results will be great as the programs expand and more lives are changed.