Guadalupe Center’s Sandy Vasey, Dawn Montecalvo and student speaker Omar Jaimes with Mayor Bill Barnett during the 2018 Signature Event, “Welcome Aboard.” (Submitted photo)[/caption] NAPLES – Guadalupe Center, a nonprofit organization focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, has raised $1.3 million during its “Welcome Aboard” 2018 Signature Event, held Jan. 17 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. Proceeds from the annual signature event directly benefit Guadalupe Center’s three educational programs serving Immokalee students from cradle to career: Early Childhood Education, After-school Tutoring & Summer Enrichment and college preparatory Tutor Corps Programs. Presented by The Moglia Family Foundation on behalf of Amy and Paul Heuerman, and also chaired by Amy Moglia Heuerman, Guadalupe Center’s Signature Event featured a live band, gourmet dinner, live auction and a meet-and-greet with high school students within Guadalupe Center’s Tutor Corps program. Guests also enjoyed a special presentation by Mayor Bill Barnett, which surprised Sandy Vasey, retiring president of the Guadalupe Center Advisory Board, with a proclamation from the City of Naples. The proclamation marks Jan. 18 as Sandy Vasey Day in Naples, in honor of her more than 12 years of service on the Advisory Board, including five years as chair. During the live auction, paddles were flying as bidders battled over five auction items provided through the generosity of Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club, MarineMax Naples Yacht Center, Port Royal Jewelers, Preferred Travel & Seabourn, and Waterside Shops. Additionally, the evening’s fund-a-need or “jump-up” auction was dedicated to supporting tuition assistance for Early Childhood Education students, after-school tutoring and summer enrichment, and part-time wages for Tutor Corps students. During the “jump-up” auction, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation provided a generous $100,000 matching grant to support Early Childhood Education Funds, and the Frey Foundation generously gave a $50,000 matching grant to support After-school programs and summer enrichment funds raised at the gala. The event also featured a presentation from the evening’s student speaker, Omar Jaimes. From a young age, Jaimes was told that a higher education was unnecessary, however, he was inspired by his hardworking mother, who serves as his motivation for success. Jaimes has been enrolled in the college preparatory Tutor Corps Programs at Guadalupe Center since his freshman year of high school, and has worked tirelessly to achieve excellent grades in school and excel academically. Over the years, he also became involved in several clubs and organizations, while volunteering his time to give back to his community. He will graduate from Immokalee High School this spring, and has already been accepted to the University of Missouri and Saint John’s University in Minnesota. “Students like Omar are the best measure of the success of Guadalupe Center and the best example of how the dollars raised directly benefit our students,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of Guadalupe Center. “We are extremely grateful to our sponsors, our board, our donors and all the attendees for jumping on board to help us ensure the children of Immokalee rise from the tides of poverty through access to the highest level of education from cradle to career. We thank you for creating endless possibilities, forever.” In addition to The Moglia Family Foundation as presenting sponsor, the event was sponsored by Gulfshore Life, London Bay Homes, Naples Daily News and TD Ameritrade, as well as Capital Wealth Advisors, Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Lee Health Foundation, MarineMax Naples, Merrill Lynch Private Bank, Northern Trust, Preferred Travel, Priority Marketing, Port Royal Jewelers, Seminole Casino, The Ibarra Calleja Group at Morgan Stanley, Waterside Builders and Waterside Shops.