NAPLES — Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee is responding to meet the needs of the children and families it serves by joining the #GivingTuesdayNow movement in a Global Day of Giving. Funds raised through this campaign will support the Changing the Path Program, providing critical early education opportunities to the impoverished community of Immokalee.
GivingTuesdayNow will take place on May 5, 2020 – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020 #GivingTuesday – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. The day is designed to drive an influx of generosity, citizen engagement, business and philanthropy activation, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world.
“We each have the power to make an impact with acts of generosity, no matter how small, and to ensure the sustainability of organizations and services that are crucial to the care and support of our communities,” said Asha Curran, CEO of GivingTuesday.
In a post-COVID-19 world, families around the country are coping with lost jobs, lack of child care, and the anxiety of avoiding a potentially lethal virus. The full impact of this outbreak will be more devastating for poverty-stricken communities like Immokalee, which will leave at-risk children farther behind their peers and struggling to catch up.
Though the center’s doors remain closed until it is safe to resume, Pathways continues to be a vital resource, guiding the children and families of Immokalee. Teachers have stayed in close communications with the network parents to provide the educational tools to support their children. Every day, teachers-created activity and story time videos are released virtually through the parent’s newsletter and on Pathways Facebook. Special care is made to reach out to families that do not have internet capabilities. Ten of Pathways’ teachers are also pursuing college degrees in early childhood education at Florida SouthWestern State College so that they can be leaders in Changing the Path for their hometown.
To ease the day-to-day struggles that Immokalee children face, Pathways partners closely with other nonprofits to provide a continuum of care so they have access to the resources to stay healthy. Through a partnership with Meals of Hope, families have access to food. We provide free mental health, comprehensive preventive care, as well as vision, hearing, and dental screenings in collaboration with agencies like NAMI, Healthcare Network, The Lions Club, and the University of Florida / NCEF Dental Clinic. Most recently, Pathways became a distribution site for Baby Basics to distribute diapers and essential baby supplies.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Pathways relies on grants and donations to provide tuition assistance, teacher salaries, and enriching hands-on activities through a nationally-recognized curriculum to Change the Path for Immokalee’s next generation. This program is supported by a grant from the Latchkey League Fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County.