On December 1, Philanthropy Day, the Jr. Leadership Class of 2017 had its first actual community program. Twenty-seven of the students were able to tour four Cape Coral service agencies. The tour started with the Cape Coral Caring Center, which provides groceries to those in need in Cape Coral. The students had the opportunity to place new donations on the food pantry shelves; repack foodstuffs; check expiration dates; and hear about how Julie Ferguson, Executive Director, her team, and volunteers go about their daily business of being a lifeline to Cape Coral citizens. Incidentally, the Cape Coral Caring Center is in need of a new cargo van for picking up food donations.
Jr. Leadership’s next stop was Cape Coral’s own Special Populations’ facility next to Sun Splash. Students had the opportunity to meet the program’s population and hear about the day’s activities. Sara Sansone, Executive Director, also introduced the students to the various special population work teams that clean and perform maintenance and food service activities for Cape Coral.
The next stop was Lifeline Family Center where Kathy Miller, President, and her team explained how they help young, single mothers become successful heads of households through education, discipline, respect, and responsibility. Students toured this 18,000 square foot facility’s nursery, study room, kitchen, stores, and living quarters. This faith-based organization does amazing things in our community to help young mothers engage in successful career paths and provide personal finance training, access to transportation and jobs.
Our last stop was a part of the Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida. The organization we visited is call Street Chicks in Recovery, which educate our youth, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, about the dangers of drug use. These ladies do amazing things by using marvelous tools to connect with the children in our community.
To close the day, the Jr. Leadership students were split into four groups, representing each of the organizations we visited. The students were tasked with learning more about, getting involved with, and developing a PowerPoint for each organization. The Cape Coral Community Foundation has earmarked $3,000 for the students to award to one or two of the organizations they are researching at the close of the Jr. Leadership Program. The PowerPoints the students create are a part of the contest to award the $3,000 grant to up to two of the organizations. Additionally, the students will present their presentations to their parents at the Jr. Leadership graduation.
The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral could not provide this opportunity without the help of the Cape Coral Community Foundation, Jacque Lawson, and Michael Chatman. We also appreciate the financial support of Jones, Haber, & Rollings, PA and Prime Communication AT&T who donated the funds for the bus transportation. Lastly, we appreciate the participating service agencies for sharing their vision and mission with us as we help our youth be aware of the wonderful things happening in our community and the opportunities to serve their fellow men and women.
Mike “Q” Quaintance, MBA, Business Department Chair, Keiser University, Ft. Myers