In Bonita Springs, we renewed our outreach efforts at our Kingston Amigos Center. Every Wednesday at 6:00 pm volunteers from our Hispanic church and others gather with residents of Kingston Acres trailer park in Bonita Springs. In order to share the love of Christ we gather for youth activities and prayer with parents. We are looking for people who can help us, especially if you can lead music or help small children with Bible based crafts. Call Pastor Selle (239) 281-1664 if you would like more information.
On May 21, family and friends gathered to celebrate the graduation from our Leadership Development 2011 course. The course was sponsored by Amigos Center. This is a step forward for many of these women as they look forward to filling leadership roles in Immokalee schools, community agencies and churches. Pastor Selle is forming an Advisory Board for our Immokalee Hispanic Church with some of these leaders. This course was designed and led by Amigos Center staff person Marcela Rice along with the help of 12 other individuals from the Immokalee community who help lead the various topics covered by the course.
On April 30th, 2011, the Amigos Center in Immokalee hosted 51 members of Our Savior Lutheran Church, St Petersburg, FL. In a day of hard work and a lot of fellowship, much was accomplished:
- The bridge in front of the center was repaired with new decking, and the sign out front was repaired
- The group donated a large quantity of clothing; they also folded and organized all of the donated clothing
- Also, a new shelf was built for the clothing room
- The sanctuary was cleaned and given a bright, fresh coat of paint
- The computer room was painted
- There was a lot of cleaning, both inside and outside the Center
- The front of the building was painted
We recently recognized ten people who provide volunteer services at our Immokalee Amigos Center with a special luncheon. Pictured with Pastor Selle are ten of the many volunteers who provide English classes, literacy classes, emergency food, used clothes, administrative and janitorial services. They volunteer at least one day a week. Because of their faithful service, all were given official Amigos Center shirts. Next time you come to the Immokalee Amigos Center, give a special thank you to our staff and volunteers.
One client recently wrote an email to Pastor Bob Selle, Executive Director of Amigos Center, as a follow up to an October 2010 inquiry about Amigos Center Immigration services.
Dear Pastor Bob,
Just wanted to share with you…My citizenship was approved and I had the oath ceremony to receive my citizenship last week Tuesday April 12th in Tampa, FL! The ceremony was great. Most everyone had tears in their eyes. 504 people became citizens from 85 countries! So now I am no longer a “foreign alien with permanent residence”, but an American citizen! Christina was wonderful. Professional, yet very encouraging throughout the process!
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!
The joy this client is experiencing wouldn’t be possible without the friends of Amigos Center who faithfully support the work here in changing lives and changing our community. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!
On April 4th, the United Way Allocation Team made a visit to the Amigos Center in Bonita Springs. Thank you to the staff and Board who were there to represent the ministry. We thank all of those who serve as volunteers on allocation committees for United Way. United Way supports our Immigration Ministry each year with a grant of $30,000. To be a proud partner agency of United Way, we undergo a lot of checks and balances, assuring both the United Way and the community that funds are being used to change lives. We are thankful to be a partner agency of the United Way.
On Thursday March 31st, Amigos Center worked with Harry Chapin’s Mobile Food Pantry to deliver food to over 235 families for a total of 958 people at our Immokalee center. The Mobile Food Pantry program has allowed Harry Chapin and their partner agencies such as the Amigos Center to reach children and families in many rural and underserved areas. Amigos Center is truly grateful for the partnership and collaborative efforts with Harry Chapin Food Bank.
Leonardo Garcia, Founder and President/CEO of the Hispanic American Business Alliance (HABA) has been a long time supporter of Amigos Center and is currently active on the board of directors for Amigos Center.
HABA was interviewed by the News-Press for comments on the U.S. Census regarding Hispanics in SW Florida. You can click the photos to enlarge the article.
Also, thank you to all the members of HABA who attended our 3rd Annual Friends of Amigos Lunch — Seeds of Hope.
All days are busy, yet Thursday, March 31st was an especially busy day filled with lots of life-changing appointments. In the morning I did two naturalization cases (applying for U.S. citizenship). Both clients were from Mexico and had been our clients for a number of years and we did the paperwork on both cases to get their green cards. Both were extremely excited to apply for U.S. citizenship – the ultimate goal of an immigrant.
In the afternoon I saw a woman from the Dominican Republic who had entered the U.S. in 2005 with her immigrant visa (green card) based on the filing of her U.S. citizen sister in 1991. In 2005 Amigos Center filed for her adult son who had remained behind in the Dominican Republic due to falling out of his USC aunt’s case due to his age. Last Thursday the Dominican mother was filing the final paperwork with the Department of State so that her son will finally be able to get his interview in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to then enter the U.S. with an immigrant visa/green card and join his mother, father, and younger sibling.
After that I saw a woman from the United Kingdom who had been in the U.S. since she was 9 years old on a work visa through her parents. The work visa had just expired and her parents and younger sibling will be returning to the United Kingdom. The young woman had married a U.S. citizen and so I filed all the paperwork (6 applications in total) to get her a work permit and then her green card through the marriage. I explained to her that then she will be able to apply for naturalization in a little less than 3 years from getting the green card and then she can apply for her parents and sibling to come back to the U.S.
Finally I saw a 16 year old Mexican girl who had been brought into the U.S. as a young child and she now has her immigrant visa/green card appointment in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in a few weeks. I had been working on the case since 2005. I prepared the final paperwork for her and her green-card holding father to take to the interview in Mexico. She should be back in the U.S. within a week with her green card.
United Way has once again reached their campaign goal of $8,024,330 under the direction of campaign chairwoman, Pat O’Donnell. Pat O’Donnell is also an active member of the Amigos en Cristo Board of Directors.
Amigos Center is a proud partner of United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades, who generously contributes $30,000 annually to help support the Immigration ministry of Amigos Center.
At the goal announcement O’Donnell said, “I am thrilled to announce that the United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades has reached its campaign goal for the 18th consecutive year!
“Our generous community has done it again! Despite the difficult economy, you dug deep to give what you could to help our friends and neighbors who are hurting, out of work, or ill. In the toughest economy that we have faced in many years, you gave so others could look forward to a better life. I am so proud of our community.
“What is more important than the fact that we made our goal is that the 72 United Way Partner Agencies will receive their full allocation of funds. The needs in our community have increased significantly in these troubled times. Many agencies have lost funding from both government and private sources. United Way Partner Agencies’ 160 programs will be fully funded and hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens will receive the help they need.
“Thank you to all of the individuals, companies, communities and partner agencies for your generous contributions. You proved once again what a caring community this is.”