CONGRATS AMIGOS CENTER!
Excerpts from the News Press:
Eight individuals were honored last night in several categories for their strong work ethic and contributions to the Hispanic community at the 12th annual Hispanic Achievement Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet. About 180 people attended the event at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers.
“Hispanic business people do so well in helping to cultivate their own businesses from the ground up, and as I think all of you know, it’s the small businesses that are the fundamental framework of the economy,” said Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah, who spoke at the event.
This year’s winners:
Elementary Student of the Year: Alex Ventura of Estero, second grade.
Middle School Student of the Year: Robert Herrezuelo, Gateway Charter Middle School in Lehigh Acres.
High School Student of the Year: Monica Amaya, Mariner High School in Cape Coral.
Ministry of the Year: Amigos Center in Bonita Springs.
Educator of the Year: Peggy Mendez-Slichter, assistant principal with Alva Middle School.
Volunteer of the Year: Martha C. Avila, coordinator of Sustainable Lee.
Employee of the Year: Rafaela Berrios, helping teacher at Mariner High School in Cape Coral.
Business of the Year: Florida Skin Center in Fort Myers.
It wouldn’t be possible to serve the hundreds of families served each week in Immokalee without our faithful staff and volunteers. Here’s a picture of the staff who makes it happen!
Justina Ruiz (Case Worker), Karl Glander (Service Director), Robert Selle (Pastor), Andre Mezilus (Vicar)
Board Member Pat O’Donnell was featured in Lifestyle Magazine’s October 2011 issue’s article written by Laura Cummings.
Read excerpts below or read the full article here.
During the thirty-five years Al and Pat O’Donnell have lived in Estero, they have built an award-winning landscape firm as wellas a reputation for community service.
The Dubin Center is one of United Way’s seventy-two local partneragencies, as is The Amigos Center, for which Pat serves on the board.The Amigos Center helps immigrants in Lee and Collier counties filepaperwork to obtain, retain or recover their legal status. “They do alot of humanitarian work,” Pat explained. The agency helps immigrantsfrom ninety countries navigate through the complex Immigration andNaturalization Service (INS) system. “It’s a proud moment when theyfinally get through everything and get their citizenship.”Pat discovered The Amigos Center as a volunteer on the United Way’sAllocations Committee, which evaluates partner agencies and reviewsannual requests for grants. “It is an eye-opening opportunity to see whatthe needs are in Lee County,” Pat said.
While the O’Donnells keep a tightly packed schedule, they wouldn’thave it any other way.“You make time for the things you really want to do,” Pat said. “Youorganize everything else around it.”
Amigos Center in Immokalee is proudly serving over 25 students in our Literacy Program on Monday. Students are arriving early and staying after class to study and practice what they learned so they can move to our Rosetta Stone program. Director of Development, Leah McCann led one of the classes today and had the students singing the months of the year. “It was moving to hear the group sing and really staying focused to remember the months. It was even more moving to see them helping one another and encouraging one another to participate.” As the need continues to grow, we work diligently to accommodate everyone at their current level. We continue to pray for a Haitian Creole volunteer to assist us in our Literacy Program. If you are interested in volunteering in Immokalee, please contact Karl Glander at: (239) 657-3822.
In order to maintain high standards of financial integrity, our Amigos ministry maintains a standing Financial Review Committee. The committee:
- establishes and periodically reviews our financial investment policy;
- assumes responsibility for oversight of the annual audit, review, or compilation of our financial statements;
- is responsible for the selection of an independent accountant; and
- investigates any reported violation of our employee policies.
Members of the committee are (pictured left to right) Pat O’Donnell, (owner of O’Donnell Landscapes, board member of Amigos en Cristo and former chairperson of the United Way of Lee County Campaign Drive); Tom Cioper (Former president of Zion Lutheran Church, Fort Myers and retired Major Account Manager of Motorola Semiconductors); and Denny Brown (retired CFO/CEO of Owens Illinois Latin American Division, former volunteer Financial Consultant for Amigos Center and long time community volunteer).
Armando Ortegon is our first Amigos Center Chaplain. Since the retirement of Rev. Lomba last March, we no longer have a full-time pastor in Immokalee. Our Immokalee staff felt the need to create the position of volunteer chaplain to help fill that void. The Chaplain is responsible for providing spiritual services to the clients of Immokalee Amigos Center. The chaplain connects the spiritual services of our Immokalee Lutheran Church with the social services of Amigos Center by actively engaging and listening to the patrons of Amigos Center in a Christ like manner. The Chaplain offers both group and individual prayer to our clients, staff and volunteers. Born in Colombia, Armando has no problem communicating with the many Hispanics who come into our center. Armando is in charge of our Marriage Enrichment ministry in Bonita Springs and is one of Pastor Selle’s advanced theology students. In the near future we expect to also have a Haitian Chaplain serving along side of Armando. This will be a important since about a third of our clients are Haitian.
Thirty children participated in the first day of our week long Immokalee Vacation Bible School. Under the direction of Grace Lutheran Church of Naples, Director of Christian Education, Kami Jo, and her group of volunteers, the children enjoyed play time outdoors, Bible Stories about Moses, crafts, songs and snacks. According to Pastor Selle, this VBS helps us proclaim the Gospel of Jesus in a relevant and understandable way to the Hispanic and Haitian children who live in Immokalee. We are very thankful for Kami Jo and the people of Grace Lutheran for sharing their time and talent with us. Our ministry is largely volunteer driven and we count heavily on the dedication and service of people like Kami Jo to complete our mission.
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.