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.
In an email survey, a few of our supporters had the following comments about the Amigos en Cristo ministry. One supporter commented:
Amigos is doing a tremendous job of reaching out to those in need. We are especially impressed with the dedication of Karl and his volunteers.
We are so impressed with the organization and enthusiasm and dedication of all of the personnel involved with Amigos en Cristo. The report at the annual luncheon is always so informative and encouraging. We always comment on how motivated we are to give simply because we actually know what you are doing with the funds. Not that we give so much :), but if I had more I would! God Bless your efforts!
Thank you to all of you who make this ministry of changing lives possible.
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 December 29th, Harry Chapin chose Amigos Center to be the point of distribution for their mobile food pantry.
They arrived with three large box trucks and with the help of 45 volunteers we served nearly 4500 people in under 4 hours. We are thankful for the Harry Chapin’s partnership with us and their faith in our work in changing lives in Immokalee.
Our first Amigos Center float was the Grand Prize Winner of $500 in the Immokalee Parade of Cultures! Thank you to all the volunteers who made the float and participated in the parade!