COLLIER COUNTY, Fla — A local nonprofit whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty through education is in the middle of a $24 million expansion.
Guadalupe Center is on track to significantly expand access to children and families in Immokalee, with construction of its van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning underway. It's set to open in January.
It'll put a dent in the community need for early learning services.
To put that need into perspective, President and CEO Dawn Montecalvo said it currently has a wait list of 435 children under the age of five who need early learning services.
Over the past two years, it's worked on how to reach those kids.
95% of students who graduate from its early childhood education program meet or exceed kindergarten standards and enter school prepared to succeed.
This new location will become its fourth campus. It'll make a dent in that wait list by serving 154 additional kids.
“The most important thing about early learning is getting to the children, you know, at birth, at six weeks. So now we'll be able to reach more children younger,” explained Montecalvo.
The new location will span nine acres. It'll serve all three Guadalupe Center programs, from early learning to high school students.
“Education is probably the only way out of poverty and we provide educational programs to children who live in the impoverished community of Immokalee,” said Montecalvo.
It'll create space for things like classrooms, a free medical suite, learning lab, mentor pods, and much more.
Learn more about the expansion here.