Immokalee Inter-Agency Council


February 2004



Thank you to the Lions Clubs of Bonita Bay, Estero and North Fort Myers and Many Community Volunteers!!!

Over three hundred and fifty men and women each received an eye exam, blood pressure check and diabetic screening at the Sunday, February 1st, Free Eye Clinic held at the Community Parks building on 1st Street.  Almost as many people had to be turned away because the number of volunteers from the Lions Clubs of Bonita Bay, Estero and North Fort Myers as well as CC Health Department – Immokalee, Marion E. Fether Medical Center, Collier County Parks and Recreation, USF Migrant Farmworker Program, Collier County Housing Authority and even a volunteer from as far away as Illinois couldn’t serve as many people as they would have liked to have served on that day during the time that was allotted.  Vision screening and screening for glaucoma and cataracts were all part of the process participants experienced that day. Referrals were made to eye specialists for those in need and second-hand glasses were fitted and given at no cost to others diagnosed with a vision less than a perfect 20 – 20 reading.


This event served as a blessing for many adults who do not have insurance, cannot afford eye exams nor have the time during the workweek to see an eye doctor.  Lions Club officials reported identifying as many serious eye problems during this event as they would when screening a population of over 1500 individuals.  Sporting her new pair of second hand eyeglasses and a big smile, Emily Dorvil, 73, of Farm Worker Village, gratefully expressed how clearly she could now see.  Lions Club and other officials are considering hosting the event again in the near future to address the needs of all those who had to be turned away from screening that day due to time constraints.

Thank you again to all who made that day a huge success!


IIAC Members, How Current is Your Information in the IIAC Diskette Registry???

In preparation for President Healy’s visit AND for your own individual needs, Sylvia would like to update all agency information provided on the Immokalee Inter-Agency Diskette you received several years ago thanks to a generous contribution of diskettes made by the County.  We are asking all IIAC members to please look your agency up on the diskette and e-mail or fax any changes to Silvia Puente on or before January 31st.  We intend to provide President Healy with a notebook version of the IIAC Directory.  Do not be left out in the rain.  Make sure you get your updated information in to be included.

Guest Speakers Coming Up

February – Peter Leventas,  Collier Health Services Inc.

March -Nick Healy, President, Ave Maria University

April – Dr. Benjamin Marlin, Superintendent, School District of Collier County (tentative)

Point - In – Time/ Homeless Count Survey - February 19th

Volunteers Needed!!!!!

A number of residents from Immokalee and those from outside the Immokalee Community have volunteered to help count the homeless of Immokalee or work the “Get Help Clinic” for the homeless, Thursday, February 19th, HOWEVER, more are needed.  We are sorry if you had your eyes set on working the early morning 3:00 – 8:00 am shift because volunteer spots during this shift are already taken by an eager bunch of early risers.  None the less, volunteers are still needed to work during the day surveying the community as well as late afternoon early evening. Please contact John Griffin at Guadalupe center 657-4361 for details and more information.  One more PIT training volunteers is planned for Thursday, February 12 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the Guadalupe Center.  


Preparations for Nick Healy, President of Ave Maria University, Invitation to Come to the March IIAC Meeting

Thank you to all of you IIAC members who so thoughtfully responded to the survey that was sent out via e-mail soliciting your thoughts and opinions in regard to how we as a community of social service agencies, educational institutions and health establishments could best visualize a mutual relationship of collaboration and cooperation between ourselves and the staff, officials, programs and educational opportunities of Ave Maria University.  Very soon you will be receiving a compilation of all that was shared for further comments.  We are of the opinion you might see an idea or thought that might ignite another thought you hadn’t considered previously.  A special committee has been formed to consider your thoughts and opinions as well as explore and draft a purposed plan of collaboration and cooperation we would like to share with Nick Healy, President of Ave Maria University in March.  This committee is currently composed of a specially selected representative from the following institutions:  Bethune Education Center, RCMA, Guadalupe Center, Guadalupe Social Services, the Immokalee Branch Library, Collier Co. Housing Authority, Work Force Council, Migrant Education, the Health Department and Marion E. Fether Medical Center.  This meeting will be held Monday, February 16th at 2:00 at the newly renovated Immokalee Branch Library building on First Street.  If interested, mark your calendar to attend.   A draft of any plan will be shared with IIAC members for comment before a final draft of the proposal is written and presented to President Healy.  So IIAC Members here is where we now stand on our:

      Plan of Action:

ü                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Complete a IIAC Survey by January 25th

ü                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Collation of Survey Results (Feb.7th)

      ___Small Planning Committee (Feb. 16th)

      ___Presentation of Draft to IIAC members for comment (Feb 28th)

      ___Presentation of Proposal to President Healy/ Ave Maria University (March 10th)

      ___Scrutiny and University Input of Proposed Plan

If you have any questions or concerns about the survey or our plan please contact Mary or Sylvia via the information found on the last page of this newsletter.

The ‘Must Read’ or “Must See” CORNER


Do you have a “MUST READ” , “MUST SEE” or “MUST LISTEN TO ” you would like to share with IIAC members? It can be a book, movie, television show, news article, web page or whatever  – Please let me know.  Just contact Mary at .   Helping to keep Immokalee informed and up-to-date.


“Charities Operating Franchises

As many of you know I am an avid National Public Radio (NPR 90.1 FM) listener.  Last Thursday, February 5th NPR had a very interesting segment on “Charities Operating Franchises” on Morning Edition.  It mentioned the kinds of franchises such as 7-Eleven, Krispy Kreme, Ben& Jerries among others, which non-profits are buying and getting into the lucrative franchise business.  As Immokalee continues to grow and expands, especially with the latest endeavors such as Saffire and the Air Truck business as well as Ave Maria University, franchises such as those mentioned and others might look interesting to some individual, company or non-profit agency thinking of investing or expanding its scope. These businesses could also serve as a training ground and source of employment for many of Immokalee youths and young adults wishing to learn small business or  management and administration skills.  Anyway, I thought it was an interesting concept and thought I would pass that information on to you all for thought.  If you would like to read or purchase the article, you can find it on NPR, under transcripts – Morning Edition , February 5th  or see me for a copy.  Mary Soucek


in Brief



Money Available for Home Repair to Low- Income Residents!!!!!

The Empowerment Alliance of Southwest Florida received a grant from USDA to repair homes in Immokalee.  The program is for very low-income homeowners (no rental units at this time).  The Empowerment Alliance is partnering with the County's SHIP program, which also runs a home repair program in the area.  For more information, contact Wendy Klopf from the County at 659-5701 or Dottie Cook of the Empowerment Alliance at 867-5466.


Global Volunteers Are Coming back!!!!

The Global Volunteers who were here in Immokalee last summer and over the Christmas working on many different and exciting projects are planning on coming back and need projects to help you with. Right now organizers are working on “site invitations” to send out to potential volunteers so they need input from you ASAP describing the kind of work you would like to have done.

v     Global Volunteers have will be back March 27th – April 3rd

Other proposed dates for 2004 - 2005 Include the following:

v     Saturday, June 19 to Saturday, June 26,2004

v     Wednesday, December 22 to Wednesday, December 29, 2004

v     Wednesday, December 29, 2004 to Wednesday, January 5, 2005


If you have not had the chance to experience the enthusiasm, hard work and leadership that Global Volunteers bought to area projects, youth and the community at large - here is your opportunity. Be creative! Think out of the Box! Get those projects you have sitting on the back burner done with a fantastic group of volunteers who want to share in your experience and with those who you serve.


Send your requests for Global Volunteers to Arnita James e-mail address  or call 658-2870


        We all know how important it is to have physical checkups, but have you had a “legal checkup” lately?  If you’re not sure if you are “legally” fit, plan to participate in a unique program called the Legal Checkup.
        Like a medical checkup, the Legal Checkup Program helps you identify whether you are legally healthy or if you need to take action.  Based on the findings, you may be able to handle it yourself or you may wish to consult a lawyer, a financial planner, or other professional.  The Legal Checkup process will help you to recognize a problem and decide how to solve or avoid the problem.
        The program, sponsored by the University of Florida/IFAS Extension and the AARP Legal Services Network, consists of two parts:  a confidential 73 page Workbook completed by you at home, and a Seminar conducted by an attorney.
        The Legal Checkup Program will be held two times in February:  1:30 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, February 17 and 24, with additional dates in March and May.  You choose the one date convenient for you.  The February programs will be held at Moorings Park located on Goodlette Frank Road, south of Pine Ridge Road in Naples.  There is a $10 charge.
        As seminar size is limited, pre-registration is required.  NOW IS THE TIME TO REGISTER so that you will have sufficient time to review and complete the portions of the Workbook that are relevant to you.  Call the University of Florida/IFAS Extension office at 353-4244 for a registration form.


!!!!Don’t Forget!!!!!!


Point - In – Time/ Homeless Count Survey - February 19th

Volunteers Needed!!!!!


Guest Speakers Coming Up

February – Peter Leventas,  Collier Health Services Inc.

March -Nick Healy, President, Ave Maria University

April – Dr. Benjamin Marlin, Superintendent, School District of Collier County (tentative)


For more information about February events

Come to this December’s IIAC meeting. Wednesday, February 11th, 12:00-1:00

At the

Immokalee One Stop  or Career and Services Building

 Located at 720 South Fifth Street, next to the Bethune Education Center in Immokalee



ALL IIAC meetings are open to any and all interested parties and individuals. To become a member requires nothing more than showing up at meetings and sharing with others who you are and any announcements you may have that could benefit the residents of the Immokalee community.


If you have a need or interest and wish to contact someone from the Immokalee Inter-Agency Council, you can call Mary Soucek, President, at 657-3649 ;or Silvia Puente at 657-6807     Thank You.