Immokalee Inter-Agency Council


May 2004


As Promised Dr. Benjamin Marlin Is Coming Back TO The IIAC This May

A lot has transpired since Dr. Benjamin Marlin, Superintendent of Schools for Collier County, visit as guest speaker to the September 2003 IIAC meeting.  The needs of the communities throughout Collier County have grown.  The funds required to address some of those needs have been gradually decreasing.  Trying to make it all work to better benefit the educational needs of Collier County students has been, without a doubt, a serious and gargantuan challenge.  Sometimes, and coming from both sides of the spectrum, we might not always like what we have to hear, but the fact of the matter remains, Dr Marlin, has been out to Immokalee on several occasions and wants to listen and learn from ALL of you who have concerns. And, he would probably like to hear as well not just the concerns but also the testimonies of how positive changes are making a difference.  As promised, Dr. Marlin is coming back.  He will be the IIAC guest speaker in May.  So mark your calendars and plan on coming to the May IIAC meeting and learn more about the school district and its plans for the 2004-2005 school year.  See you all in May!!!


Immokalee Public Transportation – Got A Concern????

Talking about doing a lot with very little – that is the challenge of ACT Para transit and Inteltran. At the IIAC Annual meeting in June we will be having as our guest speakers, Mr. Allan Strand of ACT Para transit and Mr. Gabriel Tejerinia, of Caring for Kids   Together, these two individuals, along with their staff of dispatchers and drivers, provide pubic transportation around Immokalee as well as to special appointments as requested.  Both Mr. Strand and Mr. Tejerinia are relatively new in their present positions.  It is their desire to learn more about the needs and issues of the Immokalee community. THEREFORE, in preparation for their visit, the IIAC wants to help them help you.  So what do we need?  We, at IIAC, need to hear from you.  On or before May 31st, IIAC members are encouraged to reflect upon the current transportation system in Immokalee as it applies to the circulator bus as well as those special Inteltran trips you schedule for your clients.  How are they working out?  Are you satisfied? Are there ways you can think of that would improve the present system? Both Mr. Strand and Mr. Tejerinia want to know.  Send comments and insights to either Mary at or Sylvia at . We will be sharing your needs and concerns with Mr. Strand and Mr. Tejerinia  in preparation for the June IIAC meeting .  


Guest Speakers Coming Up

May– Dr. Benjamin Marlin, Superintendent, School District of Collier County

June – Allan Strand, ACT Para transit


Mr. Gabriel Tejerenia   - Caring for Kids



IIAC – Time For Some New Blood

Speaking for both Silvia and myself, it indeed has been a pleasure to serve the Immokalee community of social service and educational institutions, etc. as leaders of the IIAC over the past several years.  We have had the privilege of seeing the Council grow in membership and the networks of communication strengthen in many ways.  In addition, the IIAC and its membership took on some projects in recent years and contributed to some positive changes in the community including:  participating with Weed and Seed, advocating for the need to establish and open a local Collier County American Red Cross Office; improvements in local transportation; and making efforts to demonstrate as well as heighten awareness of the many mutually beneficial opportunities there are here to share with our soon to be neighbors at Ave Maria University, etc. 


The time has come however, for Silvia and myself to step down from our role as IIAC Vice –President and President respectively.  We both are experiencing either new and/or additional responsibilities in our jobs, which necessitate the need to relinquish the role of leadership on to someone(s) who can take the IIAC on to the next plane of development.  In June, the IIAC will be hosting its Annual Meeting in addition to hearing from the guest speakers who will be talking about Transportation.  Ms. Diane Christianson, from the Bethune Education Center, has expressed interest in the position of IIAC President and Ms. Birgit Paulie-Haack, of the Naples Free Net, is interested in helping Diane to take on the role of IIAC Vice- President.  Despite their interest, however, the floor remains open. IF YOU are, OR if you know of someone who is interested in leading the IIAC to the next level in its development, please do not hesitate to throw your hat or someone else’s hat into the ring at the June meeting.  Additional nominations will be taken from the floor or via the e-mail on or before the June meeting when election of officers will be held. .



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.


THE GATEKEEPER  - A movie about farm workers migrating to the United States and one particular U.S. Border Patrol guard was recently released to select audiences across the nation on April 30, 2004. Ms. Esmeralda Serrata, Executive Director of the Collier County Housing Authority, was one of those individuals invited to attend the opening. In a recent interview with Ms. Serrata, she reported that the film is a MUST SEE when it eventually comes to the theatres near by.  The film realistically depicts the trials and risks migrant farm workers take and encounter while making the journey to find a better life for themselves and their families back home.  The film is exceptionally interesting in the fact that it portrays the life of a racist U.S. “tough guy” Border Agent who goes undercover to expose undocumented immigrants and finds himself trapped amongst the people he despises, discovering their hopes and dreams along with his own Hispanic heritage.  As one who was use to being the predator, he later experiences what it is like to be the prey. 


“The Bus”             Inteltran

How are they working out?  Are you satisfied? Are there ways you can think of that would improve the present system?. Don’t Forget!!!  Send comments, insights or concerns to either Mary at or Sylvia at  on or before May 31st


New Agency on the Block:  Haitian – American Corporation, Inc.

Although the Haitian – American Corporation, Inc. is relatively new to the area, they have, in fact been in operation for ten years  - primarily in the Orlando. It is their intention at this time to develop a strong presence assisting Haitians and Haitian–Americans living in both the Naples and Immokalee community.  On Saturday, June 5th, the Haitian-American Corporation, Inc will be celebrating their 10th anniversary of service to the community with a gala event to be held at The Naples Depot located at 1051 Fifth Avenue South  (entrance on 10th Street) beginning at 6:30 P.M.   Efforts are being made to provide transportation to and from Immokalee for those wishing to attend but do not have transportation. Please share this information with your Haitian friends and clients.   For further information you can call Marie Elsie Innocent at 417-0336 or e-mail at


in Brief


Weed & Seed Program Has a New Office

Many of you already know, but for those of you who do not, the Immokalee Weed and Seed Program recently moved its office from the Career and Service Center – better known – as the One Stop – to its new office building located at 310 Alachua Street across from the entrance to Six L’s Packing.   Congratulations to Teri Aviles and her staff of community volunteers. It’s obvious the program is ever growing!!


IIACInformation Available on Diskette

Silvia Puente, Vice-President and Secretary for the IIAC was able to compile the IIAC Diskette Registry in time for the March visit of Nick Healy, President of Ave Maria University.   This information is now available to all IIAC members thanks to a generous supply of computer diskettes furnished by the Collier County Department of Finance and Administration.  If you have not already picked up your IIAC diskette you can do so by contacting Silvia or Sandy at the Immokalee Branch Library office located on North First Street in Immokalee or call 657-6807.


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 Saturday, June 19 to Saturday, June 26,2004

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


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.


Guadalupe Social Services Announces New Service – Gabriel Project.

  Guadalupe Social Services announced at the March IIAC meeting that they are offering a new outreach service to women in crisis pregnancies. If you want to know more about this program you can call 657-6242.


!!!!Don’t Forget!!!!!!


Guest Speakers Coming Up

May– Dr. Benjamin Marlin, Superintendent, School District of Collier County

June – Allan Strand, ACT Para transit

Gabriel Tejerinia


For more information about May events

Come to this May’s IIAC meeting. Wednesday, May 12, , 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.