The theme of the day was recognizing the needs of disadvantaged children in Collier County and the non-profit organizations that meet those needs. The day began with two speakers who set the stage for the day. Nina Gray, Founding Board Member of the Collier Resource Center, gave an overview of Human Services, including the lack of government support and how non-profit organizations fill that gap. Sandi Moran, Vice Chair of the Naples Children & Education Foundation which sponsors the Naples Wine Festival, spoke next. Sandi gave a testimonial about the value and benefits of being a donor to a worthy non-profit.
Two field trips were next on the agenda. First was a visit to the Shelter for Abused Women and Children. It included a tour of the shelter, a presentation by Executive Director Linda Oberhaus and a testimonial by Christy Carpenter.
Next up was St. Matthew’s House which serves homeless children and families. The visit included a welcome and presentation by Reverend Vann Ellison, President and CEO; a tour of the facility; and an excellent lunch prepared by Executive Chef Kristofer Jubinville. In addition to highlighting the talents of the Chef’s catering operation (Delicious by Design) which raises needed funds for St. Matthew’s House, the luncheon program featured remarks by the Chef and a testimonial by a volunteer. The class showed its commitment to act by donating a carload of canned goods.
Following lunch, the class returned to the Leila B. Canant Professional Development Center. There they participated in a volunteer fair where class members met face-to-face with leaders of five non-profit organizations: Gargiulo’s Education Center, Guardian Ad Litem, MusicScores!, Naples Therapeutic Riding Center and Valerie’s House.
The day concluded with a panel featuring executives of four organizations: Friends of Foster Children Forever, Youth Haven, the Fran Cohen Youth Center and Harry Chapin Food Bank. The panel answered five questions posed by the moderator about the work their organization does to meet the needs of children.
It was a busy, exciting and inspiring day.