Blog | Page 3 of 16 | UnidosNow

She is One, a True Passionarie

Empower women and the world will be a better place.

That is not a new idea, but it unmistakably is an action we still need to work on, in every corner of the world, and Sarasota and Manatee counties are not an exception, especially not within the growing Hispanic/Latino community. But every change needs to start on the inside.

UnidosNow is now lucky to have in their team incredibly accomplished women (read about the Dream Team here), and it all began thanks to the leadership of Board Member Kathy Schersten. Mrs. Schersten has a strong background in women’s issues, being part of the movement to secure passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida, co-founding the Women’s Resource Center, as Campaign Manager of women running for office, and more (you can read Kathy Schersten’s complete biography here). It was Mrs. Schersten who encouraged the UnidosNow Board to increase the female representation on the Board and to hire its first female Executive Director.

These changes on the inside made it easier to practice what she preached, and now it was time to empower the students UnidosNow serve, and their families.

It is a trend often seen in universities around the country, where the number of female students is higher than the male students: it is not different in our Future Leaders Academy, and Kathy Schersten has been instrumental in mentoring many of these young women to reach their dreams of higher education, and enabling them to not settle for “what has always been”. This has opened a whole new world for them and their struggling families.

However, if UnidosNow was truly looking for a greater impact, the work needed to start much sooner and expand its range, and thanks to the willingness and leadership of our committed Board, and a variety of grants from local foundations, UnidosNow launched two programs that could define the future of our community: the Families Together program, which equip parents of low-income, first generation students with the knowledge and skills for learning how to succeed in the education system in the United States by integrating indispensable life and language skills and building social capital; and the Future Leaders Academy for Girls, which enables low-income elementary students and their families learn about the path to higher education and develop critical skills. The confidence, empowerment, and knowledge built in these parents to instill in their children, and in the children themselves to believe in a future of possibilities, has already shown its influence. Don’t miss some of those stories here.

And none of it would have been possible without the focused leadership of a woman who has always had women and the Hispanic community in her forefront.

Yes, we live in a community full of passionaries, term coined by Barbara Metzler describing people who are impacting the lives of people through their philanthropic actions. Yes, Sarasota and Manatee counties are full of passionate people caring for the causes they sincerely believe in. Yes, it is true. Passionaries is a word we use often in this community to describe one of a kind individuals working to create change in our community. And, yes, without a shred of doubt, Kathy Schersten is a true passionarie.

Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Thank you for joining us!

Over 160 people attended the event and generously donated over $50,000 towards the future of our promising students. Our guests enjoyed a lively opening by Mariachis Los Arrieros, delicious Latino food, and joyful dancing with the music of Trio Fusión.

We are very grateful for the support of the sponsors who made this evening possible: Oro (Gold) Sponsors, Community Foundation of Sarasota CountyKathy Schersten, and CJ Czaia; Plata (Silver) Sponsors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Kenyon Law; Bronce (Bronze) Sponsors, IberiaBank and Gallagher & Hagopian; and our Media Sponsor, TV Net Media Group.

A very special thanks goes to Kathy Schersten, an UnidosNow board member and the chairperson of this event. Kathy inspired us to dream big which resulted in UnidosNow exceeding all expectations for this inaugural event. ¡Muchas gracias, Kathy!

A Silent Auction for Everyone! Hispanic Heritage Celebration

UnidosNow’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration is around the corner -one week to go-, and we wanted to invite you all to check our terrific silent auction items. Everyone can find something that they’ll like! Plus, there are more to come.

If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, what are you waiting for? You can make your reservation here. We look forward to seeing you next Friday to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and our scholars and families.

Hispanic Heritage Celebration 2017

We look forward to seeing you this Friday, September 22nd at 6 p.m. at Michael’s On East to benefit UnidosNow scholars and their families to achieve their Dreams of Higher Education, and to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Please be aware that Valet parking at Michael’s On East is now facing their Wine Cellar since South East Avenue is under renovations (please see map below for your reference). We will have signs guiding you, but wanted to let you know in advance.

The Hispanic Heritage Celebration will have live entertainment both before and after our gourmet dinner. Come and enjoy the music of Mariachi Los Arrieros and Trio Fusión while supporting UnidosNow scholars and families to Dream Big.

 

We have all these items in our silent auction: what are you planning to bid on?

Looking forward to seeing you!

An Unprecedented FAFSA Challenge Success

Since the Manatee College Access Network (MCAN) formally organized last fall to improve student access and entry into post-secondary education, its member agencies jumped into the FAFSA challenge in late 2016.  This resulted in a significant accomplishment for the community: $658, 625 additional Pell grant dollars to Manatee students over the prior year.

With a capacity-building grant from the Florida College Access Network, the MCAN will begin its strategic planning process this summer, using a collective impact model. UnidosNow will serve as the MCAN’s backbone organization over the next year to help facilitate this process for the community.

Participating MCAN organizations include: Manatee Technical College, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida, Boys and Girls Club, Manatee Chamber of Commerce, Goodwill, Career Edge Funders, Career Source, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, Education Foundation, Manatee Technical College, Manatee County Library, Manatee County Government, Manatee Community Foundation, United Way of Manatee, School District of Manatee County, and Bradenton Area Economic Development.

UnidosNow’s presence in the schools, working with students to complete their FAFSA application, also made a difference in Sarasota county, which won “MVP for Large Districts” from the Florida College Access Network. We are proud to be part of the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership that helped to get 45.5% of Sarasota County high school seniors to complete their FAFSA, resulting in an estimated increase of $513,000 of Pell Grants being accessed by Sarasota County students.





Gocio’s Families Together Program

Photography by Karen Arango, karenarango.com

Proud parents of our Families Together program at Gocio Elementary School had their graduation ceremony. This program has been made possible thanks to the support of the 2Gen fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Gocio Elementary school students and their proud principal Mr. Royce attended the ceremony as well as Roxie Jerde, John Annis, Terri Vitale, Nelle Miller, Rick Gomez, and Rebekah Leopold of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

Celebrating our Students on their Signing Day

May 25th was a very special date for our Future Leaders Academy Scholars. Families, friends, community partners, UnidosNow mentors, Board and staff gathered at Manatee Technical College to celebrate their graduation from high school and their acceptance into college. We are very proud of them and wish them success in their next adventure. It’s been a pleasure working with all, and we cannot wait to hear about all their future accomplishments.

College Tour Spring 2017

Our Future Leaders scholars and parents spent two days traveling around Florida, from college to college. On the first day, they visited Rollins College and the University of Central Florida; on the second day, they visited Eckerd College and Saint Leo University. This tour gave our students and their parents a better idea of where they would want to spend their college years.

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