FAFSA Prep Workshops: Calling High School Seniors and Volunteers

fafsa_workshops_october_novIf you’re a senior planning to attend a post-secondary school, it’s important for you and your parents to complete a FAFSA form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grants, federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. In addition to determining eligibility for federal student aid, many states, private organizations, colleges, and career schools rely on information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for non federal sources of aid.

There are two major changes to the FAFSA taking effect for the 2017–18 school year, which runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018:

  1. The FAFSA will be available earlier (October 1 of the previous year instead of January 1 of the upcoming school year).
  2. The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year.

To help students and parents prepare the form, UnidosNow is partnering with Talent4Tomorrow and the Manatee Education Collaborative to offer workshops at high schools in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, respectively, from October through February. Click here to see the calendar of dates and locations.



We are also recruiting bilingual volunteers to provide one-on-one assistance to students and parents at these workshops. If you are interested in volunteering for one or more of the sessions, please RSVP to Lisbeth Oscuvilca, [email protected], for one of the following trainings:

  • October 13th from 5:30-8:30 PM at Suncoast United Way, 1800 2nd St, Sarasota
  • October 28th from 5:00-7:00 PM at USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

Local Government Presents Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamations



UnidosNow is proud to have received proclamation presentations in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month from our local government offices. Nationally, this observance takes place from September 15 to October 15. This year’s theme, Honoring our Heritage, Building our Future, offers a special opportunity to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and to celebrate our heritage and culture!

The Manatee County Commission proclaimed Hispanic Heritage Month for the county at its September 13th meeting and the Manatee County School Board did the same at its September 27th meeting. The Sarasota County Commission will issue its proclamation in October.

Many thanks to our elected officials for celebrating our community’s contributions to the local economy, business, arts, culture, cuisine and more!

Recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month


September 15 to October 15 marks National Hispanic Heritage Month. This is a special opportunity to recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and to celebrate our heritage and culture!

Latinos have had a profound and positive influence on our country through a strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service. We have enhanced and shaped the national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of our community.

This year’s theme is Honoring our Heritage, Building our Future. At UnidosNow we live and breathe this mantra through our multigenerational approach to programs. We are privileged to serve talented, passionate young people – who, indeed, will be our future leaders – and to work with their parents, grandparents and siblings, as well, who bring their cultural wisdom and insight to cultivating these young leaders and to building a stronger community, overall!

UnidosNow is Engaging New Partners for the #GivingChallenge16

We are thrilled to have new partners participating in our Challenge campaign this year! Thanks to our young professional volunteer committee, we are competing in the Millennial Challenge.

Our dynamic Millennial team – Juan Arcila, with USF Sarasota-Manatee, and local attorneys Kelly Rodenas and Carolina Saavedra – are developing creative and techy ways to engage young people and encourage them to be part of this philanthropic opportunity. Here is the video they created to launch UnidosNow’s Millennial Challenge:


Stay tuned for details on the upcoming Millennial Challenge happy hour community event!

UnidosNow is also partnering with The Ringling to compete in the Giving Challenge’s Best Nonprofit Partnership contest. Both institutions value education and prioritize education programming and services as a primary part of their respective missions.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are collaborating to elevate the visibility of the contributions of Latinos and Latino Americans to the arts and culture of the U.S. The Ringling will host two events focused on their exhibit, Collaborating Across Borders, which features Latin American artists, to which UnidosNow will bring our familia – students, parents, mentors and supporters – to celebrate.


Be The One To Inspire a Student

Our talented scholars of the Future Leaders Academy inspire us to continue working from them -and for the generations to come- and guide them to dream big and reach high.

Our tremendous mentors inspire our students to find their passion, and to believe in themselves to accomplish their goals.

Our committed parents inspire all of us in the pursue of their American Dream.

During the Future Leaders Summer Academy, our students were asked to create a personal statement, a presentation of who they are, and what they want to achieve. METV joined UnidosNow during the closing ceremonies of our Rising Juniors and Rising Seniors classes, giving us the possibility of sharing with all of you their powerful stories and outstanding talents. With them, we wish to also inspire you.

Future Leaders Academy – Rising Juniors Closing Ceremony

Future Leaders Academy – Rising Seniors Closing Ceremony

But now it’s your turn to inspire a student. We are counting on you –our friends and supporters– to help expand and enhance our programs through the 24-hour online giving event, from noon to noon on September 20 and 21, the Giving Challenge 2016. Learn how simple will be to donate here.

It only takes one to inspire a student. Be The One.


Be the One to Inspire a Student: Be Part of the #GivingChallenge16!

Mark your calendars! UnidosNow will be part of the annual Giving Challenge, once again. We are counting on you – our friends and supporters – to help expand and enhance our programs through this 24-hour online giving event, from noon to noon on September 20 and 21.

One of the exciting aspects of the Giving Challenge this year is that all new donors (anyone who did not give to UnidosNow in 2015) will be matched two-to-one, and returning donors will be matched one-to-one, both up to $100.

This means YOU can Be The ONE to help our students DREAM BIG because your donation will have DOUBLE or TRIPLE the impact on our work and mission.

Example of how a donation to UnidosNow will be matched by The Patterson Foundation for a new donor:

GC_TPF_Matching_NewExample of how a donation to UnidosNow will be matched by The Patterson Foundation for a returning donor.



So, we hope that you will visit between noon and noon, September 20 to 21, enter “UnidosNow” in the search box, and donate with your credit or debit card to qualify for a matched donation. (You can also be on the look-out, via our Facebook and Twitter, for the direct link to our donation page at the start of the Challenge.)

Your contribution will enable UnidosNow to reach more students at additional schools with expanded programming opportunities, such as facilitating students’ college visits and tours.

Imagine the possibilities. Be The One to inspire a student.


The 2016 Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation, as well as support from Manatee Community FoundationJohn S. and James L. Knight FoundationWilliam G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group.

Suncoast Center For Independent Living Hosts 26th Anniversary Of The Americans With Disability Act

SCIL - 2016 Flyer - SpanishSARASOTA, FL- June 17, 2016- The Suncoast Center for Independent Living (SCIL) in Sarasota celebrates the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) with An Affair to Remember on Tuesday, July 26, 6PM at the Potter Building, Sarasota Fairgrounds, 2896 Ringling Blvd in Sarasota. 101 Mobility will receive the SCIL ADA Empowerment Award for their charitable work to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Since its inception 26 years ago, The Suncoast Center for Independent Living has been devoted to empowering people with disabilities to independence. This year’s event will feature a disability inclusive Ballroom Dance Exhibition and a performance by American Idol Season 12 Finalist Lazaro Arbos. Lazaro overcame a stuttering disability and persevered on the nationally televised singing competition, finishing 6th place on American Idol Season 12.

Participating event sponsors: HealthSouth of Sarasota, 101 Mobility

“We commemorate the ADA and its immeasurable contributions to the diversity and vitality of our communities. Working together we can ensure that our community is not deprived of the full talents and contributions of our Sarasota and Manatee County residents living with disabilities in Sarasota and Manatee Counties,” said Michael Fluker, Executive Director.

The signing of the Americans with Disability Act in 1990 was a critical step in the forward momentum of Centers for Independent Living across the country. This year’s anniversary provides SCIL with the opportunity to acknowledge the diversified talents of our residents with disabilities in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  Dressy casual attire. Tickets $20. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 941-351-9545 or visit us

About Suncoast Center for Independent Living, Inc.

Suncoast Center for Independent Living, Inc., is a non-residential, non-profit organization that offers services to Sarasota and Manatee County residents with disabilities so they may lead independent, self-directed lives and fully participate as equal members of society.

About HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota

HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota is a 96-bed inpatient rehabilitation hospital that offers comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation services. Serving patients throughout central and southwest Florida, the hospital is located at 6400 Edgelake Drive in Sarasota and on the Web at

About 101 Mobility of Sarasota

101 Mobility is your Southwest Florida’s provider of the most trusted brands of mobility and accessibility equipment available today. 101 Mobility is located at 5975 Cattleman Lane in Sarasota and on the Web