unidosnow Archives | UnidosNow

Juan Arcila Joins UnidosNow Board

Since July 2016, Juan Arcila, Admissions Counselor at USF Sarasota-Manatee, has been involved with UnidosNow and the Future Leaders Academy. He is helping us with this year’s Future Leaders Summer Academy, and he was also instrumental during last year’s Giving Challenge and engaging the millennials involvement in our fundraising efforts.

Juan holds a BA in Public Health and is now pursuing his Master’s Degree in Education. He is the perfect example of UnidosNow core mission: a first-generation Latino in the United States who comes from a low-income family and is the first one in his family to go to college.

His passion and dedication to our organization and scholars is palpable in everything he has done with and for UnidosNow, and it hasn’t been unnoticed by our leadership. Kelly Kirschner, Board Chair of UnidosNow, invited Juan Arcila to join our Board of Directors last February. We now have  the benefit of his knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. Welcome to the team, Juan!

Gecko’s Creates a Scholarship for our Scholars

Gecko’s Hospitality Group Family of Restaurants presented a check to UnidosNow to award scholarships to four of our very deserving scholars. The owners, Mike Quillen and Mike Gowan, have established these scholarships in honor of the loyal and dedicated families that support their children to pursue higher education.

Gecko’s has been a steady supporter of UnidosNow and it is one of the first businesses that has made onsite English-Life Skills classes available for their workers and their families.

We value and appreciate their partnership and commitment to our community.

Complete your #FAFSA with us!

Complete your #FAFSA to go to #college or #TechnicalSchool with us! Next Saturday, February 11th, from 1:30pm to 4:30pm at North Sarasota Public Library. #DreamBig #ReachHigh

¡Completa tu FAFSA para ir a la #universidad o a la #EscuelaTécnica con nosotros! El próximo sábado, 11 de febrero, de 1:30pm a 4:30pm en la biblioteca pública en Newton. #SueñaALoGrande #LlegaAlto

New Program in McIntosh Middle School

UnidosNow has started a new program in McIntosh Middle School thanks to the support of United Way Suncoast. We will provide middle-to-top performers with the tools they need to start thinking about going to college as they transition to middle school.

We will also offer workshops for students and parents on how to select colleges, learn about financial aid and scholarships, and some other tools to assist them in planning for higher education.

Ongoing FAFSA Outreach & Support Efforts

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The UnidosNow education team and partners have been crisscrossing Manatee and Sarasota counties in the last month, working to ensure high school seniors have the critical information needed to complete their FAFSA. We conducted numerous outreach activities to inform students and families about FAFSA labs, where volunteers help families fill out their FAFSA forms. Our outreach efforts included, for example, classes or lunch hours where seniors were in attendance at Palmetto and Bayshore high schools, a college fair at Palmetto High, an information session at Sacred Heart Church, the Hispanic Festival at Holy Cross Church, an info table at the Remote Area Medical event at MTC, and electronic outreach via our Remind system, which sends text notifications to students who are registered with us. UnidosNow engaged over 1,000 seniors through this outreach. Find pictures of all these events in our Facebook page.

Subsequently, in partnership with our community partners, FAFSA labs were offered at Sarasota Military Academy, North Port, Sarasota, Booker, Palmetto, Lakewood Ranch and Bayshore high schools, where trained volunteers assisted approximately 254 families to complete the FAFSA. Our invaluable partners include Talent for Tomorrow in Sarasota County – comprised of United Way SuncoastSarasota Education FoundationGreater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and CareerEdge. – and the Local College Access Network (LCAN) in Manatee County – comprised ofthe Manatee Community FoundationUnited Way of ManateeThe School District of Manateethe Manatee Chamber of Commerce, USF Sarasota-Manatee, Manatee Technical College, Take Stock in Children of Manatee County, and CareerEdge. UnidosNow is a member of both collaboratives.

We believe these partnership efforts are significantly impacting FAFSA completion rates in our area, as evidenced in the below data charts from the US Department of Education for Manatee and Sarasota counties:

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For information on upcoming FAFSA labs or information sessions, click here.

2Gen Partnership Empowers Parents

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Thanks to the support of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s 2Gen initiative, UnidosNow and Tuttle Elementary School are partnering to implement an innovative engagement program for parents of Tuttle students. The curriculum, targeting English Learner parents, includes a national parent engagement model, Padres Comprometidos, and ESOL classes.

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Tuttle parents are participating in Padres Comprometidos, a field-tested parent engagement program developed by NCLR, which has met with great success throughout the United States, and which UnidosNow has been trained to implement. Its goal is to create a culture where children are expected to graduate from college by receiving support from their parents and community. The program helps parents build relationships with the school and other parents, as well as their own children; it also helps them develop goals for their children, from the early education years through high school, so that they can attend college.

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In addition, parents are attending on-site ESOL classes, with the goal of improving English speaking and listening skills. The adult learners all share a common interest in learning English to help their children, to communicate in society (teachers, doctors, shopping), and to improve employment opportunities.  Since the classes launched in October, participants have accomplished a strong understanding and pronunciation of the English alphabet, cardinal/ordinal numbers, pronouns, and personal information. But perhaps, most importantly, they are building self-confidence to speak and understand English.

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UnidosNow Continues Celebrating Giving Challenge Successes!

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UnidosNow is proud to be one of nine selected winners of the Manatee Millennial Challenge, which was one of the competitions of the 2016 Giving Challenge in September. We are honored and grateful to have been chosen from a pool of 25 great local nonprofits that participated in this new contest. Thanks to the support of the Manatee Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and to the dedicated efforts of our Millennial Volunteer Committee – spearheaded by Juan Arcila – UnidosNow will receive a $5,000 grant.

In addition, we’re thrilled and grateful to have been selected – from among hundreds of applications – as the awardee for Best Social Media Campaign in the category for “Medium Sized Organization.”  Thanks to the generous support of the foundations involved in the Giving Challenge, UnidosNow will receive a $1,500 award for this special recognition.

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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.

 

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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, Lisbeth@UnidosNow.org, 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
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