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Guadalupe Center, Immokalee

To learn more about Guadalupe Center, visit their website:

Guadalupe Center began as a small soup kitchen at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church offering families of Immokalee nutritious meals and a safe place to be. Volunteers quickly realized there was a greater need. In 1984, a newly formed Board of Trustees registered Guadalupe Center as 501(c)(3). That is when volunteers began tutoring non-English speaking elementary-age children in the soup kitchen with the help of the local high school students. Over the next two decades, Guadalupe Center formed its three educational programs: Early Childhood Education, After-school Tutoring in all five Immokalee elementary schools,and the college preparatory Tutor Corps for high school students that supports them through college graduation. Today, we serve more than 1,875 students each year with the ECE program educating 20% of the Immokalee children six weeks to five years old.


These three programs put emphasis on hitting major educational milestones – entering kindergarten ready to learn, being on grade level for reading by third grade, and graduating high school and college. As students achieve these benchmarks, the trajectory for their lives becomes infinitely more positive


What is the mission/vision of Guadalupe Center?

The mission of Guadalupe Center is to break the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee. This mission empowers our vision of a community that makes high-quality education a priority to create endless possibilities for students and families fostering academic and personal success leading to economic independence and generational change.


What is your center known for within your community? What do your families say about your center?

Guadalupe Center is a leader in education and in the community. The robust Early Childhood Education Program is unique from others in its capacity and dedication to serve the whole student. Students receive excellent instruction as well as nutritious food, recreation, access to vision/dental screenings, early intervention for developmental and behavioral concerns, and more.


Through these efforts, Guadalupe Center approaches early learning from multiple angles to solidify students’ likelihood of entering elementary school ready to learn and grow. Feedback from local schools indicates that our students are succeeding and ready to learn on day one

Teamwork is a cornerstone of our corporate culture. All staff work together towards a common goal, enabling our organization to fulfill its mission and grow. As part of this culture, the Guadalupe Center senior leadership makes employees feel appreciated and valued.


Recently, a parent shared a moving story about how the center has helped their family:

I currently have two children enrolled in the programs. My oldest is registered in the after-school program and my son is in early learning. I thought all was fine but with the encouragement of his teachers, we had him evaluated at the center and I found out my son was going to need extra help. It turns out that he was developmentally delayed and needed speech therapy. The center has been doing a great job making this transition and change go smoothly for us.

The Cristobal-Matias Family


Why did you choose NAEYC Accreditation?

Being accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s largest early childhood accrediting organization, is so much more than a logo on a banner or a call out in marketing materials. It’s an accomplishment that’s hard earned – one that represents a commitment to delivering a superior standard of quality education. Teaching to this standard ensures that we are offering our students the best possible opportunity to develop and build a strong educational foundation for lifelong learning. Families appreciate the well-rounded overall feeling they get when they enter the center and the developmentally appropriate manner in which their child is learning and growing.


Guadalupe Center’s Morgridge Family Campus is the only NAECY-accredited early learning program in Collier County. Guadalupe Center operates Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs at three additional locations, serving more than 500 children across four campuses in Immokalee, Florida. We have established plans to begin the accreditation process at our three other campuses. Learning the standards and practices from our first accreditation, we have uniformly implemented them across all locations to best support our students.


Anything else you would like our readers to know about your center?

Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program operates year-round. Children from infancy through age 5 receive well-rounded programming to support healthy development. Guadalupe Center’s intention behind this program prepares its students to be lifelong learners and leaders.


As one of the largest organizations in Immokalee, Guadalupe Center places an emphasis on program quality, work culture and staff development, employing a Director of Curriculum and Professional Development responsible for the implementation and evaluation of curriculum as well as training and upskilling of teachers. Currently, 44% of Guadalupe Center teachers have an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree with continuous opportunities for growth for all staff.

Our VPK teachers have bachelor’s degrees as well as serve as mentor teachers. We currently have 9 staff members utilizing the TEACH Scholarships to accomplish their state ECE certification and 8 pursuing their ECE degrees. Our seven ECE directors accomplished their bachelor’s degrees and were promoted from within starting out as ECE teachers.


Guadalupe Center’s commitment to its teachers equates to more effective instruction in the classroom and creates a friendly atmosphere where each employee feels like family while facilitating positive interactions between colleagues.




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