A junior at Golden Gate High School who sold advertising space on her prom dress as a fundraiser has donated the proceeds to Guadalupe Center.
Aubrey Garcia, like many teenagers in Collier County, witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma and searched for ways to help those in need. Garcia’s fundraising idea was to sell blocks of advertising on her prom dress, and the 17-year-old student reached out to local businesses and organizations with her idea.
“I got a lot of rejections, but heard a lot of positive feedback as well,” Garcia said.
The teen ended up collecting $1,550 through eight sponsorships, and after careful consideration, she decided to donate the money to Guadalupe Center, citing the nonprofit organization’s track record of success within the community.
“On prom night, most students are focused on their hair, makeup and transportation,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of Guadalupe Center. “I’ve seen the photos, and Aubrey looked stunning in her prom dress, but she was more concerned with using that special night to create an opportunity to help others in the community. She wanted to send a strong message that we need to look beyond ourselves. What an incredible young woman!”
Guadalupe Center, which has a mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee, selected 2018 Immokalee High School graduate Barbara St. Fleur, a senior in its college-preparatory Tutor Corps program, to receive the funds. St. Fleur’s laptop was severely damaged during the hurricane, and she’s been using a borrowed computer since last fall. St. Fleur, who is heading to Arcadia University in Pennsylvania on a full scholarship, needed to find a permanent solution.
On Wednesday, May 23, Garcia presented St. Fleur with a new HP laptop. It was the first time the two teens had met, but after chatting, they realized each was taking early admissions classes at Florida SouthWestern State College. St. Fleur, 18, was happy to see a fellow teen step forward and make the news for a positive action.
“You usually don’t hear about a dress or fashion unless a person is wearing something inappropriate, so for her to use her prom dress for a good cause is amazing,” said St. Fleur.
Golden Gate High held its prom on April 28 at the Hilton Naples, and Garcia wore a black skirt coupled with a white sleeveless top. The dress featured advertisements from Barron Collier Companies, the Maurizi family, Remnant Construction, S&J Renovations, Asset Management Solutions, FOX4, Goodyear and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, each printed on fabric paper, attached to a sash made by Garcia and pinned to her skirt.
Only a small group of friends knew about Garcia’s dress before prom night.
“Everybody is so stuck on graduation and prom, and what they want to wear,” Garcia said. “They all wondered, ‘Why are you wearing logos?’ After they found out, though, most of them thought it was a cool idea.”
About Guadalupe Center
Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven, nonprofit organization with proven results in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education and fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. With a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center is proud of the children’s accomplishments: 94 percent exceed kindergarten readiness measures, 100 percent of Tutor Corps high school seniors graduate high school and are accepted into college, and more than 90 percent graduated with a post-secondary degree.