Their time in the classroom might have ended, but a contingent of retired educators, many of whom relocated to Southwest Florida, are still finding a way to enhance learning for local school children.
Guadalupe Resale Shop, an upscale thrift store in North Naples run by the Guadalupe Center, counts more than a dozen retired teachers among its contingent of 70 dedicated volunteers. The former educators process donations, price items, stock shelves and work the cash registers, all to help raise money for the education-based, nonprofit Guadalupe Center in Immokalee.
“These ladies spent their professional careers making a difference in the lives of their students, so it’s only fitting that in retirement they still carry that same passion for education,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president of the Guadalupe Center. “The Resale Shop, especially at this time of year, is an extremely busy place, and the tireless work ethic of our volunteers certainly is appreciated.”
Proceeds from the Resale Shop help fund the Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education, After-School Tutoring & Summer Enrichment and college preparatory Tutor Corps programs.
For Sue Morgan of Naples, a visit to the Resale Shop as a customer introduced her to the Guadalupe Center and its mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee.
“I immediately thought it was a match,” said Morgan, who taught pre-school in New Jersey. “What we’re doing in the Resale Shop to help the Guadalupe Center is phenomenal. I kind of fell into it, and I love it.”
The Resale Shop carries a wide selection of name brand furniture, kitchen and dinnerware, small kitchen appliances, household décor, lamps, artwork, linens, jewelry and designer clothing.
Mary Cunningham, a former middle school teacher in Michigan and Collier County, started volunteering with the Guadalupe Center after retiring more than 20 years ago. Now at the Resale Shop, her primary responsibility is pricing and stacking books, a fitting task for someone so passionate about reading and education.
“All of the money we earn at the Resale Shop goes right back to the children,” said Cunningham, of Naples. “We are a bare-bones operation, so nothing is wasted.”
That’s the key, says Rebecca Davis, a retired elementary school teacher from Naples. Whenever she makes a sale at the Resale Shop, Davis is confident that the revenue will ultimately reach its intended recipients – the youth of Immokalee – and give the next generation of Immokalee High School graduates hope for a brighter future.
“It’s important to start when they’re young, and let them know that everyone has an opportunity to go to college,” Davis said.
To volunteer at the Guadalupe Resale Shop, please contact Resale Shop Manager Kat McNabb at 239-594-2696 or kmcnabb@GuadalupeCenter.org.
The Resale Shop is located at 12980 Tamiami Trail N., Unit 10, in Naples, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit www.GuadalupeCenter.org.
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.
About Guadalupe Resale Shop
Guadalupe Resale Shop offers the community a win-win opportunity to donate name brand furniture, household items, clothing, accessories and more. A fast, friendly and free pick-up service is provided for name brand furniture donations. For more information on Guadalupe Center’s programs, the Resale Shop or to learn more about how you can help, visit www.GuadalupeCenter.org.