Guadalupe Center uses Truist Foundation grant to recruit, retain teachers


Truist Foundation awarded Guadalupe Center a $10,000 grant to help recruit and train teachers for its nationally accredited Early Childhood Education Program. 

Guadalupe Center recently expanded its Early Childhood Education Program by opening two new educational campuses in Immokalee. The nonprofit hired a full-time recruitment, training and curriculum specialist in addition to implementing new professional development programs and educational incentives to ensure highly trained, highly qualified teachers are providing instruction. 

“School districts, private schools and early learning centers are all struggling to fill vacant teaching positions,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Over the past few years, demand for credentialed educators has continued to grow, especially in Immokalee, where a very small percentage of the adult population is college educated. The grant from the Truist Foundation supported our team’s efforts to recruit and train individuals who already live in Immokalee while still pursuing traditional recruitment strategies.” 

Guadalupe Center serves about 1,750 students annually, including more than 500 in the Early Childhood Education Program. The Truist Foundation grant was instrumental in allowing Guadalupe Center to fully staff the new van Otterloo Family Campus for Learning, which opened in June with more than two dozen teachers. As of Oct. 12, Guadalupe Center had just three job openings for early childhood teachers across four campuses. 

Truist’s purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities. The foundation focuses on four key areas – leadership development, economic mobility, thriving communities and educational equity. It partners directly with nonprofits that support wealth building for historically excluded communities, helping organizations innovate and make a meaningful difference in the lives of those they serve. 

“Teachers play a critical role in early childhood education growth and development,” said Iwan Mohamed, West Florida regional president for Truist. “We’re proud to partner with the Guadalupe Center to ensure that children in Immokalee have access to trained and supportive teachers who enable educational success.” 

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