AFCAAM Catholic Charities’ summer campers enjoyed an exciting and educational field trip to Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory as part of their 2019 summer camp program. Twenty three students, staff and mentors spent the entire day on site in Sarasota, viewing large sea mammals, beyond belief sized fish, manatees, stingrays and live feeding sessions for otters and sharks. While on site, the students were enlightened on the various kinds of living shells and their history, touched stingrays, baby sharks and starfish using the mandated two finger touch and visited the sites’ rescue lab.
Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit, marine research organization based on City Island in Sarasota, Florida. This was a first time adventure for most of the students and will definitely be a memorable experience for all. AFCAAM serves middle and high school youth, ages 11-17 with group and one-on-one mentoring throughout the school year and an intensive summer camp program filled with educational workshops, teambuilding, field trips and an FGCU sponsored digital technology program.
For more information on programs at AFCAAM, visit the center at 3681 Michigan Avenue in Fort Myers, or call 239-461-0233 x 203 or 209.
On February 11, 2019, Florida Gulf Coast University hosted Jane Elliott as a guest speaker. Ms. Elliott is a renowned teacher and lecturer.
She is well known for her Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiments that expose prejudice and bigotry based purely on arbitrary factors. A private lunch was held in her honor at which time Mayor Randall P. Henderson, Jr. demonstrated his appreciation for diversity and inclusion by giving the key to the city to this iconic human rights champion. The Mayor was joined by some of the members of his Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. The committee met following the lunch to continue its ongoing discussions relative to diversity, equity and inclusion. The committee is led by a steering committee comprised of Dr. Peter Ndiagn’ui, Chair, Beth Countryman, Vice Chair, Kathy Dupuy-Bruno, Esq., Secretary, Dr. Guido Minaya and Roy Kennix.
In addition, Imam M. Al-Darsani, Michele Hylton-Terry, Diana Girardo, Pam LaRiviere, Dan Oberski, Martin Byrd, Cole Caruso, Reverend CJ McGregor, Leonardo Garcia, Bev Larson and Sunny Lubner are nominated members of the committee.
The entire committee will be introduced to the public in April 2019.
A retirement party was held for Ken Burns, outgoing principal of the Dunbar Community School on June 29, 2019 at the Dr. Carrie Robinson Center in Fort Myers.
Well-wishers crowded the hall to show their appreciation to this hard working and very popular administrator.
A Message From Retiring Dunbar Community School Principal Ken Burns
“It's Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday!”
“I was honored by the presence of so many friends inside and outside the school system who have walked with me over the past 26 years of my career. Thank you for sharing in the celebration dinner with me and thank you for the support and friendship over the years. I really appreciated all the kind words and well wishes. The time has come to end this chapter and I will be focusing on enjoying my family, traveling and seeking strategic ministry opportunities to continue serving the local community.
I’m beyond lucky to have you and your kindness in my life!”
As an outgrowth of Mayor Henderson’s guest speaking in Dr. Peter Ndiang’ui’s Intro to Diversity class in the College of Education at Florida Gulf Coast University, the concept of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee was born. Based on the rapidly growing diversity of the demography of the city of Fort Myers and related need for inclusion of all persons, Mayor Henderson initiated the establishment of the committee in November of 2018. He announced the steering committee to oversee the establishment of the committee during the African Network of SW Florida’s annual gala. The theme of the gala was “Embracing our Diversity”. The five members of the initial steering committee were as follows, Dr. Peter Ndiang’ui, Beth Countryman, Kathy Dupuy-Bruno, Esq. Dr. Guido Minaya and Roy Kennix.
This steering committee worked on the mission, vision, guiding principles and general structure of the larger committee. The Mayor wanted a committee of diverse individuals from all walks of life, including every segment of the city’s population. The whole committee of 17 members was fully constituted in February 2019. This was the first official diversity and inclusion team ever created by a Mayor in southwest Florida.
The committee is charged with identifying ways and means through which we can enhance greater integration of the Fort Myers community through embracing one another and promoting authentic acceptance and respect for all segments of the population. The committee will advise the Mayor on the integration of a diversity and inclusion plan that outlines specific goals to enhance the multi-cultural experiences of residents and businesses. This is conducted through two pillars: socioeconomic empowerment pillar and the community engagement and education pillar.
The committee developed a survey to collect data regarding diversity and inclusion within the city. The survey was sent out to just over 1000 people of which 529 participants returned the completed surveys. The committee used the data to make recommendations to the Mayor. This was done on July 17th, the same date that the Mayor officially announced the committee to the public.
The diverse members of the committee are as follows:
* Dr. Peter Ndiang’ui, Chair
* Beth Countryman, Vice Chair and Chair of the Socioeconomic Pillar
* Kathy Dupuy-Bruno, Esq., Organizing Secretary & Chair of Community Engagement and Education Pillar
* Neftali Feliciano, Treasurer
* Bev Larson, Events Coordinator
* Imam Mohammed Al-Darsani
* Melissa Biggs
* Martin Byrd
* Cole Caruso
* Leonardo Garcia
* Diana Girardo
* Michele Hylton-Terry
* Roy Kennix
* Pam LaRiviere
* Sunny Lubner
* Rev. CJ McGregor
* Dan O’Berski