Meet Collette


Ensuring academic success is a top priority at Boys & Girls Club. As summer approaches, the Club’s dedicated team is working diligently to ensure that every member is on track for academic advancement and successful promotion.

At the heart of this commitment is Project Learn, a program providing dedicated time for staff members to guide students through homework and various academic tasks. This

structured approach instills discipline and provides essential support for members to excel in their coursework.

Illustrating this commitment at the Bolch Club is Ms. Soto, a Florida-certified and highly qualified teacher, who spearheads additional support in core subjects such as math, reading, and science. Her expertise enhances academic support initiatives, offering targeted assistance beyond Project Learn through remediation and tutoring support.

Character & Leadership Development

The Club celebrated Black History Month with inspiring stories of famous African Americans including Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman. Members delved into the struggles and triumphs of these figures, gaining insights into key moments in Black history.

The new Bolch Club Color Guard practices together.

Additionally, creative projects showcased and celebrated Black cultures. Nichols Club welcomed Chef Aaron from Inspired Cuisines to share the story behind Mac & Cheese, as well as the influence of African-American cuisine in our culture. A flavorful touch to the program was provided through an interactive Mac & Cheese station.

Teens at Bolch Club advocated for a new music and movement program. Taking the initiative, they organized a successful fundraiser, raising $583 to kickstart the program and acquire the necessary equipment. Beyond the financial achievement, their collaborative efforts showcased determination and the ability to work together toward a common goal. These young individuals are creating a Bolch Club Color Guard, as well as shaping their character and leadership capabilities for the future.

The Arts

The Spanish Club at our Bolch campus, led by Mr. Cruz, a Florida-certified Spanish teacher, is helping to immerse members in the exploration of traditional dances from diverse cultures. Under the guidance of Mr. Cruz and the Club’s dedicated Youth Development Professionals, young dancers actively incorporate new phrases and traditions into their daily sessions, demonstrating an eagerness to embrace the richness of Spanish culture.

Members of Opera Naples performing at Nichols Club

Youth arts class offers a delightful artistic journey for members. Inspired by Black artists, members recently engaged in a diverse range of projects, including origami, collage weaving, air-dry clay work, and painting techniques. At Nichols Club, Arts Instructor Ms. Victoria added a unique approach intertwining artistic exploration with lessons about several of the greatest artists, accompanied by the soothing tones of classical music.

Opera Naples visited Nichols Club to deliver a performance tailored for our kindergarten through 3rd grade members, presenting the children’s opera, “Stop, Bully!” Members were able to interact with the performers and engage in a question-and-answer session. The Club is grateful to Opera Naples, with its high-quality musical presentations, for bringing a unique and enriching cultural experience to our young audiences.

Health & Life Skills

In a significant step toward ensuring the well-being of our members and staff, program staff participated in essential training, provided by the Florida Department of Children & Families, on the administration of Naloxone (Narcan). This training equips our team with the knowledge and skills to respond effectively to opioid-related emergencies.

Program staff also recently completed CPR/First Aid/AED training and recertification through the American Red Cross, enhancing our emergency response capabilities.

Our partners from Counseling for Community Wellness provided training on available free mental health services. The sessions also focused on recognizing common indicators, ensuring our team is well-equipped to provide a safe and supportive environment.

Sports, Fitness & Recreation

The Athletic Department at Florida Gulf Coast University engaged with members for National Women & Girls in Sports Day.

At the Nichols campus, Women in Sports Wednesdays has been a success. The Club highlighted female athletes from various sports, creating a small ‘Women in Sports’ Hall of Fame to recognize pioneers in the field. The initiative reached its peak on February 7, coinciding with the celebration of National Women and Girls in Sports Day. Administrators and coaches from the Athletic Department at Florida Gulf Coast University engaged with members, sharing inspiring stories and participating in a panel discussion. This experience left our youngest members more confident and proud to be women in sports.

The excitement continues with ongoing sports clinics. Handball and baseball clinics taught members the fundamentals and rules of the sports. The goal of the sports clinics is to prepare members for competitive league play scheduled for March, fostering a love for sports and building a foundation for healthy competition among Club members.

College & Career Readiness

Youth of the Year 2024, Sarah from Immokalee High School.

Ten teens from both Clubs were nominated to compete for the Youth of the Year Academic Scholarship. These candidates engaged in public speaking activities and interviews in front of distinguished judges, with three finalists named. The 2024 Youth of the Year is Sarah from our 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Immokalee, which was announced at our Youth of the Year gala on March 1. The event raised $435,000 to support Boys & Girls Club.

The Club’s Diplomas2Degrees (D2D) program equipped members with financial knowledge for college, exploring resources such as loans, scholarships, grants, and college preparedness bank accounts. The program also delved into lifestyle reality checks, helping members envision post-college life and career paths.

The Club also actively supported the Collier County Public Schools Virtual Financial Aid Information Night, sharing crucial information with families, encouraging attendance, and facilitating participation. This initiative is part of the Club’s commitment to ensuring families are well-informed about financial aid opportunities for their students’ education.

Saturday, November 2, 2024

Fore-The-Kids Golf Tournament

at Club Pelican Bay

If you are interested in more information or sponsorship opportunities, please contact:

Carolyn Bongirno
Director of Development

Other Events To Note

  • April 25-27 State (Florida) Youth of the Year competition
  • May 2 – Senior celebration at Nichols Club
  • May 9 – Senior celebration at Bolch Club

Community Outreach Initiatives

We are proud to share positive news of our flourishing partnership with the Collier County Public Schools Department of Homeless Education.

Through recent collaborations, we’ve secured scholarships for 26 eligible youth for both spring and summer programs at Boys & Girls Club.

This initiative opens doors to educational opportunities for children and families who are, or are at risk of becoming, homeless and contributes to building a stronger, more inclusive community.

In our commitment to fostering family engagement through the 21st CCLC (The 21st Century Community Learning Center), a key initiative of Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, our Miracle Staff recently participated in Immokalee High School’s Transition Night, extending a warm welcome to the incoming 9th-grade class. During this event, we shared important tips with parents, equipping them with effective ways to make a successful transition from middle to high school. Together, we’re building a supportive community to ensure our youth’s success!