Every year, students from Central Michigan University embark on a journey to a little town in Florida called Immokalee. This program allows student teachers to work in a diverse setting without ever leaving the country. The population of Immokalee is mainly migrant workers who pick and pack winter vegetables. Their day begins at 4:30 in the morning, and they labor in the sun making very little money. The poverty rate in Immokalee is 99.7% and all students qualify for free and reduced lunches. English is spoken in the schools although many of the younger students speak only Spanish or Creole and live with non-English speaking parents.
Why is this program important?
These student teachers will grow as educators by transplanting themselves into this diverse setting and putting their knowledge to work. The students, faculty, residents, and the Collier County School System are all very supportive of having Central Michigan University student teachers. This will be the 3rd year for this program and 60% of the past student teacher have secured full-time employment in the Immokalee School district upon graduation. In addition, all 15 of the past student teachers secured a teaching job upon graduation. Working with students of poverty and from different cultures adds a richness to their professional knowledge.
Why do we need funding?
This experience is not without cost, and, as college students, we are trying to raise funds to alleviate the financial pressures of this trip, and avoid taking out any further student loans. In addition to paying the tuition cost for 13 credits, students must pay an administrative fee, need money for gas to drive the 90 miles each day to get to the schools, and pay for our housing and food while there for 8 weeks. As student teachers, we are not eligible to receive a salary and cannot work part-time. Please help a CMU student have a unique and enriching experience by supporting this project today.