Procacci Brothers' Santa Sweets Inc. and Gargiulo Inc. Hold Dedication Event for “Mainster Digital Literacy Program”
IMMOKALEE, FL - Affirming their commitment to community, growing their profile amongst increasingly-conscientious consumers, and working to ensure the success of the children of farmworkers; this week, Santa Sweets Inc. and Gargiulo Produce Inc. held a dedication ceremony for the “Mainster Digital Literacy Program.” The program is designed to support digital literacy initiatives for economically disadvantaged students in Collier County.
The two Procacci-family-owned farms committed to donate $5000 annually to both Redlands Christian Migrant Association and Pinecrest Elementary School, according to a company press release. The "Mainster Digital Literacy Program" was named after Barbara Mainster, retiring executive director of Redlands Christian Migrant Association.
“Barbara has been a tremendous friend to our companies, our workers and our industry,” said Joseph M. Procacci, Chief Operating Officer, Santa Sweets. “There is nothing more precious to us than our children. Her incredible leadership during her career has opened doors that weren’t previously there for our workers’ children. Our employees show up for work knowing that their kids are in great hands. Thank you Barbara. We wish you nothing but the best in your retirement!”
Opper hosted a virtual classroom tour during the event, demonstrating the many ways in which Pinecrest’s teachers are using iPads to increase student engagement, foster creativity, and make learning more enjoyable. The tour featured a gameshow-style science lesson for fifth grade students and a coding lesson where second graders programmed a robot to walk along a straight path.
Additional speakers at the event included Pinecrest Principal Dr. Susan Jordan, Santa Sweet COO Joseph Procacci, Naples Children & Education Foundation CEO Maria Jimenez-Lara, as well as Barbara Mainster.
— PinecrestSOARs (@PinecrestSOARS) October 8, 2015
The event was a celebration of Mainster, retiring Executive Director of Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA), her distinguished career as an educator and advocate for farmworker families, and a showcase of the enormous strides being made by Pinecrest’s students.
Mainster’s career boasts an impressive list of accomplishments. Over the course of Mainster’s career, she oversaw the expansion of the organization from three childcare centers in 1972 to its current scale—68 childcare centers and three charter schools; RCMA centers and schools now serve nearly 7,000 children in 21 counties across Florida.
“Every student now has the opportunity and responsibility to control their own learning. They are on track to be influential members of our increasingly digital society,” said Dylan Opper, Pinecrest Elementary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Coach. Opper said the donations have allowed Pinecrest to carry out “a strategic plan of STEM education goals for each grade level.”
Santa Sweets and Gargiulo began supporting digital literacy initiatives in Collier Countey in 2014, when Procacci learned that Pinecrest needed digital devices to support their STEM curriculum and increase students’ exposure to technology.
Nearly all of Pinecrest’s students are from economically disadvantaged households where English is a second language. The vast majority of these students lack access to digital learning opportunities at home. After an initial donation of five iPads yielded overwhelming results and praise from students, parents, and teachers alike; Santa Sweet and Gargiulo followed up with subsequent donations that quintupled Pinecrest’s number of iPads.
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