Achieve Plant City continues to pay for school materials with help of community
Ask Angelica Ibarra, and she’ll tell you that the Wine Tasting and Silent Auction fundraiser for Achieve Plant City was a success, collecting over $40,000, on Friday, Feb. 18.
She’s the executive director of the school and received financial assistance from those in attendance at the Trinkle Center of Hillsborough Community College Plant City campus.
Every year it is held to help fund the supplies and other educational material so that students can properly learn in their classrooms.
“The past 10 years have brought so many blessings for Achieve,” Ibarra said, addressing the audience. “There are so many helpers that have impacted and supported what we do with our children and families.”
Last year, not only did the school celebrate it’s 10-year anniversary, but it relocated to the Wesley Centre – a part of the First United Methodist Church of Plant City.
The four classrooms there are more spacious than its previous location.
One room is divided into two areas for the youngest kids. One section is for 2-year-olds and the other is for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds.
The goal is to teach these children to become readers before starting grade school.
Another room is used for after school programs for students from kindergarten to fifth-grade.
Then there is the technology room, which is equipped with electronics that may not be accessible at a student’s home.
At different stations are computers – helping to make lessons more understandable, as well as copiers and printers.
The fourth classroom is used for literacy and parenting courses. There, staff provides lessons for parents who have difficulty reading.
It also offers the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. This helps to break down the language barriers that may prevent adults from properly communicating when out in public.
Plus, it helps them communicate with their children who are already being taught English in their classrooms.
Also, it lessens the likelihood that their children will have translate to parents outside of home.
Parents become students just like their children so both can learn along the way.
Originally from Mexico, Ibarra and her family migrated to Texas in order to continue agricultural work and make ends meet.
They moved to Plant City where she became a mother and decided she didn’t want to repeat the family cycle of farming. Her family put education second to farm work, said Ibarra.
She got her GED, attended Hillsborough Community College, and ultimately received her bachelor’s degree in international studies at the University of South Florida.
Ibarra landed a job working for a credit card company, with a good salary and benefits.
However, she felt she was taking advantage of migrants who came to America, like herself, and decided to quit her job.
Ibarra decided that she would dedicate herself to empowering others and open a school.
Without a steady income from her or her husband, it was a struggle to get a learning institution off the ground. But after receiving grants and donations, she was able to establish Achieve and hire staff.
On the evening of the fundraiser, the sizable crowd was a testament of how much recognition and support the school has received for a decade.
Earlier this year, the Woman’s Club of Plant City also provided a donation to Achieve for students who cannot afford to enroll for classes.
That evening donors were able to take part in a silent auction and a raffle.
Some walked away with a four-course dinner, a wine basket, and a Gucci handbag.
Participants also had the opportunity to receive free wine tasting at the Roots Tap Room and Wine Bar, and cigars from the upcoming Bruton’s Cigar Shop.
Sophia Hyde of the Plant City Rotary Club offered words of inspiration before introducing Ibarra to the stage.
“It takes someone believing in you for you to believe in yourself many times,” Hyde said. “I watched it break the poverty cycle in families. When you become educated, you are empowered to get a job to change your life, to change your children’s lives, and dream bigger for them. It truly changes the family tree.”
Ibarra explained the success stories of those impacted by Achieve.
Some enrolled because their children were struggling in school, and they too received a decent education.
Others learned how to speak English, and there are those who started the program at age 3 and eventually began to read earlier than public schools teach at that level.
They were able to prosper, being gainfully employed or currently in college.
With this latest fundraiser, more students can have that opportunity as well.