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FGCU New Mental Health Facility

Donor Spotlight: Dr. Alise Bartley is Supporting Students & Affordable Mental Health Access for Southwest Florida Residents

Florida ranks 44th in the nation when it comes to offering services that provide mental health access. The demand for affordable mental health services in our area continues to grow, and there aren’t enough places in the community to meet the need. FGCU plans to address this need with a new mental health facility and counseling center which will open next year. 

One of our Earn to Learn FL ™ supporters; FGCU Associate Dean Dr. Alise Bartley, was the person who laid the groundwork for the center.

The thing that’s going to make us unique is that we’re not going to accept insurance. Our fee is going to be $25 or whatever you make an hour, whichever is less.” Says, Dr. Alise Bartley 

The new mental health facility will provide access to underserved communities, children and families at little to no cost. Watch the story below to learn more about the project.


Turning a dark experience into a drive for the future

Two years ago, Yuzellie Garcia decided to return to school to become the person she needed when she was a child.

I graduated in 2012 and spent a few years not knowing what I wanted to do,” said Ms. Garcia.

But when it finally came time to decide what to do, Ms. Garcia sought purpose and meaning from her childhood experiences. Her upbringing wasn’t easy. She grew up in a single parent household with three siblings. Her mom worked three jobs and struggled to make ends meet. She also experienced sexual and emotional abuse.

I’m studying what I’m studying because of the sexual and emotional abuse I endured. Things like being locked in a dark closet all day and growing up with shame, self-blame and guilt. Thinking it was my fault, and not having anyone there to show me that what was going on wasn’t OK, and it wasn’t my fault,” Ms. Garcia said.

She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice; she will be attending Florida State University this summer to study criminology and criminal justice and hopes to use her education to work in the human trafficking field. Her journey has led her to find a very clear purpose — to help children who are struggling with abuse. Children in low-income homes, who may be at risk. Children who may need a mentor like herself.

Ms. Garcia is on the path to fulfilling her goal thanks to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation Earn to Learn FL Program. Earn to Learn FL helps low-to-moderate income students earn a higher education with little or no student debt. It’s a simple formula that combines mandatory student savings with financial aid, required financial literacy training and success coaching. Through the program, Ms. Garcia has been able to secure $9,000 to fund her education. She has saved $1,000 of her funds and received an $8,000 match supported by the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation and local partners like the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

“The Earn to Learn experience has been amazing; it’s so easy. The application was very fast. The lengthiest thing was the financial literacy course, but that was helpful. It wasn’t something that you would dread to do. The Women’s Foundation worked with me and my circumstances,” said Ms. Garcia.

For students like Ms. Garcia, education is much more than a simple degree. It’s a way to serve and fulfill their purpose. To pay it forward so that future generations have the opportunity to thrive.

Click HERE To support our Earn to Learn Program


It’s International Women’s Day. Here’s How We’re Pledging for Parity #IWD2016

It's International Women's Day. Here's How We're Pledging for Parity #IWD2016

Women around the world are main contributors to to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. We have made countless strides in the past years towards achieving equality. However, it is predicted that:

  • Global gender party will not be achieved until 2095
  • The gender gap will not close until the year 2133.

This is why we celebrate International Women’s Day #IWD2016 – To #Pledgeforparity and commit to taking concrete steps to help achieve the worldwide goal of gender parity.

We are pledging for parity by:

  • Providing local women entrepreneurs with the funds they need to grow their business
  • Investing in causes that benefit local women and girls
  • Advocating for laws and policies that protect women

You can help too!

Make a pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity –

  • Call for gender balanced leadership
  • Empower women and girls with the tools they need to achieve their ambitions.
  • Promote a culture of acceptance, free of gender biases.
  • Become a leader within your sphere of influence and commit to taking action to promote gender parity.

Tell us how you plan to pledge for party by using the hashtags #Pledgeforparity #IWD2016

To celebrate, check out this fun compilation of quotes by powerful women who dared to make their own destiny!