Immokalee High School teacher Steve Becker will put his dedication to students to the test June 22 when he swims 12.5 miles in the open water surrounding Florida’s tropical island when he competes in the annual Florida Keys Community College Swim Around Key West.
Becker is swimming in support of The Immokalee Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to building pathways to success for the children of Immokalee through programs focused on education, vocation and life skills. Becker’s goal is to raise $5,000 for the organization.
This is Becker’s fourth swim in this strenuous event.
“Each time I swim in Key West, my times have steadily improved,” he said. “This year I hope to break five hours again.”
A swim race like this demands a strict training schedule and Becker logs a two-mile daily pool swim and a five-mile open-water swim each weekend in the Gulf of Mexico.
Becker’s commitment to The Immokalee Foundation (TIF) is much more than a 12.5 mile swim. His involvement spans several years. He is deeply dedicated to TIF’s career development program that helps students refine academic skills, guides them through a process of career goal setting and increases their knowledge of career opportunities. The program also infuses innovative ideas to attract students who seek alternative choices in their education.
Becker is also a mentor for The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children program where he is paired with a student who pledges to earn good grades, exhibit good behavior and meet weekly with their mentor. Students fulfilling the pledge are awarded with a full college scholarship upon high school graduation. The mentor’s role is to motivate the student to reach his or her potential and the assurance of a college education. Becker has committed to meet with his student weekly for about 45 minutes and attends school activities and other events, when necessary.
In August of 2012, The Immokalee Foundation opened the Deanna Franks Learning Center, thus launching its after-school tutoring program including an ACT preparation program for students needing remediation. Two days a week, Becker was able to use the new building’s classrooms to continue working with students throughout the academic year.
“This is the hardest job I’ve ever loved!,” he explained. “While working with the students I see their ongoing improvements. The excitement on their faces when they find out that they were accepted into a university is truly priceless.”
The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences, life skills development and economic independence. To learn more about TIF, the Charity Classic Celebration, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit The Immokalee Foundation's website.