Fiddler’s Creek, Manatee Elementary celebrate 19-year partnership

In 1997, Fiddler’s Creek responded to Collier County Schools’ “Building Bridges” program by forming a partnership with nearby Manatee Elementary School in which residents of the master-planned community collected toys to help students in need have a brighter Christmas. Today, that partnership has flourished; while the community’s support still includes the toy drive, Fiddler’s Creek residents organize an annual school supply effort, collect funds through an annual Turkey Trot to help teachers purchase classroom supplies, and volunteer in classrooms as mentors and aides to work directly with kids in the Title I school.

Title I schools are those with a large enrollment or a high percentage of children from low-income families.
Last week, residents’ efforts were celebrated at Fiddler’s Creek by Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala, Collier County Public Schools Superintendent Kamela Patton, Manatee Elementary Principal Wendy Borowski, and school board members Kathy Curatalo and Roy Terry, who were among the luncheon’s 40 guests.

Aubrey Ferrao, CEO of Fiddler’s Creek, thanked his residents for their commitment and generosity and challenged communities throughout Collier County to adopt Title I schools. “Education is one of the most powerful, transformational advantages any child can have,” said Ferrao. “By helping our Title I kids be successful, we are strengthening the fabric of our communities, while helping to brighten the future for these students, their families – and for us all. I join with our education leaders in encouraging other communities and residents to adopt a Title I school, and to help nurture the students with your time, treasure and talents.”

“Our residents have made such a positive impact on the lives of Manatee Elementary students and their families because they feel it’s important to give back,” said Ron Albeit, general manager of Fiddler’s Creek. “We know there are other schools that would benefit from a similar partnership with a master-planned community.”

Last summer Fiddler’s Creek residents donated 59 backpacks, 10 uniforms, 39 pairs of shoes, 139 composition books, and enough school essentials to check off the back-to-school supply lists for dozens of Manatee Elementary students.

“Fiddler’s Creek has supported us for a long time, and the residents have seen the different needs we have had over the years,” said Borowski. “We can assure our children not to worry, that we will have what they need and that is because of what Fiddler’s Creek does for us.”

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