In 2017, a quiet, 15-year-old young man from Naples entered the Taste of Immokalee (TOI) summer internship program.
It was the first time the youth entrepreneurship program expanded to include students outside of Immokalee, Florida, made possible by a grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. Breaking down the invisible boundaries that separate some of the State’s wealthiest and poorest communities, that summer marked a milestone for both the TOI program and for the 24 impressionable minds that would learn to run and operate a business alongside peers of differing socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
That young man was Sai Rachumalla. Now, after four years with TOI, Sai is graduating from Naples High School and likely heading off to an Ivy League campus in the fall to study at one of the country’s top engineering schools, with a particular interest in transportation engineering.
Sai’s list of accomplishments throughout his education years in Collier County are impressive. President of his school’s Academic World Quest team (2020 regional champions, 2019 medalists), a National Merit finalist, finalist in Collier County’s Spelling Bee, recognition at the State Science and Engineering Fair, a perfect ACT score and a 5.98 GPA, just to name a few. But as Sai reflects, he shares “academics have always been my strength and I was comfortable being a bookworm. But Taste of Immokalee has brought me out of my shell and taught me that there is more to life than books.”
Coronavirus. COVID-19. Social distancing. Self-quarantine. School from home. These are all terms or concepts that were unheard of just a couple of weeks ago and now they’ve become part of our new normal.
Young and old, we are all experiencing and adapting together. Through the challenges, I am so proud to share how your support helps us prepare our young entrepreneurs to rise above adversity not only in their personal lives, but also in business.
Through this crisis, they are learning more than we ever imagined.
While our thoughts and best wishes are with you and your families during these difficult times, I am hopeful that our student’s stories below will bring you five reasons to smile, knowing that your support is helping to shape these future business leaders.
Marie Capita, Executive Director
(Photos of the students contributing are included at the end of this article)
Spend a Day on the Green, and Change a Student's Life
With the success of last year's event, we are proud to announce our second annual Charity Golf Tournament. We encourage you to join us for a day of golf at the phenomenal Club at Olde Cypress, followed by a social event where you'll have the chance to meet the students involved in the program and hear how your support is transforming lives.
Event: Taste the Impact 2020 Charity Golf Tournament
Date: Sunday, May 17th, 2020
Location: The Club at Olde Cypress, 7165 Treeline Dr, Naples, FL 34119
*All proceeds benefit our Youth Entrepreneurship Program