Greetings! We are well on our way into 2022 but wanted to share some of the success stories over the past few months that really show what an impact you and your support make. Together we are truly MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the lives of these children.

Please remember we would LOVE for you to come back and volunteer with the children. Please reach out to Mary Asta to learn more.
Juan Montes first came to GEC as an adorable kindergartner who loved playing with toy cars. Fast-forward 12 years and we are very proud to announce that Juan is enrolled in the Automotive Services Technology program at Lorenzo Walker Technical College. In this two-year program, students learn the skills necessary for careers in automotive maintenance including automotive electronics and air conditioning.

Because of Juan’s academic successes in high school, GEC helped him apply for, and obtain scholarships, that fully cover his tuition and expenses.

Juan became interested in cars at a young age and credits his Dad for inspiring him to pursue a career in the automotive industry. He recalls how his Dad sparked his passion by “showing me everything about cars.” Teaching him how to drive, change the oil and care for a vehicle. Juan also learned basic car maintenance and quickly became a problem solver. In order to pursue his passion, Juan knew he first needed different work experiences to prepare him for college and a future career in car mechanics
This past November, The Gargiulo Education Center lost a dear friend, donor and inspiration in Ray LaPierre. Ray was truly a bright and shining star, especially during the holidays. Most of our families struggle financially and are unable to provide their children with Christmas gifts. When Ray heard about this, he quietly made it his mission to ensure that all the kids had gifts on Christmas morning. Since 2018, Ray and his wife have championed this cause, rallying friends and neighbors. Even as his health declined, they made sure every child had presents.

To show their gratitude and celebrate Ray’s life, our students honored Ray and his legacy by performing a song at his wake. They practiced for weeks with Ms. Marilee, our Dramatic Arts teacher, learning the words and melody to Somewhere Over the Rainbow . . . READ MORE
The Benison Center, founded by Frank Rincon, is a clearinghouse for items that are donated to various charitable organizations throughout the region. Frank donated over 500 items that many families would not be able to afford on their own that filled the shelves of our GEC Rewards Store, which is organized and run exclusively by the students themselves. Students worked diligently to research costs, price, and display each item for sale. It's a valuable tool for our new Entrepreneurial Apprenticeship Program by teaching the children valuable retail, managerial and hospitality skills all helping to instill a work ethic as well as a sense of accomplishment.

Students were eager to earn and save their GEC laminated dollars in the weeks leading up to Christmas so they could buy that perfect gift for their loved ones. With their arms full of gifts, students had a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing they were able to provide gifts for everyone that they love and care about during this holiday season.

The gifts to teachers, family and friends were fantastic, but the education and valuable life skills our students received in the process was priceless.

Reserve your table “A Table at Le Cirque Seaside” Sunday, April 3, 2022 at the Ritz-Carlton Naples Beach Resort. 

Invitations to follow but as in the past, it will sell out so make reservations today.
If you have any questions about GEC and its many programs, please call Mary Asta at (239) 596-1975 or email her at
Please consider making a donation to the center and help our programs thrive. A donation to GEC is investing in the future well-being of not only the children but our community too.