The African Caribbean American Catholic Center (AFCAAM), a program that serves the black and other underserved populations in Lee County, is a part of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc.
AFCAAM strives to help people help themselves through the communication of Christian values and empowering programs that offer hope, challenge the culture, and promote self-reliance and human dignity.
There are two major programs at AFCAAM:
After School Reading Program
The After School Reading Program is offered in two locations: AFCAAM Center, 3681 Michigan Ave., Fort Myers and St. Columbkille’s Catholic Church, 12171 Iona Road, Fort Myers. This program provides over 300 hours of reading instruction and tutoring help to children enrolled in grades K-5 during the school year.
The program focuses on six objectives: developing a love and appreciation of reading; helping students become strong and independent readers; fostering students confidence, self esteem and self-reliance; promoting development of reading comprehension and thinking skills; providing a safe educational environment; and preparing students for future education and employment.
During the summer months, AFCAAM collaborates with the Florida Gulf Coast University, Department of Education, to offer an intensive summer reading camp. Florida Gulf Coast University supplies graduate level students that travel to AFCAAM for two weeks to work with selected AFCAAM After School Reading students who have been identified by their teachers during the year as needing extra help improving their reading skills.
AFCAAM offers the Straight Talk and Skills Mentoring Programs to middle and high school students. These group mentoring programs provide the support and motivation needed to help these teens stay on a positive course. The mentoring programs are dedicated to embracing and empowering students with knowledge, skills and abilities is to make good life choices.
The program works to build self-esteem, a desire for excellence, encourage creativity and develop leadership skills. Group mentors provide the support and motivation needed for youth to stay in school, stay off alcohol and drugs and remain out of the juvenile justice system. Mentors work with the youth, parents and schools to develop a team dedicated to helping each student succeed.
This year, Mentoring Programs were offered at two locations in addition to the AFCAAM Michigan Ave. site. AFCAAM Mentoring programs were also conducted at James Stephens Academy and Nations Association. All of these sites are in impoverished areas of Fort Myers. There were over 65 children served by our mentoring program in the past year.