Published: Aug 03, 2010 8:44 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 03, 2010 3:31 PM EDT

IMMOKALEE, Fla. – The Martin Foundation has awarded $40,000 to Immokalee Community School, enough to expand the school’s summer and after-school programs to accommodate an extra 28 students.

The school, operated by Redlands Christian Migrant Association, targets the children of low-income farmworkers. It helps them overcome disadvantages of poverty, language and migration as their families follow crop cycles. Extra attention outside normal school hours has proven effective in helping these children progress.

“It is clear RCMA is serving one of the most at-risk populations of students in Collier County,” said Geraldine Martin, president of the 57-year-old Naples, Fla.-based foundation.

“We are so honored to have received support from the Martin Foundation,” said Maria Jimenez, RCMA’s Director of Charter Schools. “This contribution means we will be able to maintain a high level of quality in our after-school program and offer much-needed summer support too.”

Over recent years, only a third of Immokalee’s children – but 80 percent of those at Immokalee Community School – have enjoyed access to after-school services. The Martin Foundation grant could push the ICS number beyond 90 percent.

ICS is one of two charter schools operated by Immokalee-based RCMA; the other school is Wimauma Academy, serving the farming areas south of Tampa.

RCMA is a 45-year-old non-profit corporation that also operates 79 rural child-care centers in 21 Florida counties, serving nearly 8,000 preschool children each year.