Local Dads Volunteer with Kids, Community


By D.K. Christi


Vince Modarelli and his wife Natalie with son Vincent and daughter Sophia at Estero High School

Vince Modarelli and his wife Natalie with son Vincent and daughter Sophia at Estero High School

What images does “Father’s Day” bring to mind? Historical terms like “breadwinner” or “provider” are not quite enough for today’s father who provides more than financial support. Many fathers make big contributions outside of their work which may go unnoticed while they do what comes naturally — support their family and their community.

Today’s dad is less likely to drop into a comfy recliner with the newspaper after a hard day’s work and more likely to be at the athletic field. Take, for instance, Vince Modarelli, recently named “The Voice of Estero High School Girls’ Lacrosse team,” despite not knowing much about the game.

How did this happen? His 16-year-old daughter, Sophia, invited her dad to watch her lacrosse games. Wanting to support his daughter, he said “yes” when asked to announce at the games – just another night in the life of an involved father.

“I found that the local schools attended by my children provided them with the education and activities they needed to be successful in their future goals,” said Modarelli, who also has a son studying at the University of Central Florida.

The Modarelli family at Siesta Key

The Modarelli family at Siesta Key

He and his wife, Natalie, kept a pulse on the schools through volunteer work, including serving as testing monitors. Modarelli also participated in the Rotary Interact club, and he received the Volunteer of the Year award from the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce (SWFL Inc.).

Vincent and Natalie came to Florida from Youngstown, Ohio. Down south, Modarelli spent 23 years in the newspaper business, many of those years managing advertising for The News-Press Bonita Springs office. He and Natalie made a conscious lifestyle choice to prioritize living in a family friendly community and teaching their children the value of service over self.

“My children got a taste of working for their community as they hammered and painted for Habitat for Humanity,” said Modarelli, who left his sales career to go into gift development for the nonprofit organization.

Two years ago, Modarelli became Florida Gulf Coast University’s Director of Annual and Leadership Giving.

“I don’t ask for money as a fundraiser,” he said. “I share information about all the wonderful and exciting things that a donation will cover at this young and growing university.”

He values relationships over accumulation of things, and his family life is enhanced by friends who share the same values. The Modarellis have vacationed for years at Florida’s Siesta Key. Now a range of friends and relatives join them on the beach. Among those friends is Jason Pavich and his family.


The ‘Virtual Office’ of An Engaged Dad


Jackson_ Kylee_ Jami_ McKenzie_ Jason and Zachary Pavich

Jackson_ Kylee_ Jami_ McKenzie_ Jason and Zachary Pavich

Pavich is a local real estate agent and an active Rotary Club member who, like Modarelli, is involved in the Rotary Interact program at Estero High School. He created his own virtual office — basically anywhere his phone might ring, especially in his car. Virtual for Pavich includes a real office, his home office, fishing outings with his children, community events or his daughter’s volleyball games.

“I remember a couple cruises without phone communication — it was strange and worth doing again,” he said. One was his honeymoon.

Phone communication is Pavich’s magic connection that makes it possible for him to succeed in a demanding real estate career while sharing all the joys of family life in his Estero community.

He’s also a bit of a local celebrity who is often recognized while out with family or friends. His father, Joe Pavich, Sr., started the family real estate business in Estero.

“I graduated from Estero High School, went immediately into the family real estate business and followed my dad into an Estero real estate market of about a thousand residents at the time,” Pavich said.

A second magic connection is Pavich’s best friend and childhood sweetheart whom he married at the age of 24 after a long courtship — since they met in eighth grade. He and Jami won’t be facing an empty nest any time soon with four children ages 6 to 18, but two have driver’s licenses now. Even with three teens, they manage family vacations and dinner together every evening — Jami’s family mandate.

His virtual office not only helps his business succeed, but, on the flipside, it provides flexibility for him to attend his children’s after-school sports, Pavich said. He is also enjoying increased involvement in the community through Rotary initiatives.

“I became involved with the Rotary Interact Club at my alma mater, Estero High School, with memories of where I began,” he said.

Working with youth there brings him full circle. Rotary offers opportunities for multiple charity and community events throughout the year. He and his family especially like to attend Estero Fest for a great time with their Estero neighbors.

“For me, family always comes first, and there will be nothing more important than that,” he said. “We believe in treating our neighbors as we would wish them to treat us — the old adage about what goes around comes around.”

The long friendship and mutual love between him and Jami is the strength that bolsters everything their family does, he adds. “Pinch me,” he jokes of his good fortune.

When questioned about the greatest peaks in his career, they are not the sales awards or even the financial benefits of success (though they are appreciated). Instead, he talks about the life-long relationships he’s built with customers. He relishes the appreciative hugs and handshakes he receives from people he’s helped to find homes.

He still finds time for plenty of family experiences — road trips, fishing, watching movies, beach vacations and even a cruise or two. They also enjoy going out on the water with friends.

With Father’s Day on the horizon, Pavich is grateful for the many pieces that come together to form his one, beautiful life. It may look like juggling sometimes, and a ball may drop occasionally, but it is the complexity and the completeness of his life that make it all worth celebrating.

Modarelli and Pavich are just two examples of modern fathers who “do it all.” They aim to give their families a balanced life which includes setting goals, instilling family values, and serving the community.

Happy Father’s Day to all of Estero’s amazing dads!

Jason Pavich (far right) and fellow Rotarians at the 2023 Christmas tree sale in Bonita Springs

Jason Pavich (far right) and fellow Rotarians at the 2023 Christmas tree sale in Bonita Springs

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