‘LifePod’ Inventor Wins State Competition, Competes in Nationals

Following his victory at the Thomas Edison Regional Inventors Fair at Florida Gulf Coast University, 10-year-old Hayden Fuller proceeded to take home the trophy at state competition in Gainesville April 27. His first place finish in the elementary division also earned him a trip to Dearborn, Mich., to compete at the National Invention Convention.

Fuller, a Miromar Lakes resident, is entering fifth grade at Rayma C. Page Elementary School. He invented the “Life Pod,” a rapidly deployable, portable safety shelter for victims of natural disasters. The Life Pod would offer a highly insulated, climate controlled shelter for protection of the elderly or others in need following a hurricane or other weather emergency.

In addition to his Invention Convention success, Fuller recently was awarded a scholarship to attend a STEM camp at Florida SouthWestern State College for three weeks in July. He also participated in a class on entrepreneurship at Florida Gulf Coast University this summer.

To see how his Life Pod works, go online to YouTube and search for “LifePod Hayden Fuller.”

High School Entrepreneurs Compete in Friendly ‘Shark Tank’ at CEO Academy

Twenty-eight students from 12 area high schools recently spent a week learning what it takes to become successful business leaders, and some received scholarships for their winning ideas.

Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida’s CEO Academy, a weeklong summer camp led in partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship, was held in June at FGCU’s Emergent Technologies Institute. Student teams developed unique business concepts and comprehensive business plans, ultimately competing in a “Shark Tank” style competition for college scholarships. The experience was provided by proceeds from Junior Achievement’s Breaking Par at Grandezza golf event.

Under the guidance of local business leaders, entrepreneurs and FGCU professors, high school juniors and seniors learned about economics, entrepreneurship, ethics, finance, global economy, marketing and international trade. Participants in the academy were from Bishop Verot, Canterbury, Cape Coral, Cypress Lake, Dunbar, Estero, Fort Myers, Gulf Coast, Naples, Riverdale, South Fort Myers and St. John Neumann.

Junior Achievement awarded scholarships to each student on the winning teams. First place presentation, with a scholarship award of $1,000 per student, was team Remeny and second place, with a scholarship award of $500, was team Cool Climb. Team Remeny’s concept was an app that would connect teens anonymously with counselors in a private chat if they were needing someone to talk to. Team Remeny members were Sarah Jiang, Delanie DeVost, Arianna Addis, Jeremiah Dixon and Aidan March. The Cool Climb concept was a water bottle infiltration system backpack that would keep water cold, with a built-in infiltration system for soldiers or outdoor enthusiasts needing to fill water bottles from a stream, lake or water reservoir. Team members included Athenna Addis, Micah Wilkerson, Shannon Dougherty, James Prendiville and Cameron Spell.

Lee County Sheriffs Office Opens Community Outreach Center at Miromar Outlets

The new LCSO Community Outreach Center is located in Estero’s Miromar Outlets, unit 190, near the food court and play area. This satellite sheriff’s office will be home to a variety of community engagement programs such as Teen Driver Challenge, RAPID, SAFE and Deputy Dogs, just to name a few. This space will also serve as a meeting place for nonprofit organizations such as the Sheriff’s Youth Activities League, United Way and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The satellite office in Estero is a way to enhance the relationship between the Sheriffs Office and the community, explained Public Information Officer Caitlyn Mumma. Funds for this space have been donated by organizations and local businesses wishing to support the LCSO and its nonprofit partners. Regular office hours are from noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

West Bay Community Foundation Supports Local Nonprofits

Twenty-six Lee and Collier County nonprofit organizations received financial support — totaling $122,542 — from the West Bay Community Charitable Foundation (WBCCF) during the foundation’s annual grant reception in April. All West Bay residents were invited to attend the reception to hear first hand the needs of local children and families.

“West Bay residents have given generously again this year,” said Foundation President Anne Haley. They do this through individual donations and through special events like the golf tournament headed by Wayne Smith, and an auction and golf ball drop headed by Gail Chensoff.

Since its start five years ago, the foundation has contributed a total of $454, 942 to Southwest Florida nonprofits through the grant process. Additional funds are raised each fall for special holiday drives. Each year, WBCCF also endows a scholarship at Florida Gulf Coast University going to a first generation college student.

“The ‘giving season’ at West Bay is 12 months a year,” says Haley.

Shadow Wood Community Association Presents Maintenance Carts to Schools

The Shadow Wood Community Association recently presented a maintenance cart to Three Oaks Middle School and to Three Oaks Elementary School as part of Estero’s Education Initiative. The carts will be used by the Maintenance Department at each school for moving supplies around their campuses.

The Estero Educational Initiative was established to create a partnership between the Village of Estero and the School District of Lee County help make the schools in Estero the best they can be. It is the goal of this initiative to create a public/private partnership including local businesses, civic organizations, residents, parents and school staff to work together to encourage volunteerism in Estero’s schools and to raise funds to improve educational, recreational and esthetic experiences.

Zonta Club Presents College Scholarships

The Zonta Club of Bonita Springs-Estero recently presented three $3,000 and one $1,000 scholarship to four local high school seniors pursing higher education. Award recipients were Haley Driggers, Peyton Ellinger, Olivia Harper and Richlyn Radcliff (of Estero).

Zonta Club is known for its annual Woman of the Year fundraiser which recognizes a local woman who exemplifies the mission and values of the organization. The scholarship money comes from this annual luncheon event.

Also in June, the club named its new board of directors and officers for 2019-20: President Trish Leonard, Vice President Shannon Fitch, Co-treasurers Rosi Haller and Brooke Spencer, and Secretary Angela Elmore. Additional directors include Karen Berens, Susan Kadel, Julie Olander, Carol Sissman and past President Nancy Dalaskey. Also at the meeting, Kylie Troyer was inducted as a new member.