Throughout its history in the Fort Myers, Florida, area, the Uncommon Friends Foundation has become known as a leader in business ethics and character development. In 2008, the foundation launched its Legacy Speaker Series, designed to bring together individuals who embody the mission and vision of the Uncommon Friends Foundation.
The first Legacy Speaker Series welcomed renowned news anchor Tom Brokaw to southwest Florida to educate, motivate, and inspire. Since then, the series has included a broad range of guests who demonstrate characteristics such as exemplary leadership to be emulated by youth, a spirit of adventure, and a desire to improve quality of life. In the same vein, Legacy Speakers have often dedicated themselves to the advancement of fields such as visual and performing arts, business and industry, and science and technology. In recent years, the Legacy Speaker Series has included speakers such as broadcaster Walter Cronkite, former congressman and CIA director Porter Goss, and authors Reeve Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
In its October 2014 newsletter, the Uncommon Friends Foundation announced that it would be updating its Character Education Curriculum for 2015. A committee of teachers from Lee County will work with the Lee County School District’s support to rewrite the curriculum, which Uncommon Friends hopes to incorporate into every classroom in southwest Florida. The nonprofit has set a goal of making the new curriculum ready for implementation by January 2015.
Uncommon Friends believes that good character must be taught and that it forms an essential part of the groundwork of a prosperous society. The foundation’s curriculum offers lessons on honesty, friendship, cooperation, and perseverance for students starting in grade three and continuing through high school. The curriculum is currently based on lessons gleaned from a book written by James Newton titled Uncommon Friends. It meets Florida’s educational standards and can be adapted for those of other states, and educators who excel in using it are eligible for Uncommon Friends’ annual Character Education Teacher Award.
In addition to providing character-education curricula for students in grades 3 through 12, the Uncommon Friends Foundation of Fort Myers, Florida, supports education by administering a number of scholarships. Amounts awarded range from a few hundred dollars to two years of prepaid tuition at a state college. The scholarships include the following:
The Lee County Bar Association Scholarship
Worth $1,000, the Lee County Bar Association Scholarship goes to a student who has entered a program that will lead to a law degree at a Florida college or university. It is awarded in recognition of achievements in high school as well as excellence in mock trial competition.
The Florida Prepaid College Foundation Scholarship
In cooperation with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation, Uncommon Friends offers a two-year scholarship that pays tuition and local fees. The scholarships are awarded to promising ninth-grade students who meet contractual obligations in terms of academic performance, social criteria, and more.
The Future Teacher Scholarship
Students who have matriculated in a program that will lead to an education degree are eligible for Uncommon Friends’ Future Teacher Scholarship, an award of $400.
For full details, or to see the rest of Uncommon Friends’ scholarship opportunities, visit http://www.uncommonfriends.org.