Blog

10 Apr
0

It’s A Wrap! 2017 FVI Golf Charity ClassicTar

On a beautiful Saturday morning over 100 participants came out to the glorious Grandezza Golf and Country Club to participate in the 6th Annual FVI Charity Golf Classic.  With many silent auction items, raffle items and lively competition, the event was a sight to behold!

 

Congratulations to our winners:

Closest to the Pin (Women):   Tara McKenna – 18′ 10″
Closest to the Pin (Men): Michael Whiteneck – 7′ 2″
Longest Drive (Women):  Karen Kranec
Longest Drive (Men):  Huston Muzio

Team Winners

1st Place – 49.8

Chris Dwyer, Dustin Felton, Fed Farrell and Mike Slamka

2nd Place – 52.6

David Vasquez, Tara McKenna, Megan Clipse and Rick Pense

3rd Place – 53.6

Luke Farmer, Mike Claman, Jordan Howell and Rick Cecil

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seedlings
22 Mar
0

Countdown to the Golf Classic

Time is running out to get your team registered for the greatly anticipated 6th Annual Charity Golf Classic being held on Saturday, April 8th from 7:30 am to 2 pm at Grandezza Golf and Country Club, located at 11481 Grande Oaks Boulevard in Estero. Proceeds from this effort will go to fund and expand FVI’s Self Reliance Club project, which includes elementary and middle schools in Lee and Collier County.  This initiative provides students with the opportunity to earn money for school and other education related supplies through the achievement of goals, school performance, extra-curricular activities like urban farming, and volunteerism; achievement and reward that comes from initiative, hard work and self-reliance.

Registration begins at 7:00 am the day of the tournament and the event includes a continental breakfast, 18 holes of golf at one of the best and most challenging course in southwest Florida, catered lunch, awards and a short program.

Grandezza 6th Annual Golf

“This event has become one that our supporters don’t want to miss and also provides an insight to people unfamiliar with our organization”, states Ismael Hernandez, Executive Director of the Institute. “Registration is now available on our website”. The scramble format is popular and golfers of all ages and skill levels participate. Grandezza is an incredible site and the day promises to be memorable for everyone involved.

Register today!

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14 Feb
0

Why Good Intentions Are Not Enough

A Deeper Look Into Poverty

by Ismael Hernandez

One day, while sitting at my AFCAAM Center ministry desk, I noticed some young people coming to receive food from our pantry. It dawned on me that we had been giving food to their parents for many years, and now, here they were as adults for food for themselves. Was I—had I been—truly helping, or had I unwittingly become a cog in a machine that perpetuated the bondage of dependency without altering the substance of their existence?
The experience has stayed with me over the years as a reminder that good intentions are not enough. When it comes to service for the poor, we often respond first emotionally, from the heart, and then move into action, via the muscle, without challenging our assumptions. My assumption was that I was doing the best I could to help the poor. Yet, this underlying belief was fraught with the perils of protagonism. After all, we—those trying to meet the needs of the poor–often conform ourselves to models of service in which we become heroes while the poor recede into the background scenery. At times, we might inadvertently contribute to systems that view the poor as passive recipients of our magnanimity instead of creating new paradigms in which we recede to the periphery of action and become witnesses of the effort of beautiful people building their own lives. If only our trust in the poor to determine their own lives matched our pity for them, what a life-changing difference we could make in the lives of the poor!

That is why I believe that the most important question is not that of what causes poverty but rather the question of what causes human flourishing? What is it that moves people to engagement, risk, struggle, and effort? What motivates them to see the obstacles they face only as the context against which their dignity emerges triumphant?
The Freedom & Virtue Institute, which I founded seven years ago, is built upon the bedrock of human flourishing and is dedicated to the promotion of human dignity, individual liberty, and economic initiative. That dignity emerges organically when opportunity meets dedication and when the human person is placed at the center of our focus and efforts. “How may I help you?” is not the greeting we should offer the poor. “We believe in you, we need you!” is the best encouragement we can offer them to be the protagonists of their own lives.

SRC-logoWe accomplish these overarching goals through a series of initiatives, one being The Self-Reliance Club. Active in public schools, the club embraces activities already underway and brings forth their entrepreneurial value. Students work in gardens, the arts, and other endeavors and earn money for their work. We teach them basic economics and at the end of the school year, we take a field trip to Achieve Credit Union or BB&T Bank where we present them their earnings, in the form of a grant, and they each open his/her own bank account. They can use the savings to buy their school supplies and backpacks, instead of getting them handed to them. There is something extraordinarily powerful in earned success and accomplishment that simply is not present in learned helplessness. Students see the value of work and are able to connect their achievement to reward. This year we are excited to be conducting our first Young Entrepreneurs Fair.

The Dignity of Work Initiative is another of our projects. This church-based initiative assists the long-term unemployed through training, and mentoring. God designed us for work, as an expression of our devotion to our “neighbors” and to Him. But what if—for any reason—a person is out of work? A loss of a job often equates to a loss of a sense of purpose and entrenches vicious cycles of dependency and poverty—I am convinced that the poor do not want this. Christians are engaged in helping the poor, but their efforts are often centered onDignityogWork-logo providing food, clothing, and shelter. Worthy endeavors, all. Sixty-two percent of churches operate these kinds of programs, while only two to four percent provide services that lead to employment for those out of work. We want people to receive all the help they can; our initiative simply shifts the paradigm by prioritizing the inherent dignity of the poor and their God-given need to work.

Lastly, our Effective Compassion Training helps non-profits and churches here in Southwest Florida and across the country discover and implement the “seven principles of effective compassion.” By being grounded in sound principles that offer a sound basis to promote ectflourishing, we begin in the mind—with an intelligent and dispassionate assessment of the deeper human needs—then the heart and lastly the muscle. We explore the principles used in the past by people of goodwill when there were no government-run programs. These principles, adapted to present conditions, are still profoundly and vitally important.
The Freedom & Virtue Institute is committed to a new way forward—based on perennial truths—as we look to the problems of poverty. Please contact me if you want to know more about any of FVI’s initiatives.

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stitcher-header-logo
14 Jan
0

Jody Carroll Interviews Ismael Hernandez

Ismael Hernandez, an Everyday Hero

everyday herosThe Everyday Heroes Project, a Stitcher on demand radio broadcast, featured founder and president of the Freedom Virtue Institute on Friday, January 13th. Jody Carroll interviewed Mr. Hernandez in an in-depth look at life growing up in Puerto Rico as a staunch believer in the communist philosophy and socialist party. Hear his transformation from communism to democracy and how the seeds of freedom were planted and forever changed his life.

Stitcher, allows you to ‘stitch’ together your favorite shows into customized station playlists and save them for easy access. Create a news playlist for your morning commute, and a comedy playlist for the weekends. Browse or search through over 65,000+ different shows, or select a pre-set station from Stitcher’s editors like Top 20 Comedy shows, Top 20 News & Politics shows and much more.

#FVI #IsmaelHernandez

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FVI Torch-Small Logo
06 Jan
0

Advisory Board Welcome Luncheon & Presentation

By Invitation Only

FVI-logoHonored guests are invited to attend the 2017 Advisory Board Welcome Luncheon and Presentation to be held Friday, February 3rd from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in the Rosemary Room at KJ’s Fresh Grill located at 10950 S Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers, FL.

During our welcome luncheon, we will have a short program reviewing what we have accomplished over the past few years and what are plans and goals are for 2017.

Please RSVP below.

RSVP

RSVP for events or invitations

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Hooley at the Heights
05 Jan
0

Become a Sponsor Today!

We need you!  Calling for sponsors and raffle item donations.

The Freedom & Virtue Institute is calling for all businesses and individuals in the SW Florida to become a sponsor for Hooley at the Heights. This fundraising concert is taking place on Thursday, March 9, 2017, featuring The Screaming Orphans in a limited seating engagement. We are raising funds for FVI’s programs and missions.  The event will be held at The Heights Foundation, located at 15570 Hagie Drive in Fort Myers. VIP and general admission tickets are on sale now!

hooleyposter-small

You might be asking, if you are a suitable sponsor or perhaps a raffle donation participant. Perhaps answering a few of these questions can help clarify that:

  • Does empowering children mean something to you?
  • Is it important to teach our children through their own actions to become self-reliant?
  • Should we help stop the entitlement or bailing out philosophy that seems to run rampant into today’s society?
  • Could young people make better choices if exposed to the free market and learn about it through experience?
  • Would you like to reach an audience of like-minded individuals?

If your answer is yes to any of the above questions, we invite you to become a sponsor at FVI’s Inaugural Hooley at the Heights today.

seedlings

Join Ismael Hernandez, the Board of Directors and our loyal supporters at the 2017 Hooley at the Heights. Hooley at the Heights will also feature a VIP to meet and greet with the band The Screaming Orphans, celebrity MC, as well as our founder and author, Ismael Hernandez available to our Title, Gold and Silver sponsors, as well as VIP ticket holders. Tickets start at $75 per person. Included in the ticket price are 10 drink tickets, dinner and the concert.

There will be themed food, specialty drinks, live music, raffles and more. This is an evening you don’t want to miss. VIP is from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm; doors will open to ticket holders at 7:15 pm.

For more information, click HERE to visit our website or email Angeli at angeli@fvinstitute.org.

About The Freedom and Virtue Institute

The Freedom & Virtue Institute believes in fostering attitudes and leading initiatives that build off the principle of creating self-reliance among underprivileged children and individuals enduring hardship that wish to better their situations and live a dignified, self-sustainable life. Presently, the Freedom & Virtue Institute conducts two unique causes: The Self-Reliance Clubs, Dignity of Work Initiative and the Effective Compassion Training programs.

About The Self-Reliance Clubs

srcThe Self-Reliance Clubs exist to educate the next generation to understand that they are the champions of their own lives. Through their own initiative, ingenuity, and hard work, they will realize that they have the power to determine the direction of their future. Self-Reliance Clubs are set up in schools to provide under-privileged students with the opportunity to work in various entrepreneurship initiatives, learn economics, earn money, and gain self-esteem and a sense of individual freedom.  The ‘money’ earned can then be used to purchase school supplies, equipment, and clothing.

About Dignity of Work Initiative

dignityofwork-logoThe Dignity of Work Initiative of the Freedom & Virtue Institute is a church-based initiative that involves volunteers and employers in assisting people in getting meaningful employment. We utilize the Jobs for Life (JfL) curriculum. Jobs for Life is a global nonprofit organization that engages and equips the local Church to address the impact of joblessness through the dignity of work. By mobilizing a worldwide network of volunteers committed to applying biblically-based training and mentoring relationships, Jobs for Life helps those in need find dignity and purpose through meaningful work.

About Effective Compassion Training

ectThe Freedom & Virtue Institute’s Effective Compassion Training program is designed to offer a detailed exploration of the realities of poverty and to equip participants with practical and meaningful tools to address these struggles. At the Freedom & Virtue Institute, individuals and organizations are shown the impact of their actions on their local communities, with the ultimate goal of bringing change in the internal culture of organizations participating in poverty-alleviation work.

For more information on how you can help, visit www.fvinstitute.org or call (239) 240-9393.

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15 Dec
1

Not Tragically Colored Listed In 2016 Top 10 Best Books

A Non Fiction Novel on Racial Reconciliation and Racial Tensions

Ismael Hernandez, Author of the bestselling novel Not Tragically Colored: Freedom, Personhood, and the Renewal of Black America is shedding light and a new perspective on racial reconciliation and racial tensions in America. It has been listed as the number five best book in 2016 by The Gospel Coalition.

As reviewer Kevin DeYoung states “This book—written by a Black, Puerto Rican, Catholic conservative—presents a vision for renewal that is opposed to the prescriptions found in much of the “racialist” literature (his term). The gist: ‘The fact is that one can stand side by side with another person in the binding principle that racism is evil and, at the same time, be far apart in one’s analysis of specific policy and social issues’ (p 147).

Ismael Hernandez is also the founder and president of the Freedom & Virtue Institute. The goal of the Freedom & Virtue Institute is to develop and execute programs that focus on self-reliance and empowerment for young people, churches, civic organizations, and businesses.

FVIlogo

About The Freedom and Virtue Institute

The Freedom & Virtue Institute believes in fostering attitudes and leading initiatives that build off the principle of creating self-reliance among underprivileged children and individuals enduring hardship that wish to better their situations and live a dignified, self-sustainable life. Presently, the Freedom & Virtue Institute conducts three unique causes: The Self-Reliance Clubs, Dignity of Work Initiative and the Effective Compassion Training programs. In pursuing our goals, the institute does not support/endorse any specific political party or candidates, but instead looks at the “big picture” and the role of government in our society. We believe human freedom and private initiative in local communities are the best instruments to create lasting positive change in our society

The Self-Reliance Clubs exist to educate the next generation to understand that they are the champions of their own lives. Through their own initiative, ingenuity, and hard work, they will realize that they have the power to determine the direction of their future.

Self-Reliance Clubs are set up in schools to provide under-privileged students with the opportunity to work in various entrepreneurship initiatives, learn economics, earn money, and gain self-esteem and a sense of individual freedom.  The ‘money’ earned can then be used to purchase school supplies, equipment, and clothing.

The Dignity of Work Initiative of the Freedom & Virtue Institute is a church-based initiative that involves volunteers and employers in assisting people in getting meaningful employment. We utilize the Jobs for Life (JfL) curriculum. Jobs for Life is a global nonprofit organization that engages and equips the local Church to address the impact of joblessness through the dignity of work. By mobilizing a worldwide network of volunteers committed to applying biblically-based training and mentoring relationships, Jobs for Life helps those in need find dignity and purpose through meaningful work.

The Freedom & Virtue Institute’s Effective Compassion Training program is designed to offer a detailed exploration of the realities of poverty and to equip participants with practical and meaningful tools to address these struggles.

At the Freedom & Virtue Institute, individuals and organizations are shown the impact of their actions on their local communities, with the ultimate goal of bringing change in the internal culture of organizations participating in poverty-alleviation work. For more information on how you can help, visit www.fvinstitute.org or call (239) 240-9393.

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pattyhat
10 Nov
0

Save The Date – The Screaming Orphans at Hooley at the Heights

The Screaming Orphans Performing to Benefit The Freedom and Virtue Institute (FVI)

Hooley at the Heights is a Limited Seating Engagement to Raise Funds for FVI’s Mission and Programs

Hooley at the Heights, taking place on Thursday, March 9, 2017, will feature The Screaming Orphans in a limited seating engagement to raise funds for The Freedom and Virtue Institute’s (FVI) mission and programs, including but not limited to the Self-Reliance Program. The event will be held at The Heights Foundation, located at 15570 Hagie Drive in Fort Myers. Advance tickets will go on sale in December.

hooley-at-the-heights

Self-Reliance Clubs are set up in schools to provide under-privileged students with the opportunity to work in various entrepreneurship initiatives, learn economics, earn money, and gain self-esteem and a sense of individual freedom.  The money earned can then be used to purchase school supplies, equipment, and clothing. “Right now, we have seven Self-Reliance Clubs operating out of Florida and have received requests from parents and schools to expand our clubs to Chicago, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Miami,” shares Founder and President, Ismael Hernandez. “In addition to setting up more Self-Reliance Clubs in the Charlotte, Lee and Collier county areas, we want this to be a national program and we are honored to have The Screaming Orphans join us in our endeavor to raise funds for these projects.”

stairs-borderThe Screaming Orphans are four sisters from County Donegal, Ireland. Angela, Gráinne, Joan and Marie Thérèse Diver draw on a diverse set of influences ranging from Simon and Garfunkel, The Bangles to The McNulty Family, with a strong focus on melody-driven songs with pop and rocks strains. If you are wondering about the name, a friend of Joan’s came up with it, “…We loved the name because we were going out on the road on our own and we were leaving behind our Mam who had been our lead singer for years and our Da who was our manager/sound engineer and so we became ‘orphans.’ The ‘screaming’ bit is what usually occurs when surrounded by family and we are known to hit certain high notes that could be interpreted as scream-like. That and our secondary school used to be an orphanage,” shared Gráinne Diver.

Hooley at the Heights will feature a VIP to meet and greet with the band, celebrity MC and founder and author, Ismael Hernandez. Food, specialty drinks, raffles and more. This is an evening you don’t want to miss. VIP is from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, doors will open to ticket holders at 7:15 pm. Mark your calendars and join the Freedom and Virtue Institute on March 9th for a musically fantastic, FUNdraising good time!

Corporate and individual sponsorships are available. For more information, please visit the website at http://www.fvinstitute.org/event/hooley.

About The Freedom and Virtue Institute

The Freedom & Virtue Institute believes in fostering attitudes and leading initiatives that build off the principle of creating self-reliance among underprivileged children and individuals enduring hardship that wish to better their situations and live a dignified, self-sustainable life. Presently, the Freedom & Virtue Institute conducts two unique causes: The Self-Reliance Clubs and the Effective Compassion Training programs.

About The Self-Reliance Clubs

The Self-Reliance Clubs exist to educate the next generation to understand that they are the champions of their own lives. Through their own initiative, ingenuity, and hard work, they will realize that they have the power to determine the direction of their future. Self-Reliance Clubs are set up in schools to provide under-privileged students with the opportunity to work in various entrepreneurship initiatives, learn economics, earn money, and gain self-esteem and a sense of individual freedom.  The ‘money’ earned can then be used to purchase school supplies, equipment, and clothing.

About Effective Compassion Training

The Freedom & Virtue Institute’s Effective Compassion Training program is designed to offer a detailed exploration of the realities of poverty and to equip participants with practical and meaningful tools to address these struggles. At the Freedom & Virtue Institute, individuals and organizations are shown the impact of their actions on their local communities, with the ultimate goal of bringing change in the internal culture of organizations participating in poverty-alleviation work. For more information on how you can help, visit www.fvinstitute.org or call (239) 240-9393.

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26 Oct
0

New Director of PR and Marketing to FVI

The Freedom and Virtue Institute Hires Angeli Chin as Marketing and Business Development Consultant

Founder and Executive Director Ismael Hernandez is pleased to welcome Angeli Chin of Masterful Communications, LLC to The Freedom and Virtue Institute (FVI) family. Ms. Chin will initiate, develop, and execute marketing strategies and tactics related to public relations, database and business development and management, external and internal communications, fundraising, press relations, website updates and events.

angelichinMs. Chin has a diverse background in graphic design, interactive media, project management and marketing. She has earned several degrees from New York University, and Southwest Florida College including Graphic Design, Computer Animation and Multimedia, Marketing and Management. She earned a Master of Science degree in Education Media Design and Technology at Full Sail University. Angeli Chin has served on committees for various charitable and industry organizations such as La Leche League (international presenter, mentor and Leader), Gay Men’s Health Crisis, March of Dimes and the American Cancer Society, PACE Center for Girls, using her expertise as a Public Relations, Marketing, and Media Professional to help these groups grow and shine within the community. She is the founder of the Zumbathon fundraising event for Relay for Life Fort.

Currently, Ms. Chin serves on the Advisory Board for The Salvation Army, also serving as Chair of the Community Relations Development Board and a member of the Program committee. In addition to her work with The Salvation Army, Ms. Chin is a founding board member of the Southwest Florida Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, as well as a past speaker and mentor for Dress for Success Southwest Florida and Goodwill’s Microenterprise Institute.

“FVI in honored to have someone of such varied and developed skills come aboard to help us grow to the next level”, states Ismael Hernandez, Executive Director of the Institute. Started in 2009, The Freedom and Virtue Institute strives to educate citizens on America’s founding principles of limited government and individual freedom and to uphold the ideas of human dignity and personal responsibility that result from having free will. FVI brings opportunities into the local community for citizens to learn, discuss and implement our causes.

“After meeting with Mr. Hernandez and learning more about FVI and what it is accomplishing in our local communities, I knew I had to become part of a world changing organization”, shared Chin.

A native New Yorker, Ms. Chin resides in Fort Myers with her children.

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19 Jan
0

Freedom and Virtue Institute Receives Grant from Schulze Family Foundation

Freedom and Virtue Institute Receives Grant from Schulze Family Foundation

Grant to Fund Two New Self-Reliance Club Initiatives in Lee and Collier County

Fort Myers, FL, October 26, 2015: The Freedom and Virtue Institute has received a $20,000.00 grant from the Schulze Family Foundation that will fund two new Self-Reliance Clubs in southwest Florida, Bonita Springs Charter School and Trafalgar Middle School in Cape Coral, it was announced by Executive Director Ismael Hernandez.

The Self Reliance Club is a flagship program of the Institute that empowers middle school children in Lee and Collier County by paring measurable achievement with tangible rewards. This initiative has expanded to nine schools, with additional schools set to join the initiative in 2016. “The continued support of our community and contributors from southwest Florida and across the U.S. continues to enable us to expand the Self-Reliance Club program”, states Hernandez. “We are extremely excited about the future of the Freedom and Virtue Institute”.

Since its creation in 2009, the Institute has impacted thousands of lives through its mission of promoting the ideals of liberty, built on the conviction that human freedom, inspired by the virtues of self-reliance, character, and faith is the best instrument to offer hope and human dignity to those in need.

To learn more about the Freedom and Virtue Institute visit: www.fvinstitute.org. To learn how your school can start a Self-Reliance Club program, email Dr. Mark Wardell, Self-Reliance Club Program Director at mrwardell@comcast.net

Press Contact:
Ismael Hernandez, Executive Director
Phone: (239) 240-9393
Email: ismael@fvinstitute.org

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