LP Scholarship for 2016

February 1, 2016 
Happy February! We come bearing exciting news!

Last year, we awarded our first ever $500 scholarship to Lesly Chavez, an Immokalee High School graduate, who is now a student at FGCU. We also awarded a runner up scholarship to Nancy Roque, a Naples High School graduate, to support her education at FGCU.

And now, our second round of scholarships is open once more! The scholarship is open to all students (pending other requirements) in Lee and Collier Counties.

The application is open until April 30th. See details on the application for more information.

Please share this exciting news with our community!

LP Scholarship_SP2016

Questions can be directed to launchpad@collierstoriesmatter.org 11024693_989258601094448_2103822018470383881_n

SWFL Scholarship Opportunity Now Open for Undocumented Students

March 2nd, 2015 

launchpad teaser-2

The Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project is releasing the first ever scholarship fund for undocumented students in Southwest Florida (Collier and Lee Counties). We are excited to offer one qualifying community member a $500 scholarship to go toward their future or current educational prospects. This opportunity was made possible by the generous donation by the Luque Law Firm, P.A. For more information on this firm, please scroll below.

You can download the application here 


The Launchpad Fund knows that financial assistance for undocumented community members seeking educational opportunities is extremely limited. Because of this, we believe that by helping our community with financial support, dreams that were once unattainable become possible. We believe in our namesake: providing a Launchpad for individuals to reach their dreams. 


One $500 scholarship is available for a community member who meets all of the following requirements:

  1. Reside in Collier or Lee counties
  2. Do not have legal status in the country (i.e. Permanent residency or U.S. citizenship) or have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protective Status (TPS); ***
  3. Demonstrate financial need*
  4. Are currently a high school senior, obtained a high school diploma or GED equivalent;
  5. Are attending or seeking to attend:**
  • a community college;
  • a four-year university; or
  • a trade/vocational/technical school
  1. Have obtained a 2.5 GPA
  2. Have one letter of recommendation*
  3. Commit to working with the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project*
  4. Submit a personal statement/submission*

Applications should be sent to:

Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project

P.O. Box 62071

Fort Myers, FL 33906

postmarked by May 22nd, 2015. We are NOT accepting electronic applications. Semi-finalists will be contacted for a final interview and the finalist will be notified by late June 2015. Questions regarding the application can be emailed to launchpad@collierstoriesmatter.org

*These topics are discussed in detail in the next page **If in high school, send us a copy of an unofficial transcript. If you have graduated, send us a copy of your high school diploma or your GED certificate. Please do not send us originals. Only copies. ***Send us a copy (not an original) of your DACA/TPS approval notice.


Luque law firm logoThe Luque Law Firm, P.A.

Immigration Attorney

Erica Luque, Esq. – Managing Partner

5037 Tamiami Trail East

Naples, Florida 34113

(239) 986-1196


Everything you need to know about DACA

What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?

Over the past several years, this Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to transform the immigration enforcement system into one that focuses on national security, public safety, border security and the integrity of the immigration system. As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a danger to national security or a risk to public safety, DHS will exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to ensure that enforcement resources are not expended on low priority cases, such as individuals who came to the United States as children and meet other key guidelines. Individuals who demonstrate that they meet the guidelines below may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) for a period of three years, subject to renewal for a period of three years, and may be eligible for employment authorization. Your request for DACA will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be granted or denied at the agency’s discretion.

DACA was initially announced on June 15, 2012 via a memorandum from then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.  On November 20, 2014, current-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a memorandum expanding guidelines for DACA in several key ways. Note, however, that the expanded DACA guidelines do not become effective until February 18, 2015.

Until the new guidelines go into effect on February 18, 2015, individuals may request DACA under the existing guidelines under the June 15, 2012 Napolitano memorandum.

Guidance on the expanded DACA guidelines under the November 20, 2014 memorandum is outlined below.

Beginning on February 18, 2015, you may request consideration for deferred action under DACA if you:

  1. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010, up to the present time;
  3. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  4. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that:
  • You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
  • Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012.
  1. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a General Educational Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
  2. Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Read more here

Renewing your DACA? Click here for more info! 

If your initial two-year grant of deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) is expiring, you may request a renewal. This page explains how to request a renewal.

If this is the first time you are requesting DACA, go to Request DACA for the First Time . You can also find information in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Who Can Renew

You may request a renewal if you met the initial DACA guidelines and you:

  • Did not depart the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

When to Renew

You should submit your renewal request about 120 days (4 months) before your current period of deferred action will expire. If you submit your request more than 150 days (5 months) before your current period expires, USCIS may reject it and return it to you with instructions to resubmit it closer to the expiration date.

How to Renew

  • Complete and sign:
    • Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
      • Use the most recent version of Form I-821D on our website or USCIS will reject your form.
    • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
    • Form I-765W Worksheet
  • Follow the instructions on all three forms to submit them to USCIS. There is a $380 filing fee for Form I-765 and an $85 biometric services (fingerprints and photo) fee, so the total cost is $465.

Recursos de DAPA/DAPA Resources (Bilingual version)

Sesiones informativas tomarán lugar pronto. Vuelva a este sitio de web para información. Informational sessions to take place soon. Come back to this website for details.

Contact: info@collierstoriesmatter.org for more information

[English information below]

Hotlines: For English 888-406-0541 and for Spanish 888-407-7611

El 20 de noviembre de 2014, el presidente anunció que el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS por su sigla en inglés) no deportará a ciertos padres indocumentados que tienen hijos que son ciudadanos o residentes legales permanentes (LPR por su sigla en inglés). El presidente también anuncio la expansión del programa de “acción diferida para los llegados en la infancia,” o DACA (por su sigla en inglés) para los jóvenes que llegaron a los Estados Unidos de niños. Por medio de una directiva de DHS, a estos padres y jóvenes se les puede otorgar un permiso temporal para permanecer en los EE.UU. llamado “acción diferida.” DHS estima que estos programas van a ayudar a 4.4 millones de personas.

Actualmente, el Servicio de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de Estados Unidos (USCIS por su sigla en inglés) no está aceptando solicitudes para la expansión de DACA ni para DAPA. USCIS continuará aceptando aplicaciones para la renovación de DACA y aplicaciones para obtener DACA por primera vez de personas que califican bajo los requisitos de DACA anunciados en Junio de 2012.[1]

CUIDADO: NO acepte consejos sobre su caso de inmigración de un notario público o de un consultor de inmigración. Póngase en contacto sólo con un abogado de inmigración calificado o un representante acreditado para el asesoramiento jurídico de su caso.

Informacion del sitio de web de NILC


Todo sobre DAPA, baje esta imagen y téngala como una lista de verificación. haga cliq acá para bajar en forma de documento



On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not deport certain undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and parents of lawful permanent residents (LPRs). The president also announced an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for youth who came to the United States as children. Under a directive from the secretary of DHS, these parents and youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called “deferred action.” These programs are expected to help up to 4.4 million people, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Currently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not accepting applications for the expanded DACA program for youth or the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. USCIS continues to accept renewal applications or initial applications from people who qualify under the DACA criteria announced in June 2012.

WARNING: Do NOT take advice about your immigration case from a notary public or an immigration consultant. Contact ONLY a qualified immigration lawyer or an accredited representative for legal advice about your case. You may email us at info@collierstoriesmatter.org for more information regarding local Southwest Florida service providers.

Click here to download PDF of the flyer below 

DAPA flyer English

Information taken from the NILC website 


DAPA Flyers in English and Spanish (haga cliq para bajar)

AILA summary 2014


Criminal Fact Sheet 

In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students Passes in Florida!

May 2014

It is very exciting to share that the in-state tuition bill, HB851, passed the FL House of Representatives with overwhelming support on May 2nd! It now moves to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. In the past two months, the in-state tuition bill has moved from the Senate to the House of Representatives because of continued pressure by undocumented students who mobilized to Tallahassee to see their dreams become reality!


Below you will find press coverage as well as pictures of CCNSP’s involvement in this victory!

In the coming months, we hope to move forward with an education initiative to make sure in-state tuition as well as other resources for undocumented students make their way to those that need them.

If you have questions or want to get involved, please contact us at info@collierstoriesmatter.org



Wink News

Wink News May 3

FOX News



Naples Daily News

Vista Semanal 


Accion Hispana


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Reflections: From Collier County to the State Capitol, Fighting for Tuition Equity

A day after the Florida legislature voted favorably on SB1400, a current measure that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates, a delegation of youth traveled to Tallahassee leaving at 2 AM in the morning to be ready to lobby at 9 AM.

These students fought against their fears and trepidations and were able to conquer being in the state Capitol for the first time! Here are their thoughts, in their own words, of what they saw, felt and think about this issue.

To read more press coverage, follow the links below:

 FGCU students to legislators: Give undocumented Florida residents in-state tuition rates : Naples Daily News

Vista Semanal 


Accion Hispana

Pictured below: Nestor Prime, Faviola Vargas and Andy Martinez. They are undocumented.



I can start by telling you that I had an amazing time from beginning to end. This trip to Tallahassee was an unforgettable experience. Meeting up with Fran [the Florida Immigrant Coalition’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator] who helped a lot by explaining how politics work, made the process of lobbying the legislators a lot easier. I understood what it takes for a bill to become a law in our state. The best part was when we had to go and meet up thanking the representatives and senators who are in favor of tuition equity.  Although it was a little intimidating at first, we finished with a deep breath of satisfaction and accomplishment. CCNSP has made me a stronger, confident and positive individual. It has shown me that if you want something changed, you have to get out of your seat and fight for what you believe in. As the saying goes, “not everything is going to come at you in a silver platter.” I am very lucky to be part of this movement and meet so many people that support and believe in me. I feel confident that we are going make GREAT things happen. This trip help me realize that we are all united as one and we can fight for what we believe in. I also realized that we, as undocumented but Americans at heart, have experienced similar things that help us identify with each other. It makes it a lot easier to, not only speak for ourselves, but for all of our brothers and sisters who are still in the shadows and are afraid to fight for their rights.  It’s funny how I hated politics back when I was in high school; I was never interested. But now I see how political games directly impact my life and those around me.  I will continue fighting for this issue and understand that this is a long-term commitment that I must make for myself and those I care about.


It was a Tuesday night filled with excitement as some CCNSP members and I drove up to the state Capitol. After eight hours on the road, we arrived. We were tired but ready to start the day. For some of us, it was our first time in the capital and didn’t know what to expect.
Everything is fast paced in the capital and everyone has somewhere to be. We were fortunate to have a great guide, Francesca Menes from the Florida Immigrant Coalition. She introduced us to some of her coworkers and was able to show us around the capitol. Although everyone is always on the run, we had the opportunity to meet and give thanks to members of the House and Senate who supported tuition equity for undocumented youth in Florida. That included our local Senator, Garrett Richter, who I was grateful to meet.
In conclusion, it was a great first trip to the state capitol. I was able to see first hand the process of how a bill becomes a law and how amendments are voted on. I plan on going back to support and lobby for tuition equity. I conquered my fears in doing something new for the first time and I know that in the future, things will be even better! I am motivated to continue working on this issue because I believe that we can win.

 As an undocumented student, traveling is always exciting as going places isn’t easy when you have no way of showing who you are and that you’ve always have been a resident of this country. My most recent trip was a very important one because it wasn’t a vacation. No, our trip to Tallahassee took us not only far from home but well past our comfort zone. If I had to summarize it, I would say it was a field trip. Having no real world experience on how our legislative system functions on a daily basis and how to behave in said environment, the experience as a whole was exciting and very fast paced. Meeting and speaking with new people every few minutes was a daunting task. Our biggest accomplishment, however, had to have been the way the experience left me feeling: empowered! I became involved only because a very good friend of mine recommended that I contact CCNSP and this was my step out of the shadows. I have to admit that it’s one of the best decisions that I’ve made recently. Meeting new people is sometimes very difficult, yet when you meet people who share something important to you, the process  makes you feel like you’ve known them all along. Very few times have I ever felt so at home with people I just met. Everyone who was with us on this trip wanted to be here and was willing to fight for what we stand. Granted we got off to a rocky start because it was a new environment for all of us [meeting senators and representatives is not easy at first!], we learned and we didn’t let our uneasiness bring us down. Although I was the newest of the bunch, betweenNestor Faviola and myself, we did our best to work as a team and get our message across. By the second day, our confidence had grown and we could manage ourselves a bit more easily but not quite as well as our wonderful tour guide Fran! More than show us around an otherwise hectic maze she believed in us as did others in the state capitol! This trip brought me close to the people I needed to be with! Anything is possible and although I spent too much time not doing anything about my situation, I know now that my journey is far from over and there is plenty to be accomplished. My biggest downfall was being misinformed. That there was nothing I could do other than wait and hope that someone else would fix my problems but that simply isn’t the case. There is always something we can do and if you want something done, then you have to do it yourself! CCNSP may bring us together under one unfortunate circumstance but it will keep us together for another more important reason and that’s our desire to be successful. Having been together for only a few days, I felt a very strong bond between all of us and its one which I hope grows stronger. I am definitely looking forward to being part of CCNSP so that all students are treated alike regardless of where we come from!

High School Students Supporting Tuition Equity in Florida

As our volunteers continue their visits to high schools in Collier County, they continue to find that support for tuition equity for all students in Florida is overwhelming. Earlier this week, our state House of Representatives passed HB 851, (In-State Tuition for All Florida graduates, regardless of immigration status)  out of its last committee unanimously. While we still have to wait until it reaches the house floor, the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project and several other organizations in the state have been mobilizing and collecting signatures for the state-wide petition that was created in favor of tuition equity for undocumented students.

We need your help! Please, consider adding your name to the already hundreds of names supporting these measures. You can submit your signature electronically HERE and forward it to friends and family. Let’s show our legislators that this is something that we not only want, but also need! Once you’ve done that, show your support visually by submitting an image of yourself holding a sign similar to our high school students below! Email your image to rommy@collierstoriesmatter.org  and we will make sure to showcase you on our Facebook and blog!

Lely High School Students Showing Support

Lely High School Students Showing Support

Gulf Coast High School Students Showing Support

Gulf Coast High School Students Showing Support

Educators and Volunteers Showing Support

Educators and Volunteers Showing Support