YouTube is used as a learning tool for the young reader by Florida students

The PageTurner initiative for Canterbury students begins at the Guadalupe Center

Fort Myers-based BelieveNBooks has launched a new initiative, PageTurner, to help preschoolers become better readers at an early age.

PageTurner is a YouTube channel that features videos of teens in southwest Florida reading children’s books. Students are provided with corresponding books, allowing them to read alongside their digital reading partners.

Thanks to BelieveNBooks, whose mission is to provide children with books to expand their horizons and advance their understanding of the world, more than 115 students have been awarded backpacks each containing 10 books, including titles like “Clifford Makes the Team” and “If You Give the Mouse a Profile” Link, Flat Stanley Goes Camping, and more. Parents are provided with a postcard with a QR code for quick access to YouTube’s video library.

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“I loved meeting each of the children and hearing their comments about the books they received,” said BelieveNBooks founder Natasha Agarwal, a 15-year-old new student at Canterbury School. “It was amazing seeing their reactions as they opened their bags and realized everyone was going to take the books home. You don’t always have a chance to see the people you help, so being there to hand out books and meet every kid made it even more informative.”

Shortly after the launch of BelieveNBooks in 2021, the organization presented more than 3,500 books to students of the Guadalupe Center after a two-week book collection at Canterbury School. Since then, the organization has supported reading programs through more than a dozen nonprofit partners across southwest Florida.

The first PageTurner series includes 10 books and interview videos, and Agarwal plans to expand the library with additional support from the community, possibly developing PageTurner into a statewide or national program. For more information about BelieveNBooks or to support the PageTurner Initiative, please visit or send an email to

I love this dress! Fundraising event for the PES Center

Pace Girls Center, Lee’s popular fundraising event, did Love That Dress! Raised $130,000 to support Pace Lee’s programs.

Described as the happiest shopping spree of the year, love this dress! Marked by shopping, music, silent auctions and cocktails on August 24th at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Estero, an array of high-quality, new and used dresses, shoes, handbags, and accessories were sold at deeply discounted prices.

Proceeds from the event provide academic programs and counseling services for girls and young women ages 11-18 who are working to overcome risk factors such as poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, foster home, neglect, grief, incarceration of a family member, mental health, and physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

Pace Lee also brought the Pace girls to join Love That Dress! Fun on August 25, offering a special shopping session with opportunities for girls to dress up, shop and have a day of fun.

To learn more about Pace Lee and its programs, visit or call 239-425-2366.

Gifted Alliance Sculpture by ArtFest Fort Myers

The Arts Alliance would like to announce its latest addition to the ever-evolving sculpture garden. Flotsam has been awarded thanks to the ArtFest program that has given a second life to vintage pieces of art.

Flotsam was created by artist Donald Gyalnala, an artist who specializes in the design and manufacture of public art. Best known for his larger-than-life sculptures in public and private collections across the United States, his work has been installed in more than a dozen cities from California to New York, now the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. His background includes teaching art at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, and 10 years as an Emmy Award-winning television graphics producer in New York City.

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Flotsam is 11 feet high and 20 feet long and was created in the studio and delivered to the site as a complete sculpture. It was originally shown at ArtFest’s We Are Overflowing, an art gallery created to showcase the problem of pollution and the beauty caused by recycling discarded materials. The original installation featured a low 3-foot-high circular fence about 25 feet in diameter in which visitors deposited their empty bottles and cans to fill the “ocean” around it, and the wheels and arches were covered with a sea of ​​bottles. Flotsam is made of recycled plastic and recycled stuff that has been tightly bonded with stainless hardware into a painted wooden production member.

The Alliance for the Arts sculpture garden is located along McGregor and Royal Palm Streets and is free and open to the public.

Elite DNA Behavioral Health 4200 collection of school essentials

Elite DNA Behavioral Health, a comprehensive behavioral and mental health care company, recently hosted a back-to-school supplies campaign that collected 4,200 items of school supplies to help area students prepare for the new school year.

The month-long collection was held in more than 20 Elite DNA offices across the state and collected a range of classroom essentials, including notebooks, college paper, broadsheets, pocket folders, binders, pens, number 2, colored pencils, pink erasers, highlighters, and boxes. Pens, student scissors, glue sticks, wired headphones, sanitizing wipes and more. The campaign benefited students at schools across Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Hernando, Hillsboro, Lee, Lyon, Palm Beach, Polk, Sarasota, and Seminole counties.

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