The Collier County Board of County Commissioners presented Peggy Rodriguez of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, Inc., the “Against All Odds” award July 12, 2022, in the Commission Chambers in Naples.
Rodriguez’s life began as the daughter of migratory farm workers that settled permanently in Immokalee in 1972. She married young, had children, and soon experienced the familiar financial hardships her parents shared.
“I could have gone on a completely different route in my life,” Rodriguez said. “When I graduated high school, there was not much opportunity for higher education or even work.”
Determined to change her future, Rodriguez felt blessed when she began working as an administrative assistant at Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities in Immokalee, providing food and shelter, counseling, financial assistance, and education to those in need.
A hard-worker and well-liked, during her 19 years with Catholic Charities, Rodriguez rose steadily through various positions, from administrative assistant to caseworker to assistant Program Director, and was most recently promoted to Regional Director in Collier County, reporting directly to the CEO of Catholic Charities.
Today, Rodriguez leads four locations throughout Collier County, manages a staff of 27, and leads more than 10 programs, including the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, two food pantries, a clothing and shower program, education services, financial aid, and pantry-on-wheels, to name a few. Locations include the Collier Senior Center and Family Counseling Center in Golden Gate, the Judy Sullivan Family Resource Center in East Naples, and Guadalupe Social Services.
On top of that, Rodriguez is also working toward her business management degree and maintains a position on the dean’s list. “I am trying to instill the same qualities in my children; hard work and a good education will change the course of your life.”
Upon receiving the “Against All Odds” Award, Rodriguez said she will always have that sense of gratitude and appreciation knowing that she can help those who seek assistance from Catholic Charities each day.
“I never forget where I came from, and I truly appreciate that I have been given this opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. To the County Commissioners, Rodriguez expressed her gratitude and thanks for the recognition. Rodriguez credited the support of her family and those with who she has worked as well as Catholic Charities for her achievement; thanking them for believing she was someone who could do anything “Against All Odds.”
Eddie Gloria, CEO of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, said, “I am so pleased and thankful that the Board of County Commissioners has recognized Peggy as someone who has persevered and overcome. Her life and story inspire us all. What I appreciate the most about Peggy is how she has used her growth and success to serve others so that they too may find a better day.”
Bishop Frank J. Dewane texted his congratulations to Rodriguez upon learning of the honor.
The Collier County Commission created the “Against All Odds” Award in 2016 to honor those in the community who have shown perseverance in accomplishing their goals despite having challenging circumstances.
Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice, Inc., is a nonprofit founded in 1984 by the Diocese of Venice in Florida and serves as a resource to the community offering health and human services, food pantries, counseling, legal assistance, rapid re-housing, education, and disaster response. To learn more about Catholic Charities, please visit www.catholiccharitiesdov.org.