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Southwest Florida songbird and social proponent Darlene Mitchell brings a special charisma, dynamic energy and a unique passion along as she and an ever-expanding group of “Friends” join together to provide encouragement, foster opportunity, showcase talent, reward accomplishment, and make life better for many.

The success of projects like the Darlene & Friends “City’s Best in Talent” events have been an inspiration to numerous people and vitally important to many more. 

Darlene sits down one on one with people who share their inspiring stories in the hope of encouraging others to soar and achieve their fullest potential.

This site is designed as a voice and a resource for those in need, and as a place of sharing for those that can.  This is the interactive connection between you and the joy of needs fulfilled.

We know that we cannot meet all needs on our own, but it is our intent to excite, energize and inspire each of our “Friends” to inspire others, and that together we will make a difference in the lives of those who will go on to make a difference in the lives of others. In that vision there will come the best of all rewards – that which you measure within your soul!

Darlene & Friends Inc and The African Network of Southwest Florida is proud to announce our very own Ms. Chantel Rhodes, who will be presenting awards to those deserving students in Kenya Africa.

Chantel Rhodes, Darlene and Friends, Inc. board vice-president, will travel in February 2019 to Mathakwaini Village in Nyeri Kenya to present the very first Darlene and Friends Best in Music Award, the Academic Excellence Award, and the Bertha Eady Make a Difference Award to the schoolchildren of the village.  These awards were donated by Dr. James A Middlebrooks to Darlene and Friends, Inc. for this purpose.  Mathakwini Village, in Nyeri, is the home town Fort Myers resident Dr. Peter Ndiangui.  Dr. Ndiangui is the president of the African Network of Southwest Florida and served for several years on the ACT-SO committee for Lee County Branch of the NAACP, both organizations in which Darlene and Friends have contributed to extensively. Besides giving these unique awards, Chantel will work and inspire children in grades seven and eight in the local elementary school. She will also initiate the Adopt an African Project in Gathuthi Village of Nyeri County Kenya. This five-year project involves empowering a team of 25 adolescent girls for community transformation. It is done in partnership between Darlene and Friends, African Network of SW Florida. The empowerment strategies are set up by Corps Africa based in Washington DC. Currently, Ms. Rhodes works for the JES Island English Academy in Gubei of Shanghai, China, teaching English as a Foreign Language, and received her certification TEFL at Colombia University.  Ms. Rhodes is a Fort Myers, FL native, and is a 2010 graduate of the University of South Florida (BS, Criminology), receiving her Master degree from Georgia State.

We have the resources to help lift you up - mind, body, and spirit.

We believe there is strong  spirit, great knowledge, powerful  passion and sufficient bounty for community.

Darlene is always looking for  “Friends” because that’s the way we grow, and that’s what makes life better!

​A Friend

Darlene & Friends Mission Statement: 
The mission of Darlene and Friends, Inc is to provide life-changing opportunity for young people through recognition, resources and mentorship, as well as to provide care, council and resources for the senior population, and to provide encouragement, outlet and fulfillment by developing a network connecting those that can offer time, talent or treasure with those whose need might not otherwise be met, and to do so in a manner that is unique, exciting, compelling and rewarding.


Welcome to Darlene & Friends:

Darlene Mitchell - Darlene & Friends Founder


 “This is paradise. Everyone should be able to experience it joyously and to its fullest potential!”—Darlene


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