A little more than $3,000 was raised during the 13th annual Manatee Roast at Bert's Bar on April 1 for a student who was accepted into the People to People Ambassador Program.
Bokeelia resident Skyler Hammer, 15, said he was very impressed by everyone's enthusiasm to help someone from the community.
"Thank you for all the love and support and making my time on the island completely memorable and enjoyable and helping me in every time of need and always being there for me," he said.
Skyler Hammer, who dressed up as a shrimp during the Manatee Roast, stands with his mother Tania Watkins.
Before the event, Hammer had $4,000 left to raise for his 19-day trip to France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Vatican City. Now the youngster only has $1,000 left to raise for his trip.
"I'm very excited," Hammer said. "I'm almost done."
The event included 50/50 raffles, a manatee barbecue plate, silent auction, a frozen T-shirt contest and pantyhose bowling. Direct donations were also made for Hammer's trip.
"It was a great time," he said, adding that they did lots of games and the locals had fun. "Those out of town were also very charitable and bought a lot of tickets."
Hammer said at least 500 people attended the event throughout the day.
He is a sophomore student at North Fort Myers High School. A teacher, who has remained anonymous, recommended him for the program.
The People to People Movement was launched by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 to promote and encourage the bridging of cultural and political borders through direct interaction, which includes traveling to foreign countries. The program's mission is, "We bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange, making the world a better place for future generations."