Chairman of the Board Ted Carter Takes Stock in Children
Jacksonville Economic Development CEO to Chair Florida’s Most Successful Mentoring 501(c)3
Ted Carter, TSIC Chairman of the BoardMIAMI, FL (October 11, 2013) – Take Stock in Children, Florida’s flagship mentoring organization, recently appointed Ted Carter to chair its state board of directors. The head of Jacksonville’s Office of Economic Development is a six-year state board veteran and ardent advocate for higher education.
Carter will lead the statewide organization that has helped more than 22,000 deserving low-income students graduate from high school, complete college and break the cycle of poverty.
“Successfully transitioning at-risk students from high school to college and seeing them emerge as a well-educated workforce and leaders is impressive and a credit to the fifty-four Take Stock in Children programs,” said Carter. “I look forward to working with our dynamic new president, Board of Directors, local partners, the Legislature and Florida’s business community to build upon this success as we continue to grow our programs throughout Florida.”
“We are extremely honored to have Ted Carter chairing our board and leading our efforts to provide deserving scholars with caring mentors, college scholarships and hope for a better life,” said Madeline Pumariega, Take Stock in Children President and CEO. “His expertise and guidance will prove invaluable as we expand our college success strategies to increase college completion and workforce readiness.”
As Jacksonville’s Economic Development Officer, Carter currently serves as economic advisor and liaison to the Jacksonville, Duval County and North Florida business communities. He has extensive experience in real estate, economic development and public-private partnerships working with agencies such as the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Carter spent the last 8 years as a senior executive at CBRE, a global commercial real estate company, where he managed CBRE’s South Florida market operations based in Miami in addition to the company’s public sector group based in Washington, D.C.
Cutline: Ted Carter, Take Stock in Children Board Chair and Jacksonville Office of Economic Development Office Executive Director and CEO
Take Stock In Children Announces Madeline Pumariega As New President/CEO
Madeline M. Pumariega has been appointed to serve as President & Chief Executive Officer of Take Stock in Children, a statewide non-profit organization, which has helped over 22,000 low-income and at-risk youth to break the cycle of poverty by completing college. The announcement was made by Don Pemberton, State Board Chair of Take Stock in Children.
“Madeline joins us at a critical time when we are expanding our college success strategies to increase college completion,” says Pemberton. “Madeline is a nationally-recognized leader in higher education and someone who deeply understands the challenges at-risk youth confront in completing college. Her experience will be invaluable to the future success of Take Stock in Children and our scholars.”
Pumariega has been a leader at Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest institution of higher education in the nation, since 1992, including most recently serving as President of the Wolfson Campus. She is nationally regarded for her work in developing innovative approaches to support academic progress and student success, ensuring thousands of youth access and complete college. Pumariega was instrumental in establishing Take Stock in Children’s largest affiliate, at MDC, currently serving 600 youth.
In her new role, Pumariega will lead all facets of the organization, which currently serves nearly 8,000 low-income and at-risk middle and high school students each year, and approximately 6,000 students pursuing post-secondary education at colleges across Florida. Working with a competent team of professionals and an active Board of Directors, she will oversee the organization’s management and operations, fundraising and development efforts, as well as strategic partnerships and legislative affairs.
“I have been a strong supporter of Take Stock in Children for many years, and am excited for the opportunity to join the organization’s team of dedicated people. Working together, I’m confident that we can continue to change the course of young peoples’ lives across the state of Florida,” said Pumariega. “I want to lead the organization in an expansion effort so more children in our state can have access and benefit from a college education."
Ms. Pumariega values service to the community and embodies the principles of education and opportunity for all. She has been instrumental in expanding nationally-known educational programs in Miami-Dade including City Year and Year Up. She serves on the boards of City Year Miami, Take Stock in Children and the Executive Board of the United Way. She also serves on the Our Miami steering committee for The Miami Foundation and is a member of the International Women’s Forum. She was a national Kellogg Fellow for the League for Innovation’s Expanding Leadership Diversity in Community Colleges program, an initiative focusing on leadership development and capacity as a change agent for communities.
FPL FUELS FUTURE FOR TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN SENIORS
Awards Scholarships to Deserving, Low-Income High School Students
Four Take Stock in Children high school seniors were recently honored as Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) Scholars. Recognized as outstanding role models of academic success, the FPL Scholars each received a prepaid scholarship from Florida’s largest rate-regulated electric utility company.
Take Stock in Children honorees include Broward County’s Mateo Cano, Palm Beach County’s Johmaiky Ramos, Miami-Dade County’s Omair Chaudhri and Sarasota County’s Ravon Hull.
“We’re thrilled to partner with FPL to fuel our students’ future academic success,” said Dan Lyons, interim CEO of Take Stock in Children. “FPL’s scholarship awards really empower these young people with hope and resources for a promising career and a better life.”
Mike Sole, FPL’s VP of State Governmental Affairs announced the FPL Scholar contribution in March at Take Stock in Children’s annual Leadership Summit in Tallahassee.
FPL Representatives Isabel Herbert and Rae Dowling presented scholarships to Mateo, Johmaiky, Omair and Ravon at Take Stock in Children graduation ceremonies.
“At FPL we understand that an economically viable community includes a successful and educated workforce and this is why we are so pleased to support Take Stock in Children,” said Pam Rauch, vice president of Development and External Affairs for FPL. “We are proud to help these students realize their dreams.”
TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN SALUTES TOP VOLUNTEER MENTOR
Dr. Charles Voorhis Chosen From Field of 7,500 Volunteers
In celebration of National Volunteer Week, Take Stock in Children honored one of 7,500 Florida volunteer mentors with the organization’s most prestigious award.
Dr. Charles Voorhis was honored as Take Stock in Children’s 2013 Mentor of the Year at a ceremony earlier this year.
A retired physician, Dr. Voorhis got involved with his local Take Stock in Children program in Bay County. Like all Take Stock mentors, Voorhis has worked diligently to “change a life over lunch” with the students he mentors. His weekly meetings with his students help to keep them focused on graduating from high school and attending college. Voorhis’ caring nature did not stop with motivating his students to excel in education- Johnny Atwell’s personal life was also significantly impacted by the Mentor of the Year.
Atwell was in a serious automobile accident after graduation- one that left him paralyzed and unable to walk. Mentor Voorhis guided Atwell and his family through the maze of medical resources available and helped them access needed financial support. He faithfully visited Atwell in the hospital and in his handicapped-accessible apartment. After a year of recovery and therapy, Atwell entered Gulf State College and Voorhis couldn’t be prouder.
“The bond formed between volunteer mentors and students is a lasting and transformational one,” said Dan Lyons, interim CEO of Take Stock in Children. “We are proud to honor Dr. Voohis, and all of our 7,500 volunteer mentors for their commitment to higher education and Florida’s at-risk youth.”
TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN AWARDS ASOFSKY FOUNDATION “LEADERS 4 LIFE” FELLOWSHIP
All Non-Tuition Related Expenses Paid for These Five Exemplary Florida High School Students
MIAMI, FL (March 20, 2013) – Take Stock in Children provides college scholarships for deserving low income at-risk students, but books supplies, housing, food, transportation and more are all expenses college students must bear in addition to tuition. For five Florida high school seniors, those expenses will be paid thanks to the generosity of the Asofsky Family Foundation.
Esther Benette of Palm Beach County, Benjamin Carpenter of Hillsborough County, Kaylee Mancillas of DeSoto/Hardee/Highlands County, Wade McDonald of Citrus/Levy County and Katty Pierre-Charles of Manatee County are the 2013 Leaders 4 Life Fellows. Chosen from several thousand Take Stock in Children students, these five were selected based on their demonstration of strong leadership skills, moral character and academic success.
Created in partnership with the Asofsky Family Foundation, the Leaders 4 Life Fellowship enables the recipients to excel in a university environment by giving them the resources that empower them to develop their full potential as “leaders for life. The fellowship provides each student with up to $10,000 annually for leadership training and development, housing, food, textbooks, supplies, transportation and other college-related expenses. Fellows were recognized on March 6 in Tallahassee at Take Stock in Children’s Leadership Summit. State and local stakeholders took the opportunity to join Take Stock in Children to recognize and applaud the five scholars’ achievements. State leaders in attendance included Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, Florida State Lottery Secretary Cindy O’Connell, Florida Power & Light Vice President Mike Sole, and Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. Frank Brogan, Chancellor of the State University System of Florida, was also on hand to applaud Mark Asofsky, his family and the foundation for creating an innovative fellowship that allows Take Stock in Children scholars the ability to enter a university without the financial concerns of non-tuition college expenses.
“As a strong believer in supporting education for our youth, the Asofsky Family Foundation is honored to celebrate these remarkable Take Stock in Children scholars,” said Mark Asofsky, Founder of the Asofsky Family Foundation. “All are top-notch students who deserve to be recognized for their achievements, and we are working to provide them with the tools necessary to become tomorrow’s great leaders.”
“We are so proud to be able to present these life-changing fellowships, generously provided by the Asofsky Family Foundation, as an extension of our commitment to improve college enrollment and retention,” said Take Stock in Children President and CEO Emilio Alonso-Mendoza. “This is a great opportunity for our incredible students who work so hard towards fulfilling their dream of earning a college degree.”
Scholar Spotlight: Courtney Noelle Paige
This week we will be beginning our series of "Scholar Spotlight!" Every few weeks, we will be featuring a different Take Stock in Children alumni, sharing their story and how TSIC has impacted their lives!
This week we are proud to feature Courtney Noelle Paige! Originally from the Santa Rosa County Take Stock in Children program, Noelle has been dancing for well over a decade, and after responding to a casting call, she was immediately hired to be the featured soloist in a music video for singer Kelsey’s song "10,000 Bombs" – check it out here!
"To be involved in something that huge was incredible," says Noelle. She continues, "After just one week on YouTube the video had over 25,000 views. In Pensacola, Florida I was always told that I was a big fish in a small pond. To be featured in a video that 25,000 people saw was definitely a fantastic moment!"
Santa Rose County Program Director Angi Brown writes of Noelle, "[She] is a shining star for our program. She is beautiful and talented, as well as a great student." Indeed, Noelle’s story illustrates the qualities that are fundamental to the TSIC program – strong mentorship, support, and dedication. Noelle’s mentor Paula Lou Mapoles confirms this sentiment writing, "[Take Stock in Children is] an on-going journey that started with a 7th grade young lady who was wearing braces, to a now six-foot magnificent ballerina who touches the hearts and souls of so many through her world of dance… The TSIC mentoring program is a relationship that continues for a life time between a mentee and a mentor!"
Noelle’s story begins in Pace, Florida where she attended Pace High School and trained with Ballet Pensacola. After ten years of training, she was offered a contract and accepted a soloist position with the professional company. The deep relationship between mentor and mentee is illustrated in the fact that "after high school graduation, [my husband and I] sponsored scholarship for her to purchase ballet slippers, [for] her participation in Miss Teen Pageant, and after-show dinners at her favorite restaurant, Olive Garden," writes Noelle’s mentor, Paula.
After high school, Noelle received her A.A. in General Education from Pensacola State College where she worked as a Student Ambassador and was awarded Pensacola's Rising Star and Women in the Arts Award from the Milton Women's Club. Noelle then moved to Chicago to accept a soloist position with Elements Contemporary Ballet. She was then only one of 30 students accepted to University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. Just this past summer, she was offered a fellowship with President Obama's re-election campaign, "Organizing for America," where she worked for 12 weeks to open a new campaign office in Deklab, Illinois and recruit full time volunteers and activists.
Noelle’s concentration is in Nonprofit Public Administration and she hopes to do something with education, similar to a program like Take Stock in Children, of which she says, "It's a fantastic organization that can help any student from any back ground. For me it was about supporting a dream that most people looked at me sideways for. I always wanted to live in a big city and do big things - so here I am!" She writes of the support her mentor offered, "[Paula] always came to my ballet shows in Pensacola and encouraged me to do whatever I needed to fulfill my dreams…. I never thought me, being from Pace, Florida, would be living this dream!" When asked how Paula felt in turn about mentoring Noelle, she wrote, "I could write a book about Noelle Paige and my relationship of a life time that started as a TSIC mentor...to today, a young lady that will forever remain embedded in my heart!"
Noelle’s story is inspiring to all of us here at Take Stock in Children, and we are so proud of all of her hard work that has enabled her to be realizing her dream!
MENTOR SPOTLIGHT: MARK TURNER OF BREVARD COUNTY
Not long after moving to Florida, Mark Turner immediately embraced the Take Stock in Children mission and dedicated himself to supporting students and promoting its cause. During his initial mentor training he volunteered, without hesitation, to mentor five young men at a school located half an hour away from his home. Turner currently mentors six students including Cameron Cox, Tyler Crosswhite, Vincent Johnson, Michael Moore, Valention Ortega and Khaleel Thorbourne.
His experience as a retired school teacher, guidance counselor and administrator makes his insight and feedback invaluable. By working with each mentee individually, he is able to help them overcome any situations they are struggling with. He is so dedicated that he even had the school gather his mentees together for a conference call so they would not miss out on their weekly meeting while he was on vacation.
Turner joined the local Leadership Council in 2010 in order to take an even more active role. He also serves on the Student Performance Review committee, giving guidance and setting goals for students who are on probationary status and in jeopardy of losing their scholarship. Plus, he serves as a volunteer Student Advocate. In this role, he has travelled to as many as 20 schools throughout the 72 mile-long county to interview prospective scholars.
He goes even further by mentoring other mentors! He has provided direction, support and taught skills for connecting with students. Turner feels so strongly about motivating mentors to maximize their impact on their students that he has initiated and facilitated a Mentor Empowerment and Training workshop in Brevard County.
*Photo caption: (Top left to right) Cameron Cox, Michael Moore, Khaleel Thorbourne and Tyler Crosswhite pose with their mentor Mark Turner.
Over 1,400 High School Seniors Graduate and Receive Full College Scholarships
Take Stock in Children has celebrated a significant milestone with the graduation of more than 1,400 low-income high school seniors from over 50 of its local programs this year. Each of these students has received full scholarships to attend any state college or university in Florida of their choice upon graduation.
The formal graduation ceremonies began in Okaloosa County in April and finished early June in Escambia County. The series of graduations across the state, ranging from the Panhandle to the Keys, gathered community leaders, mentors, parents and supporters of Take Stock in Children to recognize the successful seniors.
Along with a scholarship, Take Stock in Children’s graduating scholars also received complimentary college survival guides to serve as a resource for the students navigating their way through their freshman year. Sponsors of this significant effort included The Florida Lottery, Comcast, Florida Crystals, Helios Education Foundation and Berkowitz Pollack Brant.
*Photo: Indian River State College President Edwin Massey, The Florida Lottery’s Amy Gray and Indian River State College Foundation Executive Director Ann Decker celebrate.
Rays Baseball Foundation and Helios Education Foundation are "Doubling up for Education" in Support of Take Stock in Children
The Rays Baseball Foundation and Helios Education Foundation are partnering to provide $1 million in college scholarships for Take Stock in Children students in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee and Pasco counties. Called "Doubling Up for Education," the partnership is aimed at giving students the financial resources and mentorship support they need to successfully achieve a postsecondary education at any Florida state college.
"The Rays are proud to join the Helios Education Foundation and Take Stock in Children in the creation of Doubling up for Education," said Tampa Bay Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. “The scholarships and mentoring support provided by this program will open new doors for students and families throughout Tampa Bay and provide long-lasting impacts within our community."
Each time a Rays player hits a double in a regular season game, Helios will donate $600 toward the initiative and the Rays Baseball Foundation will match that gift. The partners expect a combined cash total of $200,000 each season toward college scholarships, bringing the total scholarship investment to $1 million over five years.
*Photo: President/CEO Emilio Alonso-Mendoza alongside Take Stock in Children representatives from Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota Counties.
Statewide Tour to Empower and Educate Students Across Florida
Take Stock in Children hosted a statewide tour throughout Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Jacksonville during June to empower and educate youth with two nationally renowned speakers, Christian Moore, founder of the WhyTry program, and Darrell Scott, founder of Rachel’s Challenge. In attendance were many community leaders, education stakeholders, school administrators, business executives and local youth advocates.
Moore was an inner-city child who struggled with severe learning disabilities. After receiving his Master’s degree in social work, he created a program called WhyTry as a resource for kids who battle with the same problems he did. The program has helped over 1.5 million students in 16,000 youth organizations, and today the principles of the program go beyond youth advocacy and carry over into business and family life. Moore calls his unique approach “the resiliency formula,” and his entertaining style benefits audiences in over 100 events across the United States each year.
Scott is the father of Rachel Scott, who was the first person killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Rachel’s Challenge has become one of the most life-changing school programs in America, patterned after Rachel’s acts of kindness and compassion coupled with the contents of her six diaries. Rachel's Challenge provides an emotional, strategic impact that has been effective in defusing bullying, depression and prejudice, while giving hope where there is isolation and despair.
For more information, please visit www.whytry.org and www.rachelschallenge.org.
"Strides for Education" 5K Walk/Run Events Off to a Running Start
Celebrating the resounding success and support of its inaugural “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run events, Take Stock in Children has designated December 2012 for its next installment of this statewide effort. This month-long initiative will be a milestone with multiple events taking place across Florida to raise awareness and funds for deserving low-income youth, many of whom are the first in their family to have the opportunity to pursue college.
In 2011, more than 3,000 students, mentors, business and community leaders from around the state joined Take Stock in Children for its first-ever “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run events, raising an impressive $350,000. This year Take Stock in Children aims to have more than 10,000 participants come together to help its many eligible scholars achieve their dream of a higher education by raising $1 million in scholarship dollars.
Take Stock in Children’s “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run events will be open to all individuals, families, companies and local organizations, and will feature family-friendly activities, giveaways and much more. Plus, those unable to attend can show their support by registering as a virtual walker and making an online contribution.
For more information, or to register for an event taking place near you, please visit www.stridesforeducation.com.
*Photo: Take Stock in Children’s “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run in Collier/Immokalee
Christina Scott and Natalie Munoz Join State Office
Christina Scott, a respected marketing and public relations professional, has been appointed as Marketing Manager of Take Stock in Children. In her new role, Scott will support the Vice President of Strategic Alliances and be responsible for content and brand management of the organization’s website, newsletters, press materials and social media. She will also be a driving force behind the planning, logistics, management and execution of statewide events and conferences, as well as identify and develop sponsorship opportunities. She most recently served as communications manager at WLRN Public Radio and Television for South Florida.
Natalie Munoz joined the Take Stock in Children family in 2007 as Accounting Specialist, and then became the Office Manager of Take Stock in Children of Broward County in 2011. Now, she has returned to the state office as Bookkeeper/Human Resources Officer. In this role she will assist the Senior Accountant, AmeriCorps and lead all human resources efforts at the state level.
Take Stock in Children Partners with Florida State University's College of Medicine to Offer Summer Institute Program
Take Stock in Children is proud of its partnership with Florida State University’s prestigious College of Medicine, which offered a unique opportunity for students interested in the medical field. Through the Summer Institute Program, the FSU College of Medicine provided an amazing introduction to college life and medical school for six Take Stock in Children scholars from Immokalee.
The Summer Institute, a major component of the medical school’s diversification and recruiting efforts, offered these students the opportunity to learn more about pre-medical advising and outreach, gain insight directly from faculty, interact with current medical students, participate in problem-based learning activities, attend college-preparatory workshops, shadow physicians, and much more.
With a schedule of themed activities each day, attendees learned about various subjects including geriatrics, primary care, rural medicine, medical research and more.
Take Stock in Children Presents "Reaching New Heights" State Conference on August 15-17
Take Stock in Children is proud to present its “Reaching New Heights” state conference at the Buena Vista Palace Resort in Orlando on August 15 – 17. Dr. Farrah Gray, an entrepreneurial icon who defied the odds and became a self-made millionaire by the age of 14, will serve as the opening keynote speaker.
Dr. Gray’s presentation will also serve as the closing ceremony for Take Stock in Children’s Leaders 4 Life Fellows, who will be in Orlando in their own leadership development conference, thanks to the generosity and active involvement of the Asofsky Family Foundation. The scholars will participate in several leadership workshops, create a philanthropic initiative, enjoy a tour of WKMG’s Local 6 studio and even get a chance to practice their public speaking skills on camera.
During the conference, Take Stock in Children will launch a statewide mentor recruitment campaign to help find more caring volunteers to provide guidance for its scholars, as well as a significant fundraising campaign entitled “Keeping the Promise” during this special conference. Plus, Gary Romano of Civitas Strategies will expand on the process of implementing balanced scorecards and how they can be used to improve effectiveness and success in serving students.
To register for Take Stock in Children’s “Reaching New Heights” conference, please visit http://www.certain.com/system/profile/web/index.cfm?PKwebID=0x364896dbf2&varPage=home
ALUMNI ANGELA ALFORD SHARES THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE
Angela Alford is currently a freshman at Florida State University, who graduated from Niceville High School last May and was a part of Take Stock in Children of Okaloosa County. Since the age of six she has wanted to study medicine with hopes of entering the pediatrics field, and credits her grandmother as her main inspiration. As one of five inaugural honorees of the Leaders 4 Life Fellowship, Alford is well on her way to achieving her dreams at FSU.
While her first year is coming to a close, she looks back and smiles at the memories she has made. Alford has become involved with several organizations on campus such as the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) and her sorority Delta Nu Zeta. She has volunteered with numerous projects, including painting over graffiti in the community, serving meals at homeless shelters, Relay for Life and participating in “The Big Event at FSU,” a day where 1,000 students complete service projects throughout Tallahassee.
“College is the time of our life when we're figuring out who we are, what we want to become, and deciding on what paths to take to get us to these places,” says Alford. “These years are going to be some of the best years of my life and I can't wait to continue the journey I am on.”
Alford affirms Take Stock in Children has played a tremendous role in her transition to college. Her mentor, Sam Seevers, is a wonderful woman who has always encouraged her to pursue her dreams no matter how big or small. Now that she is a Take Stock in Children alumni, Alford plans to continue to give back to others in the Tallahassee community by helping to change the life of a young student through mentoring this fall.
SHARING BEST PRACTICES: SUCCESSFUL IPO IN DUVAL COUNTY
By Leah Lynch, director of Take Stock in Children
Take Stock in Children has taken great strides to position itself as an investment. Our strength lies in the return on investment we provide our donors. Talking in corporate terms helps those who support us understand that their dollars are making a real impact on the lives of students resulting in a positive economic impact on the community.
When Duval County created the Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2010 its purpose was two-fold. One is to garner individual donors and to increase awareness. The second and by far the most profitable were securing multi-year corporate partners.
The IPO simply offered the public the ability to purchase stock in Take Stock in Children by donating $25.00 per share. It was made clear that this was a donation and that the donor held no asset of the program. A Stock Holder’s Report was then created and monthly ads ran in the Florida Times Union highlighting a local celebrity or a well know community leader and asking people to invest like them. The entire campaign ran for 9 months.
Insuring corporate partners will commit to a full five-year gift is the next step. The answer is to bundle all of your messaging and sponsorship opportunities. The company becomes a partner and sponsor of all events. Place their company logo on all collateral materials, electronic communications and press releases. Most importantly they should receive all the benefits of a major sponsor and including complementary table, tickets and/or foursome. Having large donors behind you will help validate your program and assist in closing smaller agreements.
Build a multi-year sponsorship packet and be sure you include a rational of the program as well as a ROI sheet for your county. Create a clear timeline of all your events, fundraisers and programs, and list the marketing opportunities the partnering corporation will receive for each event. Invite a representative from their company sit on your event committee or have their CEO be your Honorary Event Chair. The more you invest in your donors, the more they will invest in you!
TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN’S JARED TORRES APPOINTED AS LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR OF AGENCY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Take Stock in Children alumni Jarred Torres has recently been appointed as legislative affairs director for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities in Tallahassee. Jared has served as the Deputy Legislative Director for the past year, and had worked in the agency’s legislative affairs office the prior year.
Torres is a former student scholar from Take Stock in Children of Broward County, and attended Florida Atlantic University where he earned a pre-law degree. He is also currently president of the Take Stock in Children Alumni Alliance, which helps to reconnect student scholars across the state, and serves as a member of Take Stock in Children’s State Board of Directors.
MAKING DREAMS A REALITY: KAYLEE BLEDSOE’S STORY
Kaylee Bledsoe is a current student in the Polk County Take Stock in Children program and attends the Lois Cowles Harrison Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in Lakeland. She grew up in an environment where Take Stock in Children was very prominent, as her older brother Aaron Bledsoe was a part of the program already. Naturally, she aspired to join him in earning a college scholarship and achieving her dreams.
Now that her dream has become reality, she finds herself loving all aspects of the organization. To her, the act of accommodating each student’s particular interests and going above and beyond in the preparation for college is what makes Take Stock in Children unique. For Kaylee, college means greater opportunities to apply her knowledge and learn to stand on her own two feet while gaining experience and growing.
“Take Stock in Children actually influenced me to delve deeper into the world of thinking beyond high school to the next step in my journey both emotionally and academically,” says Bledsoe. “It is nice to know that I will be prepared for my journey to college backed with a greater knowledge base that Take Stock in Children has helped me develop.”
Kaylee is in her junior year and is passionately pursuing the Acting track of the Theatre Department with plans to attend Polk State College before continuing to earn a Theatre degree at a university.
FIRST-EVER STATEWIDE MENTOR OF THE YEAR AWARDED DURING STATE EDUCATION CONFERENCE
Education game-changers from around the state were recently honored with special awards during Take Stock in Children’s State Leadership Conference in Tallahassee attended by hundreds of business and community leaders. John Henry of Naples received the first-ever Statewide Mentor of the Year Award along with Richard Berkowitz of Miami who received the Champion of Education Award and India White of Gainesville who was honored with Alumni of the Year.
With January being National Mentoring Month, Henry received the honor of the first-ever Take Stock in Children Statewide Mentor of the Year award. He currently mentors three students at Immokalee High School, Elijah Arreaga, Kerby Henry and Elijah Basile, offering each of them support, guidance and encouragement. He meets with the scholars once per week, helping to build a solid foundation of values, establish goals, and improve academic and life skills while developing their self-esteem and confidence. Henry goes above and beyond to ensure they are on track and provide them with the tools necessary to be successful in life.
“Take Stock in Children is a role model organization filled with passionate leaders who work endlessly to transform the lives of our youth, and we are thrilled to recognize their efforts with these awards,” said Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, President/CEO of Take Stock in Children. “This State Leadership Conference served as the perfect platform to honor each of them, with other top education leaders and key partners from around the state in attendance.”
The Champion of Education award was given to Berkowitz, an outstanding member of the community who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness on behalf of the children of Florida while also advocating to address needs that have not yet been met. For years he has consistently devoted his time and talents to ensure that every child has an opportunity to achieve their dreams through education.
White was selected as Take Stock in Children’s Alumni of the Year for her motivating leadership and efforts of paying it forward. Her path has led her from living in a homeless shelter to eventually becoming a teacher, mother and enthusiastic spokesperson and mentor for Take Stock in Children. White currently plays a vital role in the continuing success of the organization and all those who follow in her footsteps.
Key Business Leaders Added To State Board Of Directors
Take Stock in Children has welcomed three respected business and community leaders to its State Board of Directors. Cesar Alvarez of Greenberg Traurig, Klayton Fennell of Comcast, and Salvador Ferradas of US Trust are the latest to join the impressive roster of community members who support Take Stock in Children.
Cesar Alvarez currently serves as Executive Chairman of Greenberg Traurig, an international law firm based in Miami. He has been recognized nationally, as well as in South Florida for his professional, business and charitable leadership. Following his belief that education was the key to his ongoing success, Alvarez has also held leadership positions with numerous educational institutions.
Recently promoted as Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast, Klayton Fennell has an extensive background in telecommunications, policy development, public affairs, corporate communications, advocacy, relationship building and community investment. He previously served as Regional Vice President for Comcast’s Florida East Coast Region, where he helped to build and strengthen relationships with local community partners and improve neighborhoods by promoting community service.
Salvador Ferradas is Senior Vice President and a Private Client Advisor with US Trust. He has been with the bank since 1997, and worked in the financial services industry for 24 years. Ferradas has a passion for serving the South Florida community and also actively supports Florida International University and the United Way.
*Photo captions: Cesar Alvarez, Executive Chairman of Greenberg Traurig; Klayton Fennell, Vice President of Government Affairs of Comcast; Salvador Ferradas, Senior Vice President and Private Client Advisor of US Trust
More than 3,000 walkers and runners joined Take Stock in Children for its inaugural “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run on Saturday, November 19 across the state. These premiere events proved to be a success with over $350,000 raised in support of Florida’s low-income youth who wish to pursue a college education.
Take Stock in Children’s “Strides For Education” 5k Walk/Run was open to all individuals, families, companies and local organizations, and featured family-friendly activities, giveaways and more, with all proceeds benefiting Take Stock in Children. Key sponsors of the statewide event included Florida Crystals, Florida Lottery, Pollo Tropical, Tire Kingdom, Helios Education Foundation, Comcast and Berkowitz, Dick, Pollack & Brant, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and Staples.
Take Stock in Children’s “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Runs took place in Bradford, Brevard, Broward/Palm Beach, Collier/Immokalee, Escambia, Franklin, Lake/Sumter, Lee, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties.
Escambia County’s Arabia Marshall, a Take Stock in Children college graduate, is giving back by mentoring new 7th grade student, Si’Miah Johnson. “I thank Take Stock in Children for giving me a chance and seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself. Thank you for believing in me. I’m excited to be a mentor myself now,” says Marshall.
Marshall received a Take Stock in Children scholarship as a 7th grader. After receiving her Associate’s degree from Pensacola State College and her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida, she returned to Pensacola to work as a behavioral health technician for Baptist Lakeview Center. She has followed up on her promise to give back to the program that helped her by mentoring others and now serving on the “Strides for Education” 5K Walk/Run Committee in Escambia County.
*Photo caption: Arabia Marshall and Si’Miah Johnson
The Florida Lottery is the latest major statewide sponsor to have signed on in support of Take Stock in Children’s first-ever “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run, which took place with 14 participating programs across Florida at 12 different locations on Saturday, November 19. Take Stock in Children presented its “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run to help raise awareness and funds for Florida’s low-income and deserving youth who wish to pursue a college education.
As a major supporter of educational efforts throughout the state, the Florida Lottery has provided more than $22 billion to education. As part of this support, the Florida Lottery has helped to send more than 500,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program since its inception in 1997. Plus, more than $3.9 billion in Lottery-backed bonds have been used to fund school district projects for new construction, renovation, remodeling and major repair and maintenance of education facilities.
College Enrollment Rates On The Rise
Last year, Take Stock in Children was one of 49 programs across the United States selected to receive a $5 million i3 Education in Innovation grant. The i3 Education in Innovation initiative was launched and designed to pilot the expansion of student services to include enhanced college readiness activities and to provide services to our graduates during their first 18 months of college.
We are thrilled to announce that early data shows these enhancements are truly working. In June 2011, 153 students graduated from the three counties participating in the i3 project (Monroe, Broward, and Highlands). Within only the first few months after graduation, 89.5% are already enrolled in college. The same data collected from TSIC graduates statewide indicates a college enrollment rate of 81% within the first year after graduation. These early numbers are very promising and are expected to increase even further as we continue to collect data.
Take Stock in Children will continue to provide college tracking resources through a database and an updated technology platform designed to increase access to college readiness and mentoring success tools statewide. Adding to the college tours and webinars already available, supplementary college readiness, mentor training and workforce readiness on-line classes will be accessible soon. The i3 grant is also funding many of the professional development sessions to be provided at the State Conference in January.
Comcast To Expand Internet Access And Educational Opportunities
Comcast is joining forces with Take Stock in Children to ensure that thousands of college bound students have access to the Internet through Comcast’s Internet Essential program. As part of an innovative year-long partnership, Comcast will provide services and products at an affordable price, as well as support other statewide Take Stock in Children initiatives.
Through the Internet Essentials program, Comcast is offering thousands of Take Stock in Children’s students, who are enrolled in the free lunch program, with internet access for just $9.95 per month, plus a discounted netbook computer and free training online, in print or in person. Students who participate will never have any price increases or have to pay any activation or equipment rental fees.
In addition, Comcast served as a statewide sponsor of the recent “Strides For Education” 5K Walk/Run, and will host a special reception to honor the 2012 Leaders 4 Life Fellows at the annual State Leadership Conference on January 11, 2012 in Tallahassee.
“As an advocate for children, Comcast recognizes the importance of education in preparing tomorrow’s leaders,” says Klayton Fennell, Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast. “Take Stock in Children is a flagship program for education in Florida, and we are proud to extend our services and support for this leading organization.”
Twelve high school seniors across Florida have been selected as finalists for Take Stock in Children’s prestigious Leaders 4 Life Fellowship, an innovative program created in partnership with the Asofsky Family Foundation. These highly motivated scholars were selected based on their demonstration of strong leadership skills, moral character and academic success.
The finalists include Huong Thuy Nguyen (Manatee), Patience Hall (Desoto/Hardee/Highlands), Khao Hlee Lor (Desoto/Hardee/Highlands), Tyler Dwyer (Clay), Vanessa Colchado (Polk), Crismerly Santibanez (Polk), Daniel Pierce (Escambia), Alfonso Mejia (Broward), Michael Moore (Brevard), Nourhan Elsayed (Pinellas), Clarissa Alfes (Seminole) and Ashley Serjilius (Palm Beach).
These contenders will each be awarded a new Macintosh laptop computer for this accomplishment, and are now required to submit a video essay to be reviewed by a state selection committee, which will select five of the twelve who will ultimately receive a Leaders 4 Life Fellowship. The fellowship will provide leadership training and development, as well as funding up to $10,000 annually to cover the costs of housing, food, textbooks, supplies, transportation and other college-related expenses.
Take Stock In Children president impressed by program results in Fort Pierce
FORT PIERCE — Just 42 days into his tenure as president and CEO of Take Stock in Children, Emilio Alonso-Mendoza is touring the state to see firsthand the impact the program has had on those involved. On Thursday, he visited the IRSC Foundation in Fort Pierce, which administers the program in St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Indian River counties. The statewide nonprofit organization helps low-income and at-risk children pursue higher education through scholarships and mentoring. For many, the program provides hope and a path to a brighter future. Several program participants from St. Lucie County shared their experiences with Alonso-Mendoza.
Kayla Ocasio, 18, admitted, "If it wasn't for this scholarship, I probably wouldn't be here. I have my classes paid for and I'm so excited." Ocasio is currently studying criminal justice and psychology at Indian River State College
. She also works full time as a manager at McDonald's and helps her parents with both her siblings and the family's bills.
Victoria Watkins, 19, hopes to realize a goal she set in seventh grade: becoming a doctor. She is currently enrolled at IRSC and plans to complete her bachelor's degree at the University of Central Florida. After that, she has set her sights on studying at Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. and becoming an obstetrician.
Seated beside her mentor, IRSC faculty member Veronica Tempone, Megan Kerley 18, shared how much Tempone has helped her. "If I had questions, I knew I could call her." Tempone and Kerley regularly met for lunch at Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce, where Kerley was a 4.0 GPA student who also played soccer and worked part time. "She was absolutely amazing to work with. I admire her," Tempone said. Currently in her first semester at IRSC, Kerley plans to major in math and eventually become an actuary. "I'm incredibly grateful," she said.
David Liddle, controller for the IRSC Foundation, said it has been rewarding mentoring Stephen Sollecito for 11 years. "I get to see him complete his dreams." Sollecito, 23, currently is pursuing an associate's degree at IRSC and plans to pursue a degree in sports and business management. "I could have never done any of this without Take Stock in Children."
After hearing their success stories, Alonso-Mendoza commended the IRSC students. "I'm really excited about your futures. You're the greatest testament to the work we do." Take Stock in Children is administered in St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee and Martin counties through the IRSC Foundation. Students can apply for the program in middle school and must meet federal poverty guidelines to be eligible for consideration. Eighth- and ninth-grade students selected for the program agree to earn good grades, stay out of trouble and graduate. Upon graduating from high school, they are awarded a college scholarship for two years at IRSC and two years at a Florida public college or university.
Indian River State College has participated in Take Stock in Children since in 1996 and currently has 256 area high school students enrolled. IRSC Treasure Coast Take Stock in Children statistics to date: 335 Take Stock in Children students have continued to college. 83 have earned a bachelor’s degree. 65 have earned an associate’s degree. 177 are currently enrolled in college. 10 are serving in the military
To find out how to get involved or support the program, go to www.irscfoundation.org
Take Stock in Children has recently welcomed Marilyn Fashano as State Director, and Lisa Chutjian as Director of Development. The announcement was made by Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, President/CEO of Take Stock in Children.
As State Director of Take Stock in Children, Fashano provides program management consultation to 49 programs throughout Florida. Previously, she was Director of Programs and Events for Brevard Schools Foundation, where she was initially hired to oversee the local Take Stock in Children program. Fashano grew the Brevard Take Stock in Children program from just 12 students in 1999 to one of the state’s largest, serving 257 active students today.
As Take Stock in Children’s new Director of Development, Chutjian is responsible for designing and implementing initiatives to secure support for Take Stock in Children and its statewide programs. This includes the pursuit of public and private grant funding, the cultivation of individuals and foundations, as well as reporting on the results of various activities and programs supported through philanthropy. In addition, she provides support to Alonso-Mendoza in his efforts to work alongside major donors and corporate partners to ensure that Take Stock in Children can continue to fulfill its mission of breaking the cycle of poverty by providing scholarships, mentors and hope.
Take Stock in Children is inviting its thousands of graduates to join its newly created Alumni Alliance. In order to reconnect alumni with the organization that provided the opportunity to attend college, a group of former students converged for a Leadership Summit in February 2011 to build the foundation of the Alumni Alliance.
The Alumni Alliance offers more than just a chance to rejoin former students, it provides professional development opportunities, networking with current business leaders and essential information on all aspects of college life and career planning through an innovative online resource center. College survival guides and useful information such as resume writing tips, current job postings, internship opportunities and more can be found through the Alumni Alliance.
With a motivated and eager Leadership Board, the Alumni Alliance plans to increase awareness of the group and grow its membership base to be filled with those who want to give back to an organization that has provided so much.
A collection of virtual tours of Florida’s most popular colleges has been launched by Take Stock in Children. With funding provided by the Helios Education Foundation, this free online service gives students who do not have the means to travel and tour schools the chance to “visit” them online, and consequently eliminates the financial burden and costs associated with individual campus visits.
Available exclusively at http://www.TakeStockInChildren.org
, the online virtual tours highlight key aspects of various state college campuses in order to assist students during the college selection process. Scholars can virtually visit 15 of the most-attended state colleges throughout Florida including: Brevard Community College, Broward College, Indian River State College, Florida Gateway College, Miami Dade College, Palm Beach State College, Valencia Community College, College of Central Florida, Tallahassee Community College, North Florida Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Santa Fe College, St. Petersburg College, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota and Edison State College.
The launch of online virtual tours is part of Take Stock in Children’s continued efforts to enhance technology and improve college enrollment across Florida through a $1 million donation from the Helios Education Foundation. Alongside the online virtual tours, a portion of the donated funds are providing students with college survival toolkits and online educational modules in several languages including English, Spanish and Creole.
“We are excited that Take Stock in Children has launched this online resource allowing students to further explore each college, and thus make a better informed decision about their future studies,” says Will Holcombe, Chancellor of the Florida College System. “It is yet another way that this important organization is helping to provide and increase access to a college education in Florida.”
Visit the Take Stock in Children Virtual Online Tours
Take Stock in Children has begun the second year of its innovative Leaders 4 Life Fellowship, a role model program that provides funding of college expenses for top student scholars across Florida. Take Stock in Children’s Leaders 4 Life Fellowship was created in partnership with the Asofsky Family Foundation to provide financial resources, services and support needed to ensure student success throughout college.
The Leaders 4 Life Fellowship awards top Take Stock in Children students with a new laptop computer, leadership training and development, as well as funding up to $10,000 annually to cover the costs of housing, food, textbooks, supplies, transportation and other college-related expenses. The mission of this program is to enable these students to excel in a university environment by giving them the resources that empower them to develop their full potential as “leaders for life.”
Last year, five students across Florida were selected and recognized as the inaugural honorees of the Leaders 4 Life Fellowship, including Angela Alford (Okaloosa County), Michael Burris (Lee County), Valiece Long (Pinellas County), Maria Rincon (Broward County) and Ha Tran (Santa Rosa County). This year, another five of Take Stock in Children’s leading high school seniors will be awarded the Leaders 4 Life Fellowship during the organization’s annual state conference slated for January 10, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida. The recipients will be highly motivated scholars who will be selected based on their demonstration of strong leadership skills, moral character and academic success.
To learn more about Take Stock in Children’s Leaders 4 Life Fellowship program, or to apply, visit www.takestockinchildren.org/support-resources/leaders-for-life
Anna Taylor has been appointed as State Director of Program Support and Services of Take Stock in Children, a statewide non-profit organization with a solid 16 year history of working to help low-income and at-risk youth break the cycle of poverty by providing scholarships, mentors and hope. The announcement was made by Richard Berkowitz, State Board Chair of Take Stock in Children.
“We’re excited to have Anna join our dynamic team at the state level,” says Berkowitz. “Her dedication to this organization combined with her professional experience will be a great asset as Take Stock in Children continues to grow and support even more scholars across Florida along the path to success.”
Based in Jacksonville, Taylor is responsible for providing support and serving as the state office liaison for all Take Stock in Children programs located throughout 67 counties across the state. These programs currently serve nearly 8,000 low-income and minority students annually from middle school through college. Taylor will also oversee the development and implementation of Take Stock in Children’s Leaders 4 Life Fellowship, a role model program created in partnership with the Asofsky Family Foundation that provides deserving students with funds for textbooks and supplies, housing, food, transportation and all other college-related expenses.
Previously, Taylor served as Program Director for Take Stock in Children of Clay County. She has been an integral part of Take Stock in Children for 11 years, and has volunteered as a student mentor for more than 12 years. She graduated from the University of Florida with honors, and went on to earn a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from George Washington University.
Students enrolled with Take Stock in Children are identified in middle and high school, and then sign a contract pledging to remain drug and crime free, as well as maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5 or greater. All students that fulfill these obligations and successfully complete the program then receive full scholarships to a state college or university.
MIAMI, FL (April 5, 2011) – Take Stock in Children, a statewide non-profit organization with a 16 year history of helping low-income and at-risk youth break the cycle of poverty by providing scholarships, mentors and hope, has shined as a greatly successful program in a recent report from the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA).
As a special division of the Florida Legislature that examines agencies to improve services and cut costs, OPPAGA recently studied the effectiveness of all mentoring programs currently funded by the state of Florida. OPPAGA examined the specific outcomes of attendance rates, grade promotion, conduct and behavior, as well as reading and math FCAT scores.
To evaluate the performance of Take Stock in Children and other mentoring programs, OPPAGA used Department of Education data to construct a comparison group for each program’s outcomes. The comparison groups were selected to have similar prior outcome performance, demographic characteristics, and levels of school quality (as measured by school grade). The OPPAGA study found that Take Stock in Children outperformed peers in all seven performance areas examined.
Take Stock in Children’s results as they relate to their comparison group are as follows: 11 percent chronic absences (21 or more days) compared to 13 percent; 15 percent discipline incidents compared to 23 percent; 56 percent reading at grade level (FCAT) compared to 49 percent; 86 percent performing math at grade level (FCAT) compared to 76 percent; 97 percent grade promotion compared to 91 percent; 94 percent high school completion compared to 71 percent; and 69 percent higher education participation compared to 45 percent.
“We are very pleased and proud that the results found in the recent OPPAGA report further support our claim that Take Stock in Children is a significant contributor to educational reform and student success in the state of Florida,” says Richard Berkowitz, State Board Chair of Take Stock in Children. “Our innovative program has a unique public and private partnership in which every private dollar donated is matched by the state, and this distinguishes our organization from any other statewide mentoring program.”
A role model organization, Take Stock in Children identifies thousands of students in middle and high school to sign a contract pledging to remain drug and crime free, as well as maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5 or greater. Students in the program are also required to spend at least one hour per week with mentors who provide encouragement, guidance and support. All students that fulfill these obligations and successfully complete the program then receive full scholarships to a state college or university. Take Stock in Children currently serves nearly 8,000 low-income and minority students annually throughout 67 counties in Florida, and is the largest non-profit purchaser of Florida Prepaid Foundation Scholarships.
Take Stock in Children’s success also contributes to the economic viability of our communities. High school graduates contribute 46 percent more in taxes, have longer lives with less public health dependency, are eight times less likely to be imprisoned, and are three times more likely to be employed and not dependent on government assistance. The total benefit to the State of Florida is estimated to be $300,000 over a lifetime. The total cost to support a graduate in the program over a six year period is approximately $18,000; therefore providing more than 1,600 percent return on investment.
Senate Honors NWF Students
Senator Don Gaetz honors two Northwest Florida students who overcame great odds to win huge scholarships. To learn more about these incredible ladies, click on this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0Vz33xY2I8
Leaders in Education to Address Take Stock in Children 2011 Leadership Forum Participants
February 8, 2011: Mr. Gregory Darneider, Senior Advisor to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, will be the keynote speaker at Take Stock in Children's 2011 Leadership Forum. Mr. Darneider began his career in education as a middle school teacher in St. Louis, MO and Riverdale, MD. He earned a BA in Sociology, a K-8 teaching certificate from St. Louis University and a MA in Christian Education from Wheaton College. For 15 years he was the executive director of youth development and college access organizations in Chicago’s Cabrini Green Housing Development.
In 2003, Greg established the Department of Postsecondary Education and Student Development (DPSESD) at Chicago Public Schools (CPS), designing and implementing an assortment of postsecondary, academic, financial, and social support programs and building university, corporate and civic partnerships to enhance college access. In 2008, he was named the director of the Department of College and Career Preparation (DCCP) for CPS, a newly formed department that consists of the DPSESD and the Department of Education To Careers. He has also served in leadership roles for several foundations and on over twenty non-profit organization boards.
In 2009, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, named Greg, Senior Advisor to the Secretary on the College Access Initiative at the U.S. Department of Education, where he currently serves.
Additional guest speakers include Frank T. Brogan, Chancellor of the State University System of Florida, Dr. Willis N. Holcombe, Chancellor of the Florida College System and many other Take Stock in Children supporters and advocates.
The theme for this year's conference is "Putting Our Youth on the Road to Success" as we will be unveiling several new web based program services that will assist our students as they transition to college and eventually into the workforce. We will also be honoring the 5 inaugural Leaders 4 Life Fellowship recipients. Leaders 4 Life Fellowship scholarship was created in partnership with the Asofsky Family Foundation. This scholarship will provide financial resources, services and support needed to ensure student success throughout college. The fellowship will provide a minimum of five students annually, who are already enrolled in Take Stock in Children, with funding for housing, meal plans, computers, books, supplies, other college-related expenses and internship opportunities. The mission of the Leaders 4 Life Fellowship program is to enable students to excel in a university environment by giving them the support and resources that empower them to develop their full potential as “leaders for life.”
We greatly thank the Asofsky Family Foundation for their generosity and commitment to providing our scholars with the opportunity to achieve the American Dream of a college education with the creation of the Leaders 4 Life Fellowship.
We look forward to an exciting series of professional development sessions from leaders in the field of education.
Donation to Take Stock in Children will enhance technology and improve college enrollment and retention for youth across the state of Florida
MIAMI, FL (October 14, 2010) – Take Stock in Children, a statewide non-profit organization with a 15 year history of working to help low-income and at-risk teenagers break the cycle of poverty by providing scholarships, mentors and hope for children, announced a major $1 million donation from the Helios Education Foundation at a special event attended by more than 300 Florida business and community leaders.
“The Helios Education Foundation supports the mission of Take Stock in Children and is happy to make this significant investment, ensuring that more of Florida’s youth has the opportunity to advance through education,” says Paul J. Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation. “We are sure that these funds will provide a wealth of benefits for generations to come and we encourage others to follow our lead in supporting this important organization.”
This $1 million donation satisfies the requirement of a recently announced federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education awarded to Take Stock in Children, which called for a 20 percent private sector match in order to receive the award. Take Stock in Children will use these funds for high school mentoring, enhancements to its web-based data collection system, online college readiness tools, enrollment training modules in English, Spanish and Creole and for online virtual college tours featuring major Florida colleges and universities.
With the federal and private grant funds, Take Stock in Children plans to launch its FLIGHT program (Facilitating Long-Term Improvements in Graduation and Higher Education for Tomorrow). FLIGHT is designed to improve academic and behavioral student outcomes, increase post-secondary matriculation and reduce college remediation. The program also aims to enhance utilization of student data to identify high-need students and implement timely interventions to increase their academic success.
“This investment will further demonstrate Take Stock in Children’s unparalleled success in graduating youth from high school and continuing their postsecondary education,” says Richard Berkowitz, State Board Chair of Take Stock in Children. “We applaud the Helios Education Foundation for making it possible for us to expand our new enhanced program model to serve Take Stock in Children students beyond high school and throughout their first 18 months of college.”
Take Stock in Children Recipient of Prestigious $5M "Development" i3 Grant
We are very pleased to announce that Take Stock in Children has been chosen as one of 49 highest rated applicants for the US Dept of Education’s Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant. Nearly 1700 school districts, nonprofit education organizations and institutions of higher education applied in order to compete for a share of the $650 million in i3 Grants. In order for Take Stock in Children to be awarded the $5 million Development Grant, we must submit documentation for the required 20% private sector match by September 8th.
The purpose of the Investing in Innovation Fund is to support innovative programs with a record of improving student achievement and attainment. The grant award will allow Take Stock in Children to expand the implementation of innovative practices that have a proven record of improving student achievement and student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, and increasing college enrollment and completion rates.
The proposal submitted, entitled FLIGHT (Facilitating Long-Term Improvements in Graduation and Higher Education for Tomorrow) met several of the i3 grant eligibility criteria and grant priorities as described in the original RFP. A summary of the project description can be found by accessing this link: http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/15583
This grant award winning proposal could not have happened without the collaborative efforts of several parties, but special recognition must be given to Research Associates for their very well written proposal and Judy Saylor for her leadership on this project. More information to follow.
Take Stock in Children Students in Santa Rosa County Receive Scholarships, Mentors …. And Laptops!
Story By Carmen Paige, PNJ.com
Brandon Wigent, 18, received the surprise of his life when fellow teenagers Nathan and Nick Gupta of Gulf Breeze gifted him with a laptop computer.
"I really needed a computer, and I was so grateful," he said. "I couldn't do my homework at home because my computer was not updated, and had to stay after school in the computer lab. It was frustrating."
Brandon and 19 other Take Stock in Children Santa Rosa County graduates received laptops and software courtesy of the Gupta brothers, who kept the donation a secret.
"The students were really excited, and we were really excited to give the computers," said Nathan Gupta, 17. "We had been looking forward to giving the computers to them."
The brothers raised more than $15,000 to pay for the gifts.
"When we realized (the project) was going to come through with the support of the community, it was amazing," said Nick, 15. "It just made us realize the community is behind these kids."
Nathan and Nick are great people, said Brandon, who just graduated from Navarre High School and Pensacola Junior College under the dual enrollment program. He plans to become a photographer.
"This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen done," he said. The brothers and their parents, Dr. Sunil and Lisa Gupta, are supporters of Take Stock Santa Rosa. The family has provided college scholarships.
"Nathan and Nick know Take Stock will provide the students with the financial support to get to college," said their mother, Lisa Gupta. "But, the library and computer lab may not have long hours, so computers will not be accessible."
Lisa Gupta said her sons researched what computers would be best for college students and looked for the best value for the money they raised. They even developed pamphlets about Take Stock and the use of computers in a college student's academic success to hand out when making their pitch to individuals and groups. "They were out and about a lot, sometimes until 9 p.m.," said Lisa Gupta. "They also went to a lot of breakfast meetings, some starting at 6:30 a.m. So, they worked hard."
Santa Rosa has had a Take Stock program for 14 years. Scholarships, mentors and hope are provided for low-income youth in grades 6-9, who are chosen through an application process.
"We need more mentors in Pace, Milton and Navarre," said Angi Brown, program director. "Mentors meet with students once a week for 30 minutes during school hours."
With 20 graduates, this is the program's largest class, Brown said. There are 122 students in the program. "All the kids have scholarships purchased," she said. "But, we are trying to raise $140,000 next year (to add more students)."
What the Gupta brothers have done is phenomenal, Brown said. "I knew they were doing this project, and it was hard to keep quiet about it," she said. "The closer they got to the actual moment of unveiling, the more I got pumped up."
Nathan and Nick are students in the Pensacola High School International Baccalaureate program, which has a rigorous curriculum. They are at the University of Maryland this week because their exhibit on muckraking journalism is in the National History Day contest.("We don't have too much free time," said Nathan. "We put in a lot of time studying."(After listening to the brothers talk about their research and enthusiasm for helping out, Michael and Jo-Ann Price of Gulf Breeze made a donation. She is a Take Stock mentor and the Price Family Private Foundation has given scholarships.
"Seeing young men this age get excited about helping other kids have the tools for success, I had to be a part of it," she said. The brothers have shown that youths can get involved, Jo-Ann Price said.
"These boys are the best of what this community has to offer," she said. "They saw the need for the students to head off to college with a computer, which is a necessary tool."
Nathan and Nick are making plans to raise money to give laptops next year to Take Stock's 30 graduates. "We realize how much we use our computers every day, and going off to college without a computer is pretty tough," said Nick. "It has been inspiring to us to give the computers with the community's support, and we want to continue."
Take Stock in Children Awards Seven Outstanding Programs
Take Stock in Children honored local program partners from across the state for their success in providing low-income, at-risk children with scholarships, mentors, and hope.
Seven awards were presented to program partners who demonstrated outstanding dedication and commitment to the students they serve during the 2009/2010 school year. The following awards were presented:
• Excellence in Mentoring – Communities in Schools of Bradford County and Flagler County Education Foundation
• Excellence in Program Growth – Take Stock in Children of Orange County and The Foundation of Lee County Public Schools
• Excellence in Program Management – Take Stock in Children of Miami-Dade County, Education Foundation of Lake County and Walton County Public Schools Foundation
The Florida Lottery, a long-term statewide sponsor of Take Stock in Children sponsored the awards ceremony and dinner attended by more than 160 educational advocates from around the state including Stanley Tate, founder of the Florida Prepaid College program. The Florida Lottery has contributed more than $19 billion to education initiatives across the state as they believe the future begins with supporting Florida’s children with a strong education
Take Stock in Children partners with American Express
Did you know, you can redeem your American Express Membership Rewards points for a donation? For every 1,000 points you redeem, Take Stock in Children will receive $10.00. Click on the "Members Give" banner to get started. Donations can be made in dollars or, if you are enrolled in the Membership Rewards® program*, you can redeem your points for a donation. Your dollar donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law and you will receive an immediate e-mail receipt that meets IRS requirements as a record of your contribution. The site also enables you to set up recurring donations so you can spread out your donation over time. If you are enrolled in an American Express Loyalty program, you can earn valuable rewards with virtually every dollar you donate.
Volunteer Mentors rewarded with "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day"
We are pleased to announce that Take Stock in Children will be participating in Walt Disney World’s “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” program through the HandsOn Network. Take Stock in Children is proud to celebrate the unsung heroes who serve as Mentors to students in their communities with this exciting rewards program. All volunteer Take Stock in Children Mentors are eligible and we encourage you to enjoy the benefit of visiting Walt Disney World. Please contact your local program agency for local volunteer mentoring opportunities in your community.
We appreciate your continued support of Take Stock in Children, and we hope that Give a Day, get a Disney Day will serve to recognize your outstanding commitment to Take Stock in Children and our scholars. We look forward to celebrating the spirit and power of volunteerism with you this year!
JANUARY IS NATIONAL MENTOR MONTH
A Message from Maria Sastre
President & CEO
Take Stock in Children
We know Mentors are the answer…
As we begin a new year, we, at Take Stock in Children, also begin a month long celebration and outreach campaign promoting and encouraging mentoring. National Mentor Month, launched January 2002 by the Harvard Mentoring Project, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, is a month-long campaign that aims to increase national attention about the need for Mentors and the positive, life-changing effects mentoring can have on the lives of our young people and in particular at-risk youth.
Research confirms what previously we had known only anecdotally or intuitively, that purposeful mentoring does work. A recent Research Brief published by Child Trends and titled, "Mentoring: A Promising Strategy for Youth Development," found that youth who participate in mentoring relationships experience numerous positive benefits. In terms of educational achievement, mentored youth have better attendance; a better chance of continuing into postsecondary education; and better attitudes towards school”.
The positive results of mentoring have also been validated by the exceptional performance of our students in Take Stock in Children. Our exceptional high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates have been achieved through our comprehensive program model with a core feature of in-school volunteer Mentors who serve our students.
In addition, other tangible benefits of being a Mentor are that Mentors tend to have a beneficial influence on the health and safety of mentees. Mentoring appears to help prevent substance abuse and reduce some negative youth behaviors, which are critical success factors for students in our program. Mentored youth tend to have a more trusting relationship with their parents or legal guardians, which improves their communication. They also feel they receive more emotional support from their friends than do youth who are not mentored. It is obvious that all of these positive outcomes of mentoring contribute to the critical links in the chain of support that enable Take Stock in Children to change the lives of these children.
As you access your goals for 2010, please consider volunteerism, and more importantly, please consider becoming a Mentor for Take Stock in Children. If you want to change the life of an at-risk child, and contribute to your community, please donate your time as a Mentor and make a choice to become a partner in the process of helping a child grow and develop into a contributing member of society.
As we acknowledge, recognize and thank all of our volunteer mentors this month, please take a moment and think of the mentors in your life—a team coach, teacher, a concerned neighbor, or another caring adult—who cared enough to take the time and thank them for their consideration and again, consider becoming a Mentor yourself.
Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year from all of us at Take Stock in Children.
Take Stock in Children Launches New Website
Welcome to our newly redesigned website. This new design promises to be an engaging experience, allowing our visitors to learn about Take Stock in Children in a variety of ways - including video interviews with our students, mentors and sponsors.
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Speaks About Take Stock in Children on the Floor of the House of Representatives
Maria Sastre, Take Stock in Children President and CEO traveled to Washington to advocate for Federal resources, on behalf of Take Stock in Children, with Congressional Members, Senator Bill Nelson's staff, the Department of Justice, and the Education Department. The focus of the trip was to raise awareness for Take Stock in Children, and display its outstanding results while discussing ongoing needs.
During her visit she met with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida, District 18 in Miami. Ileana was instrumental in securing the Florida legislation for the Florida Prepaid Program in the 1990's, and as a former educator has a strong affinity to issues regarding education. After providing her with a thorough update on Take Stock in Children and its efforts throughout the state of Florida, she was impressed, so much so, that last week she spoke about Take Stock in Children on the House floor.
Take Stock in Children Receives Community Service Award
Take Stock in Children of Clay County received the highest prize at the inaugural Celebrate Clay community service awards. The $10,000 Paul E. & Klare N. Reinhold Awards honors Paul E. Reinhold, who told his family members often the story of the cathedral builder -- the workman who saw not the task, not the paycheck, but the dream that would be realized.
Accepting on behalf of the students and mentors, Anna Taylor, Program Director stated, "It is easy to see how Take Stock in Children exemplifies the cathedral-building spirit Mr. Reinhold admired. Without the countless hours and boundless energy that mentors, leadership council members, liasons and school principals devote to our students, they would not be experiencing the academic and personal success we see today."
Each year the Paul E. & Klare N. Reinhold Foundation awards a total of $65,000 to organizations that provide community services in Clay County.