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October 7, 2009

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October 7, 2009

I have been a mentor with the Take Stock program, and highly recommend it to both mentors and students. My student is excelling in her Junior Year and is showing enthusiasm at the prospect of attending college. I can honestly say that I have learned as much from as she from me.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The chance to meet with my mentoree on a weekly basis and get a "peek" into the life of a Junior in High School. To find that after 1 year, she is looking forward to our meetings.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 7, 2009

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October 7, 2009

I am a 3rd year volunteer with Take Stock in Children. I am happy to report that the young lady I meet with is bright, happy and BUSY. She is a go getter and talks about going to school for business and planning on becoming a small business owner. During our time together I have watched her run for student government, get a job, begin dual enrollment, volunteer at the local hospital and at the school. She would make any parent proud. She didn't need me for any of this. What she does need me for is to continuously challege her. "Is this activity necessary? what will you learn from this? Will you be able to keep all your commitments? When I began mentoring I expected to be encouraging a young person to grow into new experiences and to stretch. Mentoring is about encouraging and helping a mentee self-evaluate. That happens in a variety of ways--and it's different every week. We are both growing through this relationship.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

working with teens. So many folks believe teenagers are difficult and selfish. I love this age kid and find them full of life. This organization supports me in working with young people It offers the youth the opportunity to interact with other adults.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 7, 2009

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October 7, 2009

I have been a mentor for a student for 4 years now. I started with her when she was in the 9th grade and she will graduate this year. The last four years of her life have been difficult but she has hung in there and stayed in school. It took some time for us to be comfortable together. The first year, I just asked alot of questions trying to get her to open up and trust me. For a long time I was not even sure she liked me. I was unsure as to how I could really help her, and I thought about giving it up a couple of times. But here we are 4 years later and not only do I still visit her once a week, but she calls me at home when she needs to talk or has exciting news or needs a shoulder to cry on. After she graduates, I assume they will assign another 9th grade girl to me, but I will be there for Heather as long as she needs or wants me in her life.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I learned alot about myself from this experience and am grateful for the experience. I will continue to mentor as long a I can get to the school every week!

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Being a part of my mentees life.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, helpful, supportive

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help so many more kids feel supported and cared about, hopefully enabling them to stay in school and become successful adults.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 6, 2009

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October 6, 2009

I have been a mentor for Take Stock in Children for 3 years. I feel I have really influenced a student to stick to her goals of going to college dispite a really hard homelife and peer presures in high school to go astray. She is a senior and without Take Stock involvement in her life she would not want to achieve what she is so capable of doing. Santa Rosa Take Stock really does not give up on anyone that what wants to achieve.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated to the education of students and helping them achieve their educational goals.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Offer scholarships to more kids.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 6, 2009

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October 6, 2009

For four years I have been a "Mentor" for a young man who is a candidate for a Take Stock In Children (TSIC) scholarship in Santa Rosa County, Florida. In the abstract I cannot imagine a better program than TSIC--finding and providing college scholarships to bright kids, who might not otherwise be able to attend college because of financial or other issues at home. In the case of my particular mentee, this program is of critical importance. It has provided the centering point for the "village of support" required to keep him on track in school and in his life outside of school. I was a church "caregiver" to my mentee's Dad and got well acquainted with the young man and the issues he faced at home long before I learned about TSIC. Then at a critical point when I was faced with possibility of having to call in Children's Services to ensure the son's welfare, TSIC provided the solution. Through a series of "coincidences" (miracles?) a member of Santa Rosa County's TSIC Board, Vaughn Nichols, happened to know about Hunter and his family situation. Vaughn nominated Hunter for the TSIC scholarship program and asked me to be his Mentor. I accepted and thus was able to personally look out for Hunter's academic performance while closely monitoring the situation at home (until his Dad's untimely death early this year). Hunter is a fun, nice, very intelligent high school junior who has been largely on his own for several years, responsible for making most of his own decisions. He is a strong, and VERY independent young man as a result. Some of his "decisions"--mainly with respect to amount of effort--have led to grade problems. But in each case Hunter's TSIC-centered "village" has stepped in to help him get his grades back where they belong. This "village" includes me and Santa Rosa County Director Angi Brown from TSIC, Football Coach Chris Nemith and other teachers/counselors at Gulf Breeze High School, and Kara/Kent McConaghy who have opened up their home to Hunter. Members of the "village" have also become quite adept at identifying potential problems outside of school and "pointing them out" to Hunter. As a Mentor I meet with Hunter one hour per week at school...but I meet with other "villagers" by email and phone often on a daily basis. To me, TSIC is the perfect confluence of charity, volunteerism, and government. Folks from the community put up the funds...but when I need help as a volunteer, Santa Rosa County's Angi Brown will join me for a meeting at Gulf Breeze High School in a heartbeat, and it's a 45 minute trip for her. [If any reader of this letter is looking for someone deserving of an individual award, I nominate Angi.] My wife and I have twice attended the TSIC "Rally in Tally" on the steps of the state capitol along with Hunter. You can "feel the excellence" at this event with a thousand mentors and scholarship candidates, bands, Outback steaks, numerous dignitaries, and Governor Krist with his biggest smile of the year. I was shocked to learn that as of last year, no other state had this program. It should be in all 50 states! John Cooper Gulf Breeze, Florida Mentor, Take Stock in Children

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide 2,000 more scholarships to deserving high-potential kids, who are at risk of not being able to attend college.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 6, 2009

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October 6, 2009

This is my third year being a mentor with Take Stock in Children and it has truly been a blessing to me. This program allows you to bond with students and give them an adult’s view on the world that is not their parents. To often kids roll their eyes at their parents/relatives when they are given advice, but when you establish a friendship and a mentorship with one of these amazing children they truly listen and learn. They realize that you don't HAVE to be there. They realize you are doing this to help them and when that light goes on you get to see these kids go from children to aspiring young adults. When we meet once a week we talk about school, politics, sports, girlfriends, kids and many other interesting topics. To see a child wanting to learn more about the world and not just "school" is amazing. Then to see them want more out of life because of the things you spoke about is even more amazing. This is truly a mutually gratifying experience and I challenge more people to get involved and help mentor one of these amazing children today.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The new found friendships I have formed with my graduating students. 2 of my 3 students are now in college. I get to talk to them at least once a week and help them or just talk to them. They have thanked me many times but it's I that should thank them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 6, 2009

more

October 6, 2009

The students I have mentored were excellent students, but they needed someone to listen to them. Their home life was not nurturing. They needed some advise on social matters rather than academics. I think the program is well worthwhile.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

local high schools

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

helping others

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

professional

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

reach a larger number of deserving students.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 6, 2009

more

October 6, 2009

Wonderful, Wonderful! That has been my experience with the Take Stock in Children program. This is my eighth year in the program and my third TSIC student. One of my most memorable experiences is when my last mentee graduated high school. You see, she was failing most of her classes when I met her because of her low self esteem and personal issues at home. She had convinced herself that she couldn't do the work and that no one cared about her. I saw differently! Together, meeting weekly, we were able to bring her grades up and gradually her self esteem increased too. Once my mentee knew that I would be there for her every week she actually was excited for us to meet and do her work together. Honestly, you may not think that spending just one hour a week with a student is effective, but to some of these TSIC students it is like winning the lottery! Eventually, when I saw that she was going to be able to graduate I spoke to her about college. I let her know of all the scholarship opportunities that were available to her through this program. Needless, to say my mentee not only graduated high school with an average grade, but she went on to our local college to study to be an artist. Oh, how she loved to draw! Quite good at it too might I add! This program not only changes lives of students, but it changes our lives as well!! I am so thankful for the Take Stock in Children program!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

witnessing the value of the program! To have students who would have "fell through the cracks" so to speak if not for the TSIC program. The lives that have been changed by this programs existence is phenomenal.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Allow the mentors more time with the mentees. I know that is asking alot and maybe the impossible, but I am being honest.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the reward of seeing our students excel and become better in all ways of life! The knowledge of making a difference in a young persons life. The joy of seeing the students help others when they needed help themselves!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The best! I have not had one volunteer or one staff member be anything other than most helpful, courteous and knowledgeable about what they do! Pride! That would be the one word that best describes what I have witnessed within the staff and volunteers!.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do more I am sure. Just think of the many more scholarships that could be given with that kind of money. Big dollar scholarships at that!! The school supplies that could be given to each student enrolled would be a blessing!!

Ways to make it better...

if the state could give more money to this program to eleviate some of the fundraising pressures.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

trying to recruit more volunteers! There are many more students waiting to be mentored and just not enough willing people to do it. Sad, but true!

One thing I'd also say is that...

I am so thankful for this program. I have become a better person and I know many students have become better too!! The lives that have been changed and that will continue to be changed through Take Stock in Children is well worth everything sacrificied!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 6, 2009

more

October 6, 2009

Take Stock is just an incredible program for getting involved in teenagers lives, making a difference, keeping them on the right track in and out of school and getting them through college. I'm on the TSIC Leadership Board and have also served as a mentor for 6 years. I see the background from trying to select the most needy children for the program to providing counseling for children in unstable homes. We've seen so many children be the 1st to graduate from high school in their families and from college too. One child I mentored for 4 years and still keep in touch with is a Senior at the University of Florida going into occupational therapy. She is the youngest of 3 children from a family that the father left shortly after relocating the family to the US from Haiti. She is the first to graduate high school and graduating from college is just a dream come true for her. The support received from our local TSIC is what helped her to be able to believe in herself and achieve those goals.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

presenting awards at the high school graduations of the graduates of the TSIC program.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give it more money.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

spending time with children and helping to make a difference in their lives.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Generous with their time and money and dedicated to the cause.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

assist 2,000 more children by providing mentors, holding them accountable for their grades and actions and giving them college scholarships.

Ways to make it better...

I had a little more detailed script.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

budget cutbacks.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Each of these children that TSIC helps to get through high school and college will return the favor to us by becoming productive citizens of society and in turn volunteering their time and talents to others.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 6, 2009

more

October 6, 2009

Take Stock In Children is an excellent program. It gives children the opportunity to go to college where otherwise they may not get the chance. It also helps the community get involved with their mentoring program. Take Stock In Children brings hope to a child.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

getting to meet new people, learning so much about scholarships and being a part of a child's life in a positive way.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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