Take Stock in Children
October 9, 2009
When I attended a local chamber function 9 years ago and listened to a representative from Take Stock in Children speak, I knew I had to become involved in the non-profit organization that offered a college scholarship to low-income, at-risk children. I was a CFO for a community bank and a single mother of twins. My issues of balancing work with family were minor compared to the testimonials from students that benefited from the program.
When I think of Take Stock in Children, I think of two faces, Jackie and Heather. I volunteered to be Jackie’s mentor in 2000 when she was in sixth grade. Jackie qualified for free lunch, made good grades and had a guidance counselor that had hopes of Jackie being the first to graduate from high school in her family. I met Jackie at the school with lunch in hand once a week. It became obvious to me that Jackie was very smart and loved the attention. I discovered she had never read a book and we began reading Harry Potter together. In fact, we read three Harry Potter books together. I continued to meet with Jackie once a week through high school. She lived out of her suitcase during a brief period of high school and constantly struggled to stay away from the wrong crowd. Jackie and I were excited and proud when she graduated from high school. She continued her education by attending nursing school. She is now working as an LPN. At her LPN graduation ceremony, she introduced me to the audience as her best friend and had made a special button with her picture on it for me to wear. Jackie would not be where she is without having someone outside of her family show an interest in her and without having financial aid from TSIC. I would not be as empathic and loving without having Jackie in my life.
In 2007, I volunteered to be Heather’s mentor. She is now in 11th grade and I have no doubt that she will graduate. She too has been a rewarding experience. I see the hope in her eyes and surprise in her eyes when she sees me show up every week with lunch in my hands.
TSIC is not a hand-out. Students and parents must sign a contract to work hard together toward a goal that will enable the student to be self supportive and a good citizen upon reaching adulthood. It works because passionate people want to instill hope in children to succeed. The passionate people are state representatives that are proponents for this government funding, mentors that volunteer their time, student advocates that work full-time for TSIC and track grades and attendance, and people in the community that donate money. Over 9,000 students have graduated from High School since its inception in 1999. I encourage individuals and businesses to become involved in Take Stock In Children by either becoming a mentor or a sponsor. Please visit takestockinchildren.com for more information.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Making lasting friendships and contributing to efforts in helping people become working citizens in our community.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Continue to work on more networking amongst the mentors (in progress)
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
I have enjoyed seeing the children succeed against all odds.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
Passionate and caring people that focus on kids, education and a brighter future
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
Provide more scholarships to low-income, at-risk students.
Ways to make it better...
I had more time and more money to give.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
Lack of funding
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & Mentor, My Bank sponsors local fundraisers, and I am on the TSIC Lake and Sumter Board.