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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Take Stock in Children

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Human Services, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid

Mission: Take Stock in Children aims to passionately promote personal growth, self responsibility and academic success for deserving low-income students by providing a unique set of resources including mentors, scholarships, long term support, student advocacy and a guaranteed educational opportunity. Our purpose is to prepare and develop our students to be successful people, focused on being their best and contributing members of society. Our goal is to develop confidence, competence, pride, a sense of belonging and hope in each student. Achieving this goal will result in an improved quality of life for all of our stakeholders. We believe that a willing child can succeed with the help of passionate and caring people, encouragement and challenge, hard work and accountability.

Geographic areas served: Florida

Community Stories

55 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Program dedicated to the children of the community. When so many kids are being left behind they take up the slack and reach out to those who would probably be out in the streets. The program is a positive move in the right direction. We should all care so much.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Take Stock in Children for over 8 years. this was the same program but in Pasco County Fl. Now I live in the Villages and I have a young lady that I see once a week. I have found the program to be beneficial to the young ladies I have mentored and equally beneficial to me. this, to me, is a superlative program and deserves praise and continuting support from all. I have followed two of my charges thru college and the experience for both of us was more like mother and daughter and we still keep in touch but now we are friends. Bettina Van Buren

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's been a real pleasure to meet with my student every week. I've watch him grow to be a great young man. I still have 2 years of meeting with him, then he goes off to college. This is by far the best program for the children of Florida.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been in the program for two years and believe the program definetly makes a difference in the lives of the children we are mentoring. I have seen an improvement in the attitude and academics of my mentee in the two years I have been with him. Just recently his grades have improved dramatically over the prior year. The support we receive from the administrators of the progam has been extremely helpful. I think the program is well run is making a difference in the lifes of the children involved.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic scholarship and drop out prevention program. It encourages at-risk young people to excel by providing them trained mentors from the local community who care about them and their success. It incentivizes young people to not only do well in school and be drug, alcohol and trouble free, but it gives them a wonderful goal - a free four year college education - that they can achieve with their own efforts.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my third year as a mentor for Take Stock in Children. During my three years, I have had the opportunity to work with three exceptional youth from varying backgrounds all striving to become better citizens in our community. The experience I want to share involves one of the two students I currently mentor. My student and I have totally different backgrounds - my parents stayed together while they raised my siblings and I, we knew a stable family life and were awarded many opportunities. My student is being raised in a single parent household and spends much of her time in and out of shelters. During the last school year, she did not spend more than two weeks at any one address. During that time, her father was released from prison and came back into her life. It was a very confusing time for her. By spending additional time with her in person and on the phone, she was able to open up and share with me things that had happened to her as a child that were resurfacing now that her father had returned. She was afraid to share these feelings with the school and with her mother. The Take Stock Program opened the door for her to have a trusted adult she could turn to and share her feelings with and know she would be safe. Without this program, my student would not have known how to get the help she desperately needed. I was able to get her into some youth support groups over the summer and into counseling. This year, her grades are improving and she seems much more relaxed and happier. Her mother is still moving her around, but she can now speak with her father and that relationship is on the mend. The Take Stock Program goes so much farther than just giving a child the tools for an education, it builds the foundation of trust that may never have been known to a child.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my fourth year serving as a mentor for a local high school student, Angela. I have grown to love volunteering for my community and enjoy spending time each week with my student. I've watched her grow into a bright young woman and helped her prepare for her next milestone, college. Take Stock in Children helps underprivelged children pair up with a mentor to encourage responsibility and academic excellence in preparation for college. Without Take Stock, Angela would not have the means or motivation to go to college after high school. I'm proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization like Take Stock in Children.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working as a volunteer mentor with the Take Stock In Children program for about a month now. I find the people and program to be excellet in its focus on helping students excell at personally and achedemically. I meet once a week at the school media center where we go over the studen't career goals, achedemic performance, and personal growth needs. I believe that the two students are getting an additional adult input in helping them with there growth needs.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to be involved with the adolescent population for many years. I grew up in a loving home, but one where out of necessity my parents worked 24/7. In elementary school one of my teachers extended herself, and took an interest in me because I was very quiet. Today, that teacher would be considered a "mentor" and this bond lasted for 35 years. Through this program I am able to pass on what it meant to have a special person take an interest in me and I in turn can help others that are in the program. This program really does work!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have mentored 3 students for Take Stock. The organization is attentive to my needs as a working adult trying to volunteer my time, without taking advantage or asking too much. The organization listens to my requests (ie, matching me with like-minded students). My desire to work with teens has been fulfilled and I have been so rewarded! One of my students is now in college and we communicate almost daily. I know that we will have a life-long friendship. This work makes me feel like I am making a difference in someone's life.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Through Take Stock in Children, I have had the honor of working with a young woman for the last four years. We meet regularly through this mentoring program, and it has been as good an experience for me as it has been for her. When we first started to see each other, as the student entered 9th grade, we talked about many things. I picked up a box of crayons and some drawing paper and many an hour went by quickly as we drew pictures and chatted. I noticed at first, she would draw what I was drawing. If I drew flowers, she'd draw flowers. I'm not sure when the change happened, but I noticed that now when we color, she has her own original ideas. When I realized that one day, I realized that she was really becoming an adult. I guess that sums up how I feel about mentoring. A safe place to share and try out new ideas. Through our time together, we've both grown. I am honored to be part of this program.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I meet a female student once at week at her school. We meet for one hour. During this hour we discuss what's happening in her life, school activities, goals, grades, etc. My student had a rough year and failed most of her classes. I encouraged her to take a summer class to make up one of the required classes. We met with the counselor the first week of school (2009) and signed the student up for adult education classes to complete two more required subjects. It was rewarding to see my student do a complete turn around this year. She made all A's and B's on her mid term report card. She has completed 2 required classes through adult education by going to class 2 days a week after school. My student, like many other students from lower income families, would not be able to attend college if she did not get this full tuition scholarship. She is willing to make the required gpa to remain in this program. We look forward to working together to research colleges, fill out applications, research other scholarships, study for required college testing, etc. This program definitely helps a working single mom. As a mentor, we help keep the student on track and encourage her. I cannot say enough good about this program.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think this is a wonderful, worthwhile program that is very beneficial to its recipients. I think it not only helps the students involved, but also provides true satisfaction for the mentor as well.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my first year as a mentor and I feel like this organization is making a huge difference in the lives of the children. My student is motivated and thrilled that she has a nonprofit such as Take Stock In Children to stand behind her goals. What a wonderful program!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first got involved with Take Stock about 6 years ago as a mentor. The Program Director, H. Marlene O'Toole was a friend with whom I had worked on the Lake Sumter United Way prior to accepting her position as the Exec. of Take Stock. She said she had a young man, 7th grade, who was an at risk student academically, from a single parent househol;d (mother)with four siblings at home. I went through the training and screening program, provided by TSIC staff, was fingerprinted, and went to the "Contract" signing ceremony in which the student is provided with a 2 year community college and a two year + 2 years at a year college if the student maintained an adequate gpa, positive disciplinary reports, was alochol, drug and tobacco free through high school graduation. My student did graduate from HS, but, unfortunately through the last two year of school did only just enough to "get by". He and I stay in touch today, he is working in an unskilled position at a local restaurant. I could never find anything that would keep him motivated, but got much support and suggestion (which we tried) from the TSIC staff. I found that the staff took great interest in each child in the program and did everything they could to provide support for mentors like myself. I truly believe that, had the program not provided my student with a mentor, he would have dropped out of school as soon as he legally could. He got very little long term support at home (unless his mother really got angry) but his change of behavior or performance lasted a very short while. Despite the fact that he had been diagnosed as ADHD adnd while I/he did not achieve the goals that we set, initially, we did get him a diploma dn he is working. I now have a new stuent that I serve as mentor and feel that he is goal oriented and a hard worker. He too is from a single parent household with a divided family some here, some in Georgia. I believe that he will continue and do well in the program.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have loved getting to know the student that i mentor in Take Stock in children..Students such as these need extra guidance and passion from someone that is outside looking in..

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked as a mentor volunteer for one student for more than four years. She is about to graduate from high school this year. When I say "worked," that is a misnomer; every cliche you can think of related to volunteering comes to play. What I had envisioned initially as an effort became a weekly joy and my contact with the student has greatly enriched my life. Frankly, most of what I do is just listen and laugh. I discovered that she loves to tell stories and give detailed descriptions--all of which help her in her own speaking and writing courses. She also helps her own thinking by summarizing for me her course work every week and answering any clarifying questions. I am so interested in what she says that the time flies and we're always in the middle of something unfinished before the bell rings. Take Stock in Children is a highly organized and purposeful organization that focuses on an investment for a lifetime, not just for the student but for the entire family. It guarantees a low-income student two or four years of college scholarship if grade requirements, weekly meetings with the mentor and behaviors are met during high school. This "gift" is founded on relationships and uplifts the entire family and community. It is one that keeps on giving in ever widening circles--even building our nation's citizenry.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started my work as a mentor 7 years ago because I wanted to do something positive for young people. I consider going to college to be the key turning point in my life and I wanted to be a part of helping others reach that goal as well. I grew up in a family that experienced much financial hardship and because of the education I obtained I have been able to provide a much more secure life for my children. Through this program I am now passing that on to the students I mentor. It is a great feeling! My first mentee went to Florida State University last year (that was my school too) and I could not be more proud! The program really does work!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's easy for politicians, preachers and even pop singers to encourage us to focus on children through such catchy sayings as "the children are our future." Having said such, most go about their busy lives commuting, working, shopping,and parenting. If we truly believe the children are our future, our chlidren deserve more, and we owe them more. The TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN is a direct infusion into at risk childrens' lives. I volunteer at a food pantry, and cut checks for charities each year hoping that there is something good as a result. But this program works. TAKE STOCK children, through no fault of their own, have the cards stacked against them. They have to swallow their pride at food banks and social service agencies -- often queuing up for hours to see the only doctor willing to take them. Unlike charity, TAKE STOCK gives the students a sense of pride. I have seen it work first hand. I've had the luxury of time, and the educational ability, to mentor a young woman since 9th grade. I've seen her grow from a scared, silent, young girl living on the fringes and being on the fringes of cliques and circles at high school, to a strong, 12th grade student leader. I've been told by school officials how she appears to look forward to our weekly visit. Our visits are HER time. I am there just for her and that matters. I tutor her in her subjects, but I also offer consistency, some personal and scholastic advice, but most of all, an ear plugged in to just her for that hour. The TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN program offers these at-risk youth a certain amount of "cover" as well. At our school I have heard students proudly announce when queried by others why they were with their adult mentor, "that was my mentor because I am in a scholarship program." This is not charity work. It also offers a certain amount of "cover" for students when posed with drug and alcohol choices as they can state, "I can't because I'd be kicked out of my scholarship program." I think the program is not only encouraging children to have college aspirations, but perhaps is saving lives as well. I've told other adults about the program, and several have followed up. I met with my mentee this morning and shared with her these thoughts about her achievements and personal growth. She beamed! That's what the program is all about. PLEASE SUPPORT this program to the fullest. IT WORKS.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my third year as a mentor TSIC.THis is an incredible program tha works to help kids one at a time. My experience has been very positive. My student has gone through some trials during my time with her and right now we are figuring out ways for her o raduate early with enough scholarship to pay for her college as well as living expenses! Her parents just are not there for her and when I went to the program to ask for help they stepped up and made sure that she was fulfilling all the reuqirements to stay on track. This is a truly inspired program.