By Rose Klein
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Take Stock In Children, a non-profit organization that provides economic and future opportunities for youth who come from low-income families, helped 15 Madison County students graduate this year, with honors, from Madison County High School.
After graduation, Take Stock will provide those same 15 students with scholarships to attend a community college or university.
The organization was established in Florida in 1995 so that those who might not otherwise attend college would have an avenue to do so, encouraging them to break the cycle of poverty in their lives through education. The Madison program was organized in 1999 and since its inception, has brought benefit to 100 Madison County students and families. Almost half of those students have, or are, attending a community college or university, with 20 being recipients of certifications or degrees.
The road to receiving benefits from Take Stock are not easy, but well worth the effort, as the non-profit strives to help their students become college graduates, ready for the workforce. After enrolling in the Take Stock in Children program, selected students (grades 6th through 9th), along with their parents/guardians, sign contracts agreeing to fulfill
specific performance standards. To receive scholarships, students must stay in school, maintain good grades, exhibit good behavior, remain crime and drug free and meet with their mentors once a week. Students who do not fulfill program standards risk losing their college scholarship.
Students are paired with an adult mentor who meets with them at their school for an hour each week. The mentors are trained and monitored and provide students with motivation, guidance, friendship and support. Students are also given a Case Manager who will meet with the student and provide assistance and program support in order to ensure academic success. Every student who successfully fulfills the requirements receives a fully paid college tuition scholarship or may choose a post-secondary vocational training course. To ensure each student has a successful transition into college, Take Stock also provides services to these students through their freshman year of college.
Currently, the Take Stock program here in Madison, has 71 students working on contracts. For more information about Take Stock go to their website at www.takestockinchildren.org. For information on the Madison Take Stock, email Jo Willis at JoaWillis @embarqmail.com.