Take Stock In Children

This appeal is written by English Professor Bill Stephenson:

“If you’ve been looking for a positive way to give something back to our community, please consider becoming a mentor for Take Stock in Children (TSIC). Currently Take Stock is looking for new mentors for the 2009-2010 school year. We’re down about 30 mentors in Alachua County, and six of the scholars who’ve lost their mentors are right here in the dual enrollment program at Santa Fe College.

“Each year Take Stock accepts a number of promising middle school students from at-risk backgrounds, provides them with an adult mentor, and guarantees them a full two-plus-two scholarship to fund their college education if they keep their grades up and stay drug and crime free. The primary function of the program is to provide those students with adult mentors who are willing to meet with their scholars once a week, on school property, during the school year. That’s the entire mentor commitment.

“Mentors are encouraged to sign on for the whole of the scholar’s public school career, from seventh grade through graduation, but many are understandably unable to do so, and so sometimes scholars find themselves without a mentor as they progress through school. As I mentioned, six such students are right here on campus, so it would be easy for SFC faculty, staff, or administrators to arrange a weekly meeting. Becoming a mentor to one of these students would also give you a chance to contribute to the program without necessarily agreeing to a multi-year commitment since these are students who are already nearing graduation.

“I’ve been a Take Stock mentor since 2003, and my scholar, Myron Dillard, recently graduated from Gainesville High School and the TSIC program. As a Take Stock graduate, Myron earned a full two-plus-two scholarship. He had could have taken that scholarship anywhere in the country, but he’s now a student here at SFC considering a career in either engineering or nursing.

“Myron got a scholarship, but I got the opportunity to meet, get to know, and eventually become a genuine friend with a fine young man, one who no doubt would have done well without me but who nevertheless appreciated having another adult in his life to help him with homework, talk about problems, or advise him when he was making an important decision. I can honestly say I’ve benefited from being a mentor at least as much as he’s benefited from having one.

“If you’re interested, you can contact me here on campus at 395-4418 for more information, or you can call the Take Stock coordinator, Nikki Wagner at 955-7003. We’re especially looking for women as mentors, as most of the SFC scholars in need this semester are female.”