Valencia College’s Bridges to Success Program received an award on Saturday, Aug. 24, from Orlando’s BETA Center, a nonprofit agency that helps at-risk families, pregnant teenagers and teen moms. The 2013 Family Impact Award was presented to Valencia at BETA Center’s ninth annual Diamonds and Denim Gala held this year at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
“It’s a pleasure to honor the long-standing ‘family impact’ work of Valencia’s Bridges to Success program,” said Ruth Patrick, president and CEO of BETA Center. “We know firsthand how important the Bridges to Success program has been for so many of our BETA Center teen moms and so many other young men and women.”
Past recipients of the BETA Center Family Impact Award have been Bank of America, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Orlando Magic, Darden Restaurants, Walt Disney World and Heart of Florida United Way.
Bridges to Success, which started in 1984, provides scholarships and support to at-risk high school students to encourage college enrollment and success. Students selected for the program start at Valencia the summer after their high school graduation. The program currently serves 845 students and admits 400 new students each year. Bridges’ one-year retention rate (summer to the second fall) is 75 percent, compared to a 47 percent retention rate for non-Bridges students. Research has shown that Bridges’ students complete 91.8 percent of their courses with an A, B or C.
BETA Center reaches more than 15,000 people annually through the areas of parenting education services, pregnant/parenting teen program, neighborhood-based family services, emergency family support services and a residential program. BETA Center works in partnership with the community to identify family support needs. More information can be found at http://www.betacenter.org.
Photo, left to right: Dr. Tanisha Carter, director of Valencia’s Bridges to Success program, accepts the Family Impact Award from Ruth Patrick, president and CEO of BETA Center.