Take Stock in Children to Provide Opportunities to 22 More Students

On Thursday, Feb. 9, Take Stock in Children of Orange County announced that 22 seventh-grade students from Orange County have been inducted into the program, which provides mentors and college scholarships to at-risk children.

At a ceremony held at Valencia College on Feb. 9, more than 450 community volunteers, community leaders, corporate sponsors and mentors appeared to welcome the new and returning students and their families.

The total number of Orange County students participating in the program is 130.

Take Stock in Children is a statewide initiative that helps underserved children succeed, starting at age 12, by providing college scholarships, volunteer mentors, early intervention and long-term support. High standards, parental involvement and community support are crucial to the program’s success. Since 1995, Take Stock in Children has impacted the lives of more than 17,600 deserving students in the state of Florida, providing more than 9,000 high school graduates with full college scholarships.

“This is one of the greatest programs in America for preparing students for success,” Orlando City Commissioner Daisy Lynum told the audience. “Once you get a mentor, the pavement to glory and success are right there for you.”

This year’s inductees include students from Howard Middle School (Natalie Menendez, Tonya Harris-Torres, Joann Mauricette, Dashicka Streeter, Briana Lawrence, Keith Blanding, Sarashly Fonseca-Gonzalez and Cassidy Harding); Lee Middle School (Samantha Perez, Destiny Campbell and Isaiah Hill); and Lockhart Middle School (Alice Brown, Ashley Demosthene, Lorenzo King, Benjamin Roldan, Tony Livert, Dionna Blackman, Coby Cook, Shelby Putnal, Eileen Urbieta, James Churchill and Raphael Powell).

“What you have been given is your golden ticket to a better future,” said Orange County School Board Chairman Bill Sublette, referring to the movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” “A college education and a college degree will open doors for you – and keep doors open for you.”

Valencia College introduced Take Stock in Children to Orange County in 2008, with a $1 million gift from the Florida Citrus Sports Foundation.  Today, that organization remains committed to the program. “You young people are our MVPs,” Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan told the audience. “We can’t wait to celebrate your successes in life.”

The first class of student participants is now in the eleventh grade and will graduate from high school in 2013.

To volunteer as a mentor, provide a tax-deductible contribution or to obtain more information about Take Stock in Children of Orange County, please contact 407-582-3336, takestockinchildren@valenciacollege.edu or visit our website at http://valenciacollege.edu/tsic