MIAMI, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With its new $3 million U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, Take Stock in Children, Florida's preeminent scholarship and mentoring program, will fuel student success through an innovative school-wide mentoring and college readiness initiative in three high schools in Duval and Columbia counties.
Take Stock in Children is one of 26 groups nationwide -- chosen out of 434 -- to receive an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the United States Department of Education. Take Stock in Children has a 20-year history of providing a proven solution for more than 24,000 students across the state to escape poverty through education, reporting an unparalleled high school graduation rate of 96 percent, with 87 percent enrolling into college.
"Take Stock in Children is a proven solution for changing lives through education," said Ted Carter, Take Stock in Children's Board Chairman. "We're excited to infuse these schools with our mentoring, advocacy and college readiness programming and look forward to the anticipated results of college ready and college bound scholars."
Helios Education Foundation, whose mission is to enrich the lives of individuals in Arizona and Florida by creating opportunities for success in postsecondary education is supporting the initiative with a $250,000 private sector donation required by the grant. Take Stock in Children will use the funding to launch the mentoring pilot UNISON: Uplifting Non-cognitive Skills and Innovation through Student Opportunity Network project at Edward H. White, Andrew Jackson and Columbia high schools.
"Helios Education Foundation is committed to ensuring that every student in Arizona and Florida is prepared to succeed in college and career and we're doing that by promoting a college-going culture within the two states we serve," said the Foundation's President and CEO Paul Luna. "That's why we're so excited and motivated by Take Stock in Children's UNISON project. We are supportive of this initiative because it is taking a holistic approach to ensuring students, parents and school administrators all work together to better position every student for post-secondary success."
The program is designed to expand a 1:1 mentoring model into a novel schoolwide mentoring approach to impact more than 4,100 students over a four-year period of time. Students will also be provided with college readiness curriculum preparing them for post-secondary education and employment.
"We know that all of our students are capable of graduating from high school and college but to do that they need support along that journey, some students more than others," said Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools. "This grant positions Ed White and Jackson to prove this belief through a one-of-a-kind partnership to fill the gaps in our students' lives.
"The Columbia County School District is pleased to partner with Take Stock in Children to impact change in our schools," said Superintendent Terry Huddleston. "The Investing in Innovation (i3) grant will provide mentors and create a classroom culture focused on improving student success with a strong emphasis on post-secondary opportunities and careers. The addition of the (i3) grant will further enhance the ability for school staff and the community to positively impact student success,"
This is the second i3 federal grant Take Stock in Children has received. In 2010, the organization received $5 million to enhance its student data technology and develop a college readiness and retention advocacy program.
"This national award speaks volumes about the merit and success of our program," said Madeline Pumariega, President and CEO of Take Stock in Children. "We are honored to be recognized for the second time as one of the most innovative education programs in the country and are excited to have the opportunity to work with Helios Education Foundation and Duval and Columbia to transform more students' lives through education."
About Take Stock in Children
Take Stock in Children, a Florida 501(c)3 non-profit organization has been providing volunteer mentors, scholarships and hope to more than 24,000 of Florida's deserving at-risk, low-income students since 1995. Reporting an unparalleled 96% annual high school graduation rate and an 87% college enrollment rate, TSIC is Florida's flagship and most successful mentoring and scholarship program. In every Florida county, TSIC scholars in middle and high school pledge to meet regularly with their mentor, maintain academic standards, and remain drug and crime-free on the way to achieving a high school diploma. The reward for fulfilling these commitments is a scholarship to a Florida state college, university or vocational school. To donate, volunteer or learn more about Take Stock in Children, please call 888-322-4673 or visit www.takestockinchildren.org.
SOURCE Take Stock in Children