Outside of my family and my work, one of the things I’m most proud of is the opportunity to serve as a mentor for the Take Stock in Children program in Marion County. I think it’s essential to volunteer and give back to my community, and I’ve been so impressed with what this program accomplishes. This non-profit organization helps at-risk and lower-income children by pairing them with mentors from the community to provide them tools for academic success and continued support for their goal of a college education.
Since its inception in 1995, Take Stock in Children has served more than 16,000 children in 67 Florida counties. I am one of more than 7,500 mentors donating time and effort to this incredibly worthwhile program.
As a mentor, I work with an incoming freshman from a local high school who is academically gifted, but faces challenges as a result of lack of financial or familial support. I meet with this young person once a week throughout all four years of high school. Each student that finishes the program receives a full prepaid Florida college scholarship.
My first mentee was able to graduate from my alma mater, Florida State University, without any student loans and landed a prestigious job at a global insurance company. My most recent mentee earned her college scholarship and is attending CCF in the hopes of becoming a lawyer one day. I developed such a close personal relationship with these fine young ladies that they last for years beyond high school graduation and both have worked in my law firm to gain work experience.
To learn more about Marion County’s Take Stock in Children Program (either to become a mentor or to enroll an 8th grade student) go to (www.takestockinchildren.com).