Investing in our Students’ Future

Faces: Take Stock Mentorship
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 9:46 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Take Stock in Children. It’s a local project to invest in the future of students through mentorship.

Take Stock in Children is a mentoring program through the state of Florida, run locally by the Bay Education Foundation. It offers an opportunity for low-income students to achieve their college dreams while receiving guidance from community volunteers.

“It’s a mentoring program that goes into High Schools and we partner with students that are seeking scholarship and seeking a little bit more guidance and we partner them with members from the community to just have conversations, spend time together, and help guide them as they go throughout high school and transition into higher education,” said volunteer mentor, Brian Knox.

The program also provides students with a variety of skill-building opportunities. Upon graduation, they also earn a potentially life-changing scholarship.

“We bring students into the program in 9th grade, they complete mentoring through 4 years including workshops college success coach visits, other scheduled events we have for them, and then at the end of their 12th grade year they receive a Florida prepaid scholarship,” executive director of Bay Education Foundation, Kelly Langenberg said.

Using that scholarship, students with financial needs are able to pursue a two-year, or four-year degree. Many times, those students are the first in their families to attend college.

Mentors spend around an hour a month with their student having lunch and offering guidance. But in some cases, the mentors become the mentee.

“As much as I try and give back to him, I get probably ten-fold back from just learning what his perspective on life and school and what he deals with every day especially here in 2023,” said Knox. “My student is a straight-A student. He wants to be an aerospace engineer. The things that this kid will accomplish will be incredible. And it’s so cool to be there with him at this stage and see where he goes from here.”

The program has around 500 mentors and volunteers, but executive director Kelly Langenberg says they could always use more. If you are interested, get in touch with the Taking Stock in Children team at (850) 767-4111 or by visiting their site here.