In early 2022, Gulf Coast Community Foundation provided a grant to Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County to help launch a college success coach for Booker High School students. Take Stock in Children provides a unique opportunity for low-income and at-risk students, many from minority families, to escape the cycle of poverty through education. Gulf Coast Community Foundation transforms our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast serves the needs of our region through systemic change and viable solutions as a partner in philanthropy and a leader in community initiatives. With high school graduation time upon us, low-income students who are the first in their family to attend college often need help overcoming barriers including cost, college applications, and more. Gulf Coast was ready to support these students in need.
Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County has a 27-year track record of successfully helping economically disadvantaged students succeed in college by providing scholarships, mentoring, college coaching, and hope for a better future. Starting as early as middle school, students are accepted into the Take Stock in Children program and receive the resources needed to be college ready upon high school graduation. Additionally, Take Stock in Children has a long history of student success at Booker High School making college dreams a reality.
When the need for a full-time Take Stock in Children college success coach on campus at Booker High, dedicated to help students overcome barriers and prepare a comprehensive plan for college and their career became a requirement, Gulf Coast Community Foundation was there to help. “Gulf Coast is proud to support Take Stock in Children to empower each student to achieve their highest potential. It’s exciting to have a success coach on campus each day working closely with students and their families to overcome obstacles as they arise,” said Jennifer Johnston, Director of Community Leadership with Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
“I love being on the Booker High campus where I can build relationships with the students, understand their cultural background, and advise students on developing a college plan for success,” said Earl Young, Take Stock In Children College Success Coach. Young wants other students to have the Take Stock opportunity. He hosted several workshops guiding students on completing the Take Stock application and provided one-to-one support until the application was submitted.
Boasting a record number of 57 student applications received from Booker High School students; his diligence and passion for helping the students was successful with 50 new students at Booker High School selected to join the Take Stock in Children program. The students and families attended the contract signing at Booker High School where students and their parent/guardian signed the agreement to maintain good grades, attendance, and behavior; remain drug free and crime free, meet with their college success coach, attend college readiness workshops, and meet with their volunteer mentor. In return, Take Stock in Children promises a college scholarship through a Florida Prepaid College Plan, mentoring, and college readiness resources to ensure a student is prepared for college when they graduate high school.
Gulf Coast understands the importance of Sarasota County students receiving support to pursue education beyond high school. With the addition of a college success coach at Booker High through Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County, their needs are being met and success is being found by each student.
To learn more about Gulf Coast Community Foundation, visit www.gulfcoastcf.org.