Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County Receives First Round of Funding for Laptop Computers

Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County (TSIC) recently received funding from The William and Sara Gill Fund, Dan & Clare Murphy Family Fund and Frederic W. and Margaret E. Kurtz Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee that, along with individual donations made through GivingTuesday, enabled TSIC to purchase 175 laptop computers for students currently enrolled in the
scholarship program.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed an issue of educational access that Take Stock has been battling for years. Schools have become increasingly virtual, without considering low-income student access to technology. “Thanks to the generosity of our amazing community, Take Stock Sarasota students can now be on the same digital page as their peers,” says Lisa Bechtold, Sarasota TSIC Executive Director. “Technology plays such a vital role in our students’ education. A new computer allows them the opportunity to begin the school year at the start line, rather than several feet behind the line.”
50 students, many members of the Class of 2021, received their new devices at the first phase of computer distribution which took place on February 27th at Booker Middle School. When asked what the laptop meant to them, students expressed happiness at being able to complete online assignments, attend virtual events and access the most up to date software. A TSIC senior said “Getting this computer grants me better opportunities for academic success. It will allow for me to have video meetings for school interviews, programs, etc.” In addition, students expressed relief at no longer having to share devices with multiple family members. One student explained “this computer means a lot to me because my brother and I were sharing one computer with our mom before, and it was always difficult to get our schoolwork done on time.” The next computer distribution is set for the end of May.
TSIC works to break the cycle of poverty through a mentoring-focused scholarship program. In Sarasota County, TSIC scholars are chosen in sixth through ninth grade through an application and selection process based upon financial need, academic achievement, consistent attendance and good character. Students who successfully complete the program receive a Florida Prepaid college tuition scholarship upon high school graduation.
Donations to purchase scholarships and support this technology initiative are accepted throughout the year and volunteer Mentors are always being recruited. Visit takestocksarasota.org for more information.