Take Stock in Children of Broward is serving a community with grim statistics regarding high school graduation: only about half of the kids in this Florida community earn a high school diploma. But the nonprofit is turning this statistic around through the medium of mentoring. Kars4Kids was impressed at the success rate of the Take Stock in Children of Broward model, and as a result, we were thrilled to award them a small grant. We had a chat with Take Stock in Children of Broward Executive Director Amanda Frey to learn more about the work of this nonprofit:
Kars4Kids: Can you tell us about your demographic?
Amanda Frey: We focus on low-income, at-risk youth in our community. They are primarily in high school, but we also work with middle school students.
Kars4Kids: How many students are currently enrolled in your programs? How do they find their way to TSIC?
Amanda Frey: We are currently serving 230 in middle school/high school and 123 college students.
Kars4Kids: You match students with mentors. How does that process work? How often do mentors meet with students?
Amanda Frey: Our mentors are community volunteers who give of their time to meet with our students every other week for 30-45 minutes. Students are matched with mentors based on commonalities and geographic locations.
Kars4Kids: How many mentors do you have at TSIC? Do mentors take on multiple mentees?
Amanda Frey: Yes! 100%. We currently have 198 mentors, many of them mentoring multiple students in the program.
Kars4Kids: Can you talk to us about your College Success Coaching?
Amanda Frey: Every student is assigned a College Success Coach as a case manager who meets with the student on a quarterly basis to review grade specific checklists, college and career handouts, and other important information to prepare students to not only be college eligible, but college and career ready. They also review academics such as grades, attendance, and behavior, while providing assistance and remediation for those who need it.
Kars4Kids: TSIC has a college scholarship program. Can you tell us about that, please?
Amanda Frey: Every student is awarded a 2-year Florida Prepaid Scholarship (60 college credits) upon enrolling in our program.
Kars4Kids: You have some requirements for students participating in your programs. Can you speak to that, please?
Amanda Frey: To keep the scholarship and remain in our program students must maintain a C or higher in all classes, have good attendance, and good behavior. Accountability is important to us!
Kars4Kids: According to your website, only about half of all Broward County children graduate high school, and only half of them enroll in college. But TSIC participants have a 100 percent high school graduation rate, with 96 percent college enrollment. To what do you attribute this success?
Amanda Frey: Mentoring is key. Knowing that they have a group of people holding them accountable for their actions and success is critical to their perseverance in completing their education.
Kars4Kids: How did the pandemic affect your operations?
Amanda Frey: With schools closing their brick and mortar, we had to fully go virtual with our services beginning in April of 2020. We continued to remain virtual and have had great success this past school year, with students logging more than 4000 mentor sessions! We will continue to provide virtual mentoring, combined with our in-person mentoring in 2021-2022.
Kars4Kids: What’s next for Take Stock in Children of Broward?
Amanda Frey: We are hoping to expand our career readiness programming this upcoming school year to include life-skills and career workshops, as well as volunteer, job-shadowing, and internship opportunities for our students.