Partnership creates shot at scholarships for students

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Danielle Pelham just graduated from Englewood High. She's set to attend Florida State College at Jacksonville this Fall and major in Physical and Sports therapy.

She has earned a scholarship after five years with Take Stock in Children - Duval. Now, she is one of the first students to benefit from a huge new collaboration aimed at helping Duval county's under served kids.

"If I didn't have those resources, I probably wouldn't be where I am right now, going into college and being the person I am today," the 17-year-old said.

Lunched July 1 and spear headed by Goodwill of Northeast Florida, they're working with TSIC and FSCJ to make sure kids go to college.

Here's how it works:

To qualify, students must be either on or eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

7-9th graders who are accepted into the need-based effort meet with a mentor weekly in school. Tuesday, they were recruiting mentors. A student has to put the effort in..

"What we ask of the students is that they sign a contract with us," said Leah Lynch, Program Director of Taking Stock in Children, Duval. "We ask them to keep a 2.5 or above GPA. They must remain drug and crime free."

If students keep their promise and graduate from an in-state high school, they're guaranteed a 2-year prepaid college scholarship to any Florida public school.

"That alignment is going to enrich the lives of the students we serve," Lynch said with a smile.

More than half-a-million dollars in funding comes from the Florida Department of Education and Goodwill. Students also have the opportunity to work part-time at Goodwill while in college. It'll also help others.

"This presents an opportunity not only to help youngsters who need to go to school, but also those who would've gone to school if they had some kind of sponsorship and this does that," said Robert Thayer, CEO of Goodwill of Northeast Florida.

To learn more about the collaboration and how to apply for it, CLICK HERE to be taken to the Taking Stock in Children Duval website.


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