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'Take Stock in Children' needs more than 100 mentors to help students on the First Coast

Take Stock in Children needs more than 100 mentors to volunteer one hour a week with middle and high school students.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Right now Take Stock in Children needs more than 100 mentors to help middle and high school students in Jacksonville.

"I think I get more out of it than the kids do. I absolutely love my two boys. They're great, great guys," Ron Taylor said. "It's just great being involved with them and seeing them grow."

The Jacksonville Beach realtor carves out time each week to meet with the students he mentors at Fletcher High.  He has been mentoring the 10th graders since they were in 7th grade.

"I generally have lunch with them about once a week. It's just a continuation of what I did with my daughter when she was in school," Taylor said. "You start putting ideas in their head about hey, what might you want to do in college? What do you want to major in? Where might you want to go? And as I tell both of my guys, aim high," Taylor said.

 "He's just taught me many things if he wasn't there I probably wouldn't have known," Tallan Akers said. "The mentor can just be there as someone you can talk to, and they can guide you on what you want to do and how to make things better in life and school and just in general."

For Jude Jean-Louis, meeting with his mentor is one of the highlights of his week.

"We talk about everything, dance, school, friends, family, like anything that is going on in my life. I know I can talk to my mentor about it," Jude Jean-Louis said. "He's like a second father figure to me. He has always had the highest expectations for me. He also encourages me to do my best, and he's just all around like a best friend."

In addition to being paired with a mentor and a college success coach, students in the Take Stock program who maintain at least a 2.0 GPA get a two year college scholarship when they graduate. 

 "It just breaks my heart when I see the list sometimes of the number of kids who are willing to be a part of this program, and there's just not enough adults out there that want to get involved. This is our future," Taylor said. "It's wonderful to be able to make make a difference in somebody's life. So I would highly suggest it. I promise you, if you become a mentor, you will get more out of it then then the kids get. I promise."

To sign up to mentor click here.  

Students who are interested in joining Take Stock in Children can fill out an application online

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