JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As students get adjusted to the new school year, there's a big need right now for mentors.
Take Stock in Children is hoping to recruit more than 100 new volunteer mentors. The mentoring/scholarship program has a proven track record with a high school graduation rate of 99%. This semester due to the pandemic if you sign up to mentor you will meet with your student virtually.
Andre Bodison just started his junior year at Andrew Jackson High School. He has his eyes set on college, and thanks to being part of the Take Stock in Children program he is slated to get a two-year college scholarship to help make his dream come true.
“It means a lot. It just shows that I overcame so many obstacles. I'm just setting the standard for the next generation, being a leader and not ending where my family members or peers have stopped,” Bodison said.
To help keep him on track Bodison meets weekly during the school year with his Take Stock in Children mentor, Judge John Guy. This semester they will be meeting through Zoom.
“It is convenient because we can do it really at any time and from any location, and to me, it's just about being together and having an opportunity to listen and share. That can be done virtually just as it can be in person,” Guy said.
It’s an investment Bodison appreciates.
“He takes time out of his day, out of his busy schedule and comes and spends time with me. It means so much,” Bodison said. “I think it's important to have a mentor at this age. He's someone I can talk to. I don't have my father in life, but I have my grandfather who plays an amazing role. Judge Guy is another father figure. He's a leader, someone I can look up to and get advice from.”
It's a one hour a week commitment that can have a profound impact not only on the mentee but also on the mentor.
“We talk about current events, what's taken place since we last met, what’s going on with his grades, what's going on with college prep, those types of things,” Guy explained. “It’s one of those things you get more out of it than you put into it, and it’s just having an opportunity to give back and share and be there for somebody who might not have somebody like a mentor in their life.”
Students can join the Take Stock in Children program in middle and high school. In addition to being matched with a mentor they are also paired with a College Success Coach, and they get a two-year college scholarship. 82% of the Take Stock in Children 2020 graduates enrolled in college. Right now there are 50 Duval County students in the program who still need a mentor. Take Stock hopes to enroll 100 new students who will also need a mentor.