BREVARD COUNTY ― Established in 1995 as a nonprofit dedicated to assisting low-income students, the Take Stock in Children of Florida (TSIC) program is looking for mentoring opportunities to grow its scope of assisting Brevard County Public Schools (BPS) middle-school and high school students.

TSIC’s mission states “to break the cycle of poverty for low-income, underrepresented, academically qualified students by providing opportunities for degree attainment through post secondary education”.

Currently, the organization is in need of mentors especially in Titusville and northern Brevard.

"Typically, we receive applications from students evenly spread throughout Brevard County. However, this year, most of our applications received have been from the North Brevard area, specifically Titusville," said Matt Corpiel, TSIC mentor coordinator. "What we need most are male mentors in the Titusville area."

Their mentoring program is a volunteer position that assists with weekly tutoring visits to students. Requirements for becoming a mentor consist of submitting an application, passing a required background check and fingerprinting through the BPS Security office, and attend training classes. No prior experience is necessary as TSIC trains all its mentors.

"Some of the benefits of being a mentor include being a friend, confidante, and role model for students, and providing them encouragement, motivation, and support," he said. "We host mentor appreciation events, spotlight a mentor in our monthly newsletter, and provide our mentors the resources to become a successful mentor and in-return, provide their students with the support they need to become successful as well. Mentoring is mutually rewarding, and mentors can pay it forward by sharing their wealth of wisdom and experience with students."

Last year proved especially difficult for teachers and students who had to conform to online lesson planning in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns. However, TSIC still boasts a 100% graduation rate for the 2020-21 school year.

"Take Stock is a multi-year program. Our comprehensive plan includes trained College Success Coaches meeting with TSIC students one-on-one to provide coaching, resources, and support and to monitor individualized student plans, organized workshops focused on skills and information needs for high school and college success, and monitoring key academic indicators and provide additional resources to ensure students stay on-track for high school completion," he said. "We have been able to continue to do all this virtually this past year and adapt where necessary."

When successfully graduating high school, TSIC students are awarded 60 Florida prepaid credit hours made possible by funds raised by the organization. Students have the ability to use these credit hours at either locally at Eastern Florida State College or any Florida universities, private colleges or approved vocational schools.

Teona G., an upcoming junior at Heritage High School, owes a lot of her academic success to TSIC and its mentoring program.

“The Take Stock Mentoring Program has helped me a lot. It helps me know that I am not alone and that if I need help, I have a support system. It also prepares me for school; some days I feel unmotivated to do work, but just talking to my mentor inspires me to keep going, especially during this pandemic, where I felt isolated from everyone and was stressed more than usual," she said. "Overall, I love the Take Stock Mentoring Program and I can’t wait to start up again this upcoming year.”

For more information about TSIC or how to become a mentor, call 321-633-1000 or visit - www.takestockinchildren.org.

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