AVON PARK, Fla. – Sept. 30, 2016 – South Florida State College Foundation’s Take Stock in Children (TSIC) program has earned the Excellence Award – Gold Level Category for the third consecutive year from its statewide parent organization.

From left, SFSC’s Daniel Ochoa and Irene Castanon with Ele Bautista-Bernard of Take Stock in Children.

From left, SFSC’s Daniel Ochoa and Irene Castanon with Ele Bautista-Bernard of Take Stock in Children.

The award was announced at the annual TSIC’s College and Career Readiness Summit held in Jacksonville on Sept. 15. Local TSIC programs that provide college readiness and mentoring supports to middle and high school students vie for the award each year.

“The award is a source of pride for our organization and shows Take Stock’s dedication to serving the students in our communities who aspire to achieve their dreams through postsecondary education,” says Jamie Bateman, SFSC’s executive director for Institutional Advancement, who oversees the SFSC Foundation and the local TSIC effort.

SFSC TSIC coordinator Irene Castanon and college success coach Danielle Ochoa were on hand to accept the award at the summit.

The summit attracted more than 250 participants from local TSIC programs across the state. They heard from national leaders about the latest trends and data on innovation in education, mentoring, college readiness, and career opportunities.

The SFSC Foundation is the lead agency for TSIC in DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties. TSIC serves students who are at-risk for dropping out of school. Students are matched with a mentor, receive in-school support, and college readiness services provided by TSIC college success coaches. Upon high school graduation, students earn a college tuition scholarship.

TSIC mentors meet with their assigned students each week during the school year, offering encouragement, advice, and a sympathetic ear. A TSIC college success coach provides support and guidance to the mentor and the mentee.

Local TSIC programs earn the award by meeting rigorous criteria that includes a robust data reporting system that measures student readiness, recruiting, mentor matching rates, and mentor contacts.

“Our program staff, including mentors and the close partnerships with area middle and high schools, work hard throughout the year to make sure our students stay on track from high school to college and into a competitive career,” Castanon said. “We have had lots of success stories since the program began in 1995.”

For more information about SFSC TSIC, or how to become a mentor, contact Castanon at castanoni@southflorida.edu.