Lives were changed earlier this month when 29 Immokalee High School students took a pledge in the next step to fulfilling their post-secondary educational goals.
The students were inducted into The Immokalee Foundation’s Take Stock in Children scholarship and mentoring program at a dinner ceremony held at Ave Maria University.
The students pledged to attend classes and maintain a 2.5 grade point average, be a positive role model, remain drug and crime free, be a community volunteer, meet with their TIF mentor and attend TSIC workshops and events. The Immokalee Foundation supports and operates the Take Stock in Children program in Immokalee. The foundation currently supports more than 170 students enrolled in post-secondary education, many which are TSIC alumnae.
Don Gunther, TIF chairman, personally welcomed all the new inductees. “As an inductee of TIF’s Take Stock in Children program, each student has been given a unique opportunity filled with life-changing experiences.” TIF’s first step is to match each student with a volunteer mentor who will assist along the journey to urge, guide and motivate their mentee. The students will also receive one-on-one attention from TIF staff members who will provide a college and career success plan.
Attending this year’s induction ceremony was Madeline Pumariega, president and chief executive officer of Miami-based Take Stock in Children, “Together with The Immokalee Foundation, Take Stock in Children is empowering the children of Immokalee to navigate a successful pathway to academic success and positive personal growth.”
Delivering the keynote address was TSIC’s student speaker Amalio Montez. The Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient, Florida Gulf Coast University graduate and future dentist inspired students with his story of being the first in his family to graduate high school and attend college. “I remember being in the eighth grade and attending my induction ceremony; I remember the excitement of knowing I would be earning a scholarship. It was a sense of hope.”
Montez added, “To the inductees, you can consider yourself one step closer to your dreams. You may not know what your ultimate dream is, but you do recognize that it is possible.”
The Immokalee Foundation has a range of programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary training, mentoring and tutoring, and opportunities for broadening experiences, life skills development and economic independence. To learn more about TIF, volunteering as a mentor or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.