YOU can make a difference in the life of a child with Take Stock in Children

When it comes to the future of our country and the world, our children should be at the forefront and Take Stock in Children works hard to make sure that future is bright.

Chuck Licis-Masson, the Executive Director of the Monroe County Education Foundation, which is involved in Take Stock in Children, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about the program.

The organization is a mentorship/scholarship program for students most at-risk in Monroe County.

Students in grades six through 10 have to meet economic and academic eligibility requirements. A household maximum income is also part of the program.

Licis-Masson explained, “The reason why there are economic guidelines is because we offer at the end of the Take Stock experience, when the student graduates, they have access to a Florida pre-paid scholarship that’s valued up to 120 credit hours, which would afford you a bachelor’s degree.”

The scholarship is half state-funded and half privately funded.

For every dollar Take Stock in Children raises, the state will match it.

Licis-Masson said, “While they’re in the program, they are mentored once a week by a volunteer mentor. On campus during the school year, not during holidays or summers. They help the student learn self-advocacy skills, get ready for tests and homework and learn some independency skills as well and get ready for college. Our students go through a lot of college and career-readiness workshops and experiences.”

Just last night at Key West High School Take Stock in Children held the first free application for federal student aid workshop. It’s a requirement for all the Take Stock children to complete, but all are welcome to attend.

Licis-Masson said, “I encourage your listeners if they have senior students in 12th grade that everyone should complete the FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.”

That form will provide students access to all kinds of grant money and scholarships.

Licis-Masson said, “So there are several wonderful opportunities for our families and for students through that.”

With Hurricane Ian passing through the southwest Florida area, Take Stock in Children maintains contact with students to make sure they’re safe.

Licis-Masson said, “Our students having grown up on the island, they are probably pretty used to these storms, but not to this magnitude. I’m sure that they’re going to weather this storm very, very well. If we have to put the scholarship on hold while they regroup, we can certainly do that. Not only do we attend to our students who are currently in the program in middle school and high school, but we also support our students, over 250 students, who are accessing scholarships right now in the state of Florida.”

Mike Stapleford of KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM pointed out, “The scholarship opportunities are phenomenal, giving a lot of students an opportunity to a better life and a better education when they might not have that were it not for Take Stock in Children.”

The mentorship can also help students as they deal with the aftereffects of things like Hurricane Ian.

Licis-Masson said, “If you’re interested in volunteering and to mentor a student, you’re that extra and additional adult in that student’s life who’s not a parent or a teacher or administrator, but someone who is a sounding board, someone who can guide that student through the decision-making process, learning those self-advocacy skills. To get through some of these trying times. How do you make those decisions and which decisions do you make and how do you move forward? That emotional support as well as just having a sounding board on a weekly basis.”

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor is asked to call 305-293-1546 or click here: