The Immokalee Foundation held its Take Stock in Children Pledge Night at Immokalee Middle School recently. In attendance were 260 students, family members, mentors and community supporters.
Parents watched as their nearly 100 sons and daughters in the Take Stock in Children program pledged to remain drug- and crime-free, maintain good grades and meet with their mentors weekly in exchange for a college scholarship after graduating from high school. Throughout the academic year, students continue to attend programs and acquire skills useful in determining their future careers as well as performing community service.
Young people become eligible to apply for Take Stock in Children beginning in seventh grade, but many are accepted in later grades as well.
Luis Vasquez is a sophomore at Immokalee High School. The 16-year-old is exploring career options and hopes to become an engineer someday; being accepted into Take Stock this year will make that dream closer to a reality. At Pledge Night, Luis Vasquez Sr. and Floridalma Chavez talked with their son’s mentor and watched as their son vowed to maintain the high standards required by the program. Vasquez is on his way to becoming the first in his family to attend college.
While Vasquez has just begun his journey with The Immokalee Foundation and still is learning what is required, students like Angel Perez are around to help. Now in 11th grade, Perez was accepted into the program as a freshman and took the Take Stock pledge for the third time. “Now I really know what’s involved and what part I play in the foundation,” he said. “If I can help newer members, I do. And anytime somebody says, ‘We don’t have enough people’ to do something, I’m there.”
Perez plans to study marine biology and minor in computer science.
“Pledge Night is very important for students and their families,” said Noemi Perez, the foundation’s program services director. “It is an opportunity for students, parents and mentors to come together to reaffirm their commitment to the Take Stock in Children program. It is great to see the children motivated and ready to continue on their pathways to success.”
The Take Stock in Children program began in Immokalee in 2001. Since then, the foundation has awarded more than $1 million in college scholarships. Students are selected for the program based on economic need, their answers to essay questions and an in-person interview.
The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to success through college and post-secondary preparation and support, mentoring and tutoring, opportunities for broadening experiences, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit www.immokaleefoundation.org.