Take Stock in Children was founded in 1995 to combat a troubling and persistent dropout rate that plagued the public school system. With the backing of concerned education, community, and business leaders, Take Stock sought to give high-potential, low-income underrepresented students the resources they needed to graduate from high school, go to college, achieve degree attainment, and succeed in college, career, and life.
From the outset, Take Stock in Children was looking to be transformative. The program recruits participants in middle school, early enough in their lives to make a difference; it provides scholars with volunteer adult mentors, and the program carefully monitors students' progress. Students sign a contract to remain crime-free and drug-free, maintain good grades and behavior, meet regularly with their mentors, complete all required workshops and college coaching sessions, and earn a Florida Prepaid Project STARS scholarship upon high school graduation. The Take Stock in Children program emphasizes responsibility and accountability among students, their parents, and mentors.
Take Stock began with serving 500 students, and businesses took notice, recognizing Take Stock's potential as an instrument for building a more educated workforce. Among other companies, Florida's largest bank and grocery chain urged the program to expand. Within a year, Take Stock in Children had autonomous affiliate programs - franchises essentially - in every Florida county. The program's simplicity and flexibility and its emphasis on local control helped it thrive in diverse environments. The program has grown to include a postsecondary completion program and serves approximately 15,000 students each year.
Today, after 28 years since Take Stock in Children became a statewide program, we have successfully served more than 39,000 low-income, at-risk children through scholarships, mentors, and hope.”