orlando magic youth fund gives valencia’s take stock in children $35,000

Take StockTake Stock in Children of Orange County received $35,000 to help disadvantaged and at-risk youth be successful in school and go on to college. Take Stock was one of 25 local charities that received grants totaling $600,000 from the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, in celebration of the Magic’s 25th anniversary season.

“We are proud to be one of the 25 organizations recognized for making a significant difference in our community,” said Elisha Gonzalez, director of the Take Stock in Children program.

“The commitment of the Orlando Magic Youth Fund and The McCormick Foundation to provide opportunities to our students locally is unprecedented. This grant means providing scholarships, mentors and hope to many more students to end the cycle of poverty. We are honored to celebrate 25 years of the Orlando Magic and to be part of their All Star team.”

In addition to the grant award, each organization will be recognized during the remaining home games this season.

“In what has become one of my favorite days of the year, we are proud to assist these very deserving organizations who work tirelessly to improve the lives of youth in Central Florida,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins.

Valencia administers Take Stock in Children—a statewide program—in the Orlando area in collaboration with Orange County Public Schools. Valencia’s Take Stock In Children program pairs community leader mentors with students starting in the 8th grade. Students who maintain good grades, remain crime and drug free, and meet with their mentors are awarded a 2+2 Florida Prepaid scholarship upon graduating from high school. Students can attend a two-year community college and state university of their choice.

For more about Take Stock in Children: http://valenciacollege.edu/tsic

Source: Carol Traynor, Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu

mentor program provides 49 high school students with full college scholarships

Take-Stock-Seniors-Feature-Photo-2013

A college education can be life-changing – “a golden ticket to a better future” – and it’s a dream that’s about to come true for 49 graduating Orange County high school seniors.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, Take Stock in Children of Orange County awarded $30,000 college scholarships to 49 students who have participated in the organization’s unique mentorship program for five years.

At a ceremony held at Full Sail University, community leaders, volunteers, corporate sponsors and mentors — as well as the Orlando Magic dancers and the Magic mascot Stuff — cheered for this year’s high school seniors – the first group of students to graduate from the program.

Each graduating senior will receive a 2+2 Florida Prepaid $30,000 scholarship from the Orange County Take Stock in Children program, paid for by corporate sponsors. The scholarship pays for two years at any Florida community college and two years at one of Florida’s state universities. Altogether, the 49 students will receive $1.47 million in college scholarships.

“This opportunity from Take Stock in Children and our community partners is your ‘golden ticket,’ students, and your new door,” Elisha Gonzalez, executive director of Take Stock in Children of Orange County, told the graduating seniors. “Open it, and run. Run and enjoy the journey.”

In addition to the graduating seniors, 25 new middle-school students were inducted into the program, bringing the number of participating students to 150.

Take Stock In Children is a statewide initiative that helps underserved children succeed. The mentorship program starts when the children are in seventh grade. All are academically promising students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds: Some have parents who’ve been in jail; others have parents who have struggled with addiction, while many have been raised by single moms who are struggling to keep their families afloat financially.

Take Stock In Children provides volunteer mentors, early intervention and long-term support. If the children meet with their mentors weekly, keep their grades up and stay away from drugs and alcohol, they will earn a four-year college scholarship.

For scholarship recipient Cristian Rivera, the program has been “a powerful experience.” Cristian’s mentor, Orlando Magic executive Lucas Boyce, helped Cristian get his driver’s permit by letting Cristian practice driving his Jeep Cherokee. Boyce bought Cristian’s first suit, his own business card and taught him the art of making small talk.

Cristian’s goal is to work at Disney in a management position. He plans to start his college education at Valencia College and then study business management at the University of Central Florida.

Take Stock in Children was started in 1995 and has been successful in other parts of Florida. Valencia College brought the program to Orange County in 2008, thanks to a $1 million gift from the Florida Citrus Sports Foundation and another $1 million donation from Mears Transportation. Full Sail University was also one of the first sponsors to sign on.

Other sponsors include: Orlando Magic, the Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation, the Haddock Foundation and the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.

Speakers at this year’s event included: Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports; Garry Jones, president of Full Sail University; Dr. Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County Public Schools; Bill Sublette, school board chairman, Orange County Public Schools; Bob Kodzis, Flight of Ideas Inc.; and Dr. Sandy Shugart, president of Valencia College.

Guests at the event included: Bo Outlaw, Orlando Magic Community Ambassador; Nancy Robbinson, Orange County Public Schools board member; Susan Fernandez of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s office; Jill Mickle of Florida Citrus Sports Foundation; Deb Mears of Mears Transportation; Linda Landman Gonzalez, vice president of community relations for the Orlando Magic and former president of the Valencia College Foundation; Stephanie Allen, executive director, Orlando Magic Youth Foundation; T. Picton Warlow, vice president of the Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation; Alberto Fierro Garza, Mexican consul; Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson; and Daisy Lynum, city commissioner, City of Orlando.

Source: Marketing and Strategic Communications, Valencia College; Valencia News; http://news.valenciacollege.edu

mentors, scholarships and hope

Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Gives
Orange County Take Stock in Children $100,000 Check Take Stock 2

There were lots of cheers at the Amway Center Thursday night as the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation presented 17 Central Florida non-profit organizations with checks totaling $1.05 million. But there may have been few people happier than Elisha Gonzalez Bonnewitz, who leads Valencia College’s Take Stock In Children program — which was one of four organizations to receive a $100,000 check.

“It is an exciting day at Valencia! The Orlando Magic has committed to being legendary on and off the court, and their commitment to our community  is unprecedented. Their financial support allows us to continue to provide mentors, scholarships and hope to so many underserved students,” said Bonnewitz, who will use the grant money to offer more scholarships to more at-risk children.

Valencia’s Take Stock In Children program pairs community leader mentors with students starting in the 8th grade. The program rewards students with a 2+2 Florida Prepaid scholarship opportunity to students who successfully graduate from high school. Students can attend a two-year community college and state university of their choice.

Over the past 22 years, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation has distributed more than $17 million to nonprofits in Central Florida.

“To raise so much money for the children of Central Florida and for organizations, many of which are working with disadvantaged youth in our area, is amazing,’’ Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “For a third consecutive year we’ve been able to give away $1 million, which we’re incredibly proud of and we’re proud of the work these organizations are doing. For us to be able to give back to the community and help the lives of kids who need our help, it’s so gratifying.’’

Four organizations received $100,000 in grant money. They were: Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida ($100,000), The Early Learning Coalition ($100,000), Hope CommUnity Center ($100,000) and the Valencia College Foundation’s Orange County Take Stock in Children Program ($100,000).

The other 2013 grant recipients were: Adult Literacy League ($30,000), Beta Center ($76,000), Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida ($50,000), Elevate Orlando ($50,000), Florida Senior Programs ($50,000), Foundation for Foster Children ($25,000), Foundation for Orange County Public Schools ($60,000), Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida ($50,000), Hebni Nutrition Consultants ($49,000), Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando ($50,000), Orange County Library System ($60,000), The Gift of Swimming ($25,000) and the University of Central Florida Foundation ($75,000).

The recipients were chosen after a five-stage process that began in July of 2012. The beneficiaries were recommended by the OMYF  “VIP” Committee and approved by the McCormick Foundation’s Board of Directors. The McCormick Foundation, which operates the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund, matches all donations to the Orlando Magic Youth Fund at 50 cents on the dollar. With the Orlando Magic and the McCormick Foundation paying all campaign and administrative expenses, 100 percent of all donations, plus the matching funds, is given to qualified nonprofit organizations

The grant money is raised through donations by the Magic’s corporate partners, the Black Tie and Tennies Gala, the OMYF Open golf tournament, 50/50 raffles during games and online and in-game memorabilia auctions.

“There has always been a focus with the Magic on the youth and how we can assist them. There are a lot of challenges out there and we’ve always thought it is important for the youth to be well taken care of because they are the ones who are going to become productive members of our society,’’ said Dan DeVos, chairman of the Orlando Magic. “There is a lot of joy of seeing this event. The organizations here are proven successes and they will take the funds that they receive to expand or offer new or different services that will definitely have an impact on Central Florida. So it’s great to see the good that they are doing, the results they are getting and seeing the excitement in their eyes when they see the checks they are receiving.’’

Take Stock in Children of Orange County began in 2008 with 50 student participants from the three Orange County middle schools considered to be the most in need (Lockhart, Lee and Howard middle schools). Today, there are 155 children in the program. This spring, 49 of the students — the first ones in the program — will graduate from high school this year and begin their journey to college.

To be awarded college scholarships, students must stay in school, maintain good grades, exhibit good behavior, remain crime and drug free, and meet with their mentors. Students are held accountable; if they do not fulfill our program standards, they risk losing their valuable college scholarship.

http://news.valenciacollege.edu/

donor spotlight: mears family and mears transportation group

Mears Transportation Group pledged $1 million in support to Valencia Foundation to establish the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. Created in memory of Paul Mears Sr., the purpose of the fund is to support educational opportunities through the Take Stock in Children program. To honor this gift, the current Student Services Building, located on the West Campus of Valencia College, was renamed the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.

The Mears family has a long history of support in the local community and their philanthropic reach is wide. As a family-owned business, their giving, both individual and corporate, is personal. Paul Jr. and Deb Mears provide the personal connection between Mears Transportation Group and Valencia. Deb is currently a board member for Valencia Foundation. The family has been involved with the foundation for more than a decade and their giving includes endowed scholarship, major gift, in-kind and event support.

Mears Transportation Group also offers support to the Red Cross and is a founding contributor to the Give Kids the World Village. Deb Mears has served on the committee for the local Festival of Trees and Mears Transportation Group has sponsored the event, presented by the Council of 101 to benefit the Orlando Museum of Art. In partnership with their sister company Hello Florida!, Mears has served as a corporate sponsor for the March of Dimes “March for Babies” charity walkathon.

Even the local little league is a touch-point for their generosity, as Mears Transportation Group is a current platinum sponsor of the Delaney Park Little League. The company is also involved in Mears School Supplies Give-Aways to benefit local children.

To offer response to an international crisis, Mears donated $25,000 to Haiti earthquake relief efforts the day after the tragedy happened. Through employee pledges and a dollar-for-dollar company matching challenge, more than $39,000 was raised, in addition to 8,000 pounds of donated items and supplies.

Started through a handshake between Paul Mears Sr. and founder of Give Kids the World, Henri Landwirth, Mears has provided complimentary transportation for more than 37,000 guests of Give Kids the World Village. Additionally, Mears is a sponsor of Give Kids the World’s Black and White Gala.

The Mears family’s support to Valencia was heightened in the ’90s with the establishment of the Paul Mears Sr. Scholarship to benefit Valencia students in the hospitality management program. The family’s establishment of the Paul Mears Sr. Scholarship has led others to achieve their dreams – an education. After a meeting with the foundation’s executive director in 1994, Paul Jr.’s interest was sparked by Valencia’s hospitality program. He believed an endowed scholarship in this area would be a fitting tribute to his father.

Mears Transportation Group recently pledged $1 million in support to Valencia Foundation to establish the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. Created in memory of Paul Mears Sr., the purpose of the fund is to support educational opportunities through the Take Stock in Children program. To honor this gift, the current Student Services Building, located on the West Campus of Valencia College, was renamed the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.

Since 1995, Take Stock has impacted the lives of more than 17,600 deserving Florida students, providing more than 9,000 high school graduates with full college scholarships. The first class of Valencia participants is now in the tenth-grade and will graduate from high school in 2013.

This year’s gift to establish the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund will continue to transform the lives of future Valencia learners and community leaders – creating lasting, positive changes in our community. One shining example of a life transformed is India, one of ten children in an abusive and substance-exposed home. At age 16, on Christmas Eve, she suddenly found herself homeless. It was a simple question that changed India’s life: Do you want to go to college? India took part in the Take Stock program, graduated from the University of Florida and today is a teacher. Through tears, India shares that if it wasn’t for finding the right path through college and Take Stock, “you probably wouldn’t see my face today. I’d be a statistic. I can’t say thank you enough.” As of March 31, 2011, the foundation has purchased 100 prepaid tuition scholarships for Take Stock in Children. The generous funding from Mears will ensure that for those who think that the dream of college is out of reach, it is actually closer than they realize.

Paul Mears Jr. and his wife, Deb, believe that Take Stock in Children reflects the values Paul Sr. engendered: offering students a mentoring relationship, a hand up and a guaranteed college education based on their academic and personal successes through junior high and high school. With what is often called a “golden touch in transportation,” Paul Sr. founded Mears Transportation Group in 1939 with three taxicabs. Today it is one of Central Florida’s most recognized premier guest services and destination management companies. A family business at heart, his three sons always recall that Paul was an aggressive but fair businessman with the utmost integrity. He believed in doing things the right way and doing them well. High achievement and success were not options; they were expectations. Those same high standards were infused into both the Paul Mears Sr. Scholarship and the recent Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. In fact, high standards, parental involvement and community support are crucial to Take Stock’s success. Students and their parents sign a covenant to maintain solid grades and refrain from illegal activities, such as drug or alcohol use. Weekly mentor meetings help children to focus on their schoolwork and stay out of trouble.

The Mears family provides encouragement and motivation through their gifts and continues to groom future leaders and career-driven members of our community. This is evidenced in the voices of our students who have received the Paul Mears Sr. Scholarship. One such student, Juan, shares his passion and realized potential made possible through this scholarship: “Without scholarship patrons like you, there would be many students such as myself unable to pursue the career they’ve dreamed of.” After Valencia, Juan plans to transfer to the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. His dream is to establish a career that allows him to “learn on an everyday basis.” This is a perfect fit with Paul Mears Sr.’s expectation of high achievement and continues the pay-it-forward spirit of philanthropy and involvement demonstrated by the Mears family. Transport: to carry from one place to another. Paul Mears Sr. began a small enterprise which has expanded into a large-scale transportation brand. His gifts and philanthropic touch, which he passed on to Paul Jr. and Deb Mears, provide transport of a different sort – carrying those most worthy, and often those most in need, to a new life and success through education.

22 reasons to celebrate

Take Stock in Children of Orange County, one of Valencia’s signature programs, in partnership with Orange County Public Schools, pairs community leader mentors with students.

This year, 22 seventh-grade students from local middle schools will be inducted into the program, bringing the total number of participating students to 130.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, Take Stock in Children of Orange County will hold a ceremony to recognize and celebrate its new and returning student participants, as well as their parents, mentors, community leaders and corporate sponsors.

The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the Special Events Center (Bldg. 8 ) on Valencia College’s West Campus, located at 1800 S. Kirkman Road in Orlando.

Take Stock in Children is a statewide initiative that helps underserved children succeed, starting at age 12, by providing college scholarships, volunteer mentors, early intervention and long-term support. High standards, parental involvement and community support are crucial to the program’s success.

“The generous support of Take Stock in Children by founding partner Florida Citrus Sports Foundation and Mears Transportation has enabled us to scale the program up at a time when others are cutting back,” said Valencia President Sandy Shugart. “This is making a substantial impact on our community.”

Last year, the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund, awarded a grant of $100,000 to the Valencia Foundation in support of Orange County’s Take Stock in Children.

Attending Thursday’s ceremony will be:  Commissioner Daisy Lynum, City of Orlando; Bill Sublette and Nancy Robbinson, Orange County School Board; Ron Blocker, superintendent, Orange County Public Schools; Steve Hogan, CEO, Florida Citrus Sports; Linda Landman Gonzalez, vice president, Orlando Magic, and president of the Valencia Foundation Board of Directors; Betsey Bell, executive director, Orlando Magic Youth Foundation; and T. Picton Warlow IV, Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation.

Guest speakers at the ceremony will be: Yvonne Chang of Disney Vacation Development, Inc.; Nick Anderson, former Magic player and community ambassador for the Orlando Magic; Ramon Ojeda, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando;  Lucas Boyce, director, Orlando Magic;  Maritza Martinez, assistant vice president, University of Central Florida; Ed Bustos, director, Rollins College; Shanna Bender, mentor, Design Studio 15; and Russ Fritz, mentor, Highwinds.

This year’s inductees include students from Howard Middle School (Natalie Menendez, Tonya Harris-Torres, Joann Mauricette, Dashicka Streeter, Briana Lawrence, Keith Blanding, Sarashly Fonseca-Gonzalez and Cassidy Harding); Lee Middle School (Samantha Perez, Destiny Campbell and Isaiah Hill); and Lockhart Middle School (Alice Brown, Ashley Demosthene, Lorenzo King, Benjamin Roldan, Tony Livert, Dionna Blackman, Coby Cook, Shelby Putnal, Eileen Urbieta, James Churchill and Raphael Powell).

Valencia College introduced Take Stock in Children to Orange County in 2008. The first class of student participants is now in the eleventh grade and will graduate from high school in 2013.

Since 1995, Take Stock in Children has impacted the lives of more than 17,600 deserving students in the state of Florida, providing more than 9,000 high school graduates with full college scholarships.

To volunteer as a mentor, provide a tax-deductible contribution or to obtain more information about Take Stock in Children of Orange County, please contact 407-582-3336, takestockinchildren@valenciacollege.edu or visit our website at http://valenciacollege.edu/tsic.

take stock in children of orange county

Take Stock in Children of Orange County is administered by Valencia College, in collaboration with Orange County Public Schools. It is part of a statewide program that provides underserved children with a college scholarship and a mentor in the effort to help them stay in school, earn a high school diploma, graduate from college and enter the workforce.

This program is based on the principal that given extensive support, motivation and accountability, children will work hard to ensure that they graduate from high school and attain a college degree. Take Stock in Children of Orlando funds the college scholarships and student services through a unique public-private fund raising model, and the mentors generously volunteer their mentoring services to the children.

Take Stock in Children’s multi-year commitment to at-risk children is also an investment in the community. The education of a child is an investment in their future and an assured way of breaking the cycle of poverty.

The goal of Take Stock in Children is to continue to reduce the number of high school drop-outs and to increase the number of students who finish college and enter the workforce successfully.

Participating children begin the program in the eighth grade and continue on until they graduate high school. They must sign performance contracts agreeing to get good grades, exhibit positive behaviors and remain drug and crime free. In return, they will receive a 2 + 2 Florida Pre-Paid scholarship, which provides two years tuition at any community college followed by two years tuition at any state university.

For more information or to make a donation to this support the program, please visit Take Stock in Children of Orange County or contact Elisha Gonzalez-Bonnewitz, Director, Orange County Take Stock in Children or e-mail takestockinchildren@valenciacollege.edu

take stock means a chance at college

On Thursday, Feb. 3, Take Stock in Children of Orange County will hold a ceremony to recognize and celebrate its new and returning student participants, as well as their parents, mentors and community and corporate sponsors.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. in the Special Events Center (Bldg. 8 on Valencia Community College’s West Campus, located at 1800 S. Kirkman Road in Orlando.

This year, 24 seventh-grade students from local middle schools will be inducted into the program, bringing the total number of participating students to 108.

Take Stock in Children is a statewide initiative that helps underserved children succeed, starting at age 12, by providing college scholarships, volunteer mentors, early intervention and long-term support. High standards, parental involvement and community support are crucial to the program’s success.

“The generous support of Take Stock in Children by founding partner Florida Citrus Sports Foundation and Mears Transportation has enabled us to scale the program up at a time when others are cutting back,” said Valencia President Sandy Shugart. “This will have a huge impact on our community.”

Just last week the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund, awarded a grant of $100,000 to the Valencia Foundation in support of Take Stock in Children.

Attending Thursday’s ceremony will be:  Commissioner Daisy Lynum, City of Orlando; Bill Sublette, Joie Cadle and Nancy Robbinson, Orange County School Board; Commissioner Lui Damiani, Orange County Government; Ron Blocker, superintendent, Orange County Public Schools; John Newstreet, regional director, office of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio; Bill Dymond, president, Florida Citrus Sports Foundation; Steve Hogan, CEO, Florida Citrus Sports; Linda Landman Gonzalez, Orlando Magic and Valencia Foundation chair; Betsey Bell, executive director, Orlando Magic Youth Foundation; T. Picton Warlow IV, Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation; and guest speakers Adonal Foyle, former Magic player and director of player development for the Orlando Magic, and Tom Stroup, SWAT commander and host of the NBC reality series “School Pride,” which tells the stories of communities coming together to renovate their aging and broken public schools.

This year’s inductees include students from Howard Middle School (Selena Acevedo, Brook Bonner, Jacob Davis, Mahagony Davis, Daylees Guzman, Quiniya Howard, Destiny Lane, Jacob Mclemore, Mallorie Paulk, Natalie Raphael, Irene Rodriguez, Trinh Tran, Asia Watson, Devon Watson and Tia Williams); Lee Middle School (Umesha Beckwith, Taymel Christian, Jacob Henderson, Briana Murphy and Alaysia Sims); and Lockhart Middle School (Briana Campbell, Kevin Diaz, Robert Massaline and Anthony Swingle).

Valencia Community College brought Take Stock in Children to Orange County in 2008. The first class of student participants is now in the tenth grade and will graduate from high school in 2013.

Since 1995, Take Stock in Children has impacted the lives of more than 17,600 deserving students in the state of Florida, providing more than 9,000 high school graduates with full college scholarships.

To volunteer as a mentor, provide a tax-deductible contribution or to obtain more information about Take Stock in Children of Orange County, please contact 407-582-3336 or takestockinchildren@valenciacc.edu.

Source: Marketing & Strategic Communications