OMYF Spotlight: Valencia College Foundation
By Josh Cohen
June 14, 2017
ORLANDO – Earning a college degree is virtually a necessity to fulfill professional goals and dreams. Without proper guidance and financial support, however, it’s very difficult for many to complete that academic journey.
It’s essential for students from low-economic backgrounds to get a boost. Many kids need mentors and some extra encouragement.
The Take Stock in Children program has been so successful and valuable for thousands of students in Florida for over 20 years providing that much-needed support and extra encouragement. The methods used by Take Stock in Children play a major role in helping more kids from low-income communities graduate high school and college. It also helps break the cycle of poverty.
This program received a $50,000 grant this year from the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF), who has donated $22 million over the past 27 years to those most in need throughout Central Florida. Members from each of the 17 organizations that received assistance from OMYF this year gathered at Amway Center this past February. It was an incredible and rewarding surprise for all of these vital foundations with $1 million being divvied out.
“This was an amazing event and it will do wonders to help our organization grow,” said Kelly Astro, executive director for Orange County’s Take Stock in Children program at Valencia College.
The remedies to reduce drop-out rates is well-charted by this program. Take Stock in Children provides disadvantaged children with a caring volunteer mentor, a college success coach and a college scholarship. It also helps engage parents, teachers, students and the community in making a difference.
OMYF’s donation will have a major impact as well for kids in Central Florida.
“We will be using the funds to help increase the number of students who are participating in our program as well as with the recruitment and recognition of mentors across Orange County,” Astro said.
Take Stock in Children has seen incredible success. In fact, 96 percent of participating students graduate from high school on time, 96 percent of the 2014 class entered a two or four-year program and 67 percent of the students complete college (Florida state average is 25 percent for students in poverty).