Chipola Take Stock in Children earns gold status

Take Stock in Children scholar Alaya Dudley participates in an online mentoring session.

The Chipola College Take Stock in Children (TSIC) program has achieved Gold Status in the state organization’s annual evaluation process.

Chipola earned 98 out of 100 possible points and has moved up four levels since 2018 when Debra Perdue, Chipola’s TSIC Coordinator, took over the program.

Take Stock in Children is a Florida-based nonprofit with than 7,000 volunteer mentors who work with at-risk students to help them succeed in school. TSIC scholars sign a pledge to maintain good grades, remain drug and crime free and meet regularly with their mentor. If they meet the goals and graduate from high school, the students earn college scholarships. Funds for the scholarships are raised by local businesses and families.

In a letter to Chipola College, TSIC Director of Program and Student Services, Ele Bautista-Bernard, said, “Congratulations on an outstanding—if not unexpected and challenging—year of service to students and mentors.”

Mentoring, college and career readiness, college success coaching visits, GPA checks, compliance and adherence to TSIC enrollment standards all were factored into the evaluation. Like so many other processes in education, the pandemic forced Chipola’s Take Stock program to transition to a virtual environment. Mentors and students met virtually on ZOOM to continue the work they were doing face-to-face before the pandemic.

Perdue said her only motivation was helping students make it through. “Many of the students were in a bad place. They were lost. I was able to meet with students virtually and set up mentoring sessions to give them some much-needed socialization,” she said.

Take Stock requires that students attend 15 mentoring sessions each year. Perdue says, “Through this challenge, we’ve drafted some very good mentors and we’re doing pretty well. Our mentors have conducted more than 300 mentoring sessions on Zoom since the pandemic began.”

Moving forward, Perdue says, “Our students and mentors are very comfortable using this tool to stay in contact and to prepare for college and careers. We will continue to use this resource. It is a great way to have social interaction and maintain the mentoring program.”

For information about the Take Stock in Children program, contact Debra Perdue at 850-718-2428 or perdued@chipola.edu.

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