INK! enables SJC residents to make difference through Take Stock in Children program

Making a difference in the life of a child.


Lori Brandel of Vystar Credit Union (St. Augustine North Branch) has recently committed to mentoring a student through INK!’s Take Stock in Children Program, and she is one of several others who will support over 70 St. Johns County School District students in the 2018-19 school year.

Take Stock in Children is a statewide nonprofit organization established in 1995 to offer qualified students a unique opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty through education. This program offers students a college scholarship, ongoing mentoring and hope of a better life. Since 1998, INK! has been the exclusive umbrella agency in St. Johns County.

Students are selected for this opportunity when they are in the seventh and eighth grades, agreeing to maintain academic excellence, good attendance and behavior and remain drug and crime free. Once students enroll in Take Stock, they are assigned a volunteer mentor that assists the student in a variety of life skills, with the ultimate goal of attaining college admission. Students are required to meet with their mentors once a week.  

“Mentoring is the central core of our program,” said Donna Lueders, executive director of INK! “If you’ve been looking for a way to give back in a meaningful way, you can help these scholars achieve their potential. We always need mentors to provide our scholars with the support, encouragement and guidance they need to succeed in school and life! As a mentor, you’ll spend just one half hour a week with your student. From that 30 minutes, you’ll make a difference that lasts a lifetime!”

Upon graduating high school, students receive a two-year tuition scholarship to attend a public Florida post-secondary college or trade school of their choice. To date over 24,000 children throughout the 67 counties in Florida have received this opportunity. Every dollar raised locally to support Take Stock goes directly to student scholarships and is matched 1:1 by the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

Mentor Applications are available on the INK! website at . If you are interested in being a mentor or donating to support Take Stock in Children in St. Johns County, please contact Jim Wheeler, program coordinator, at (904) 547-7121.