The Hillsborough Education Foundation’s (HEF) Take Stock in Children (TSIC) mentoring program pairs adult mentors with at-risk students to help them graduate high school and provide an opportunity to attend college. Shown here are mentor Dr. Marie Whelan and her mentee, Joseph’Lafay.

The Hillsborough Education Foundation’s (HEF) Take Stock in Children (TSIC) mentoring program is designed to give at-risk students the opportunity to attend college. HEF is accepting applications from students in seventh or eighth grade. The deadline to apply is Monday, May 15.

TSIC, a Florida nonprofit, was established in 1995. It is independently managed in each county. HEF manages the TSIC program for Hillsborough County and has been enrolling students since 1996. HEF administers the application process, recruits the mentors, monitors students’ academic progress and mentor interaction, raises funds to support the mentoring program and provides scholarships to students upon high school graduation and completion of the program. The Florida Department of Education, foundations and donors provide funding for the program. Every dollar that is raised is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

In order to qualify for the program, students must be in seventh or eighth grade, be enrolled in a Hillsborough County Public School, qualify for free or reduced lunches (income) and have an unweighted GPA of 2.5.

Students who are accepted into the program are paired with a success coach and an adult mentor. Students have the opportunity to earn a Florida Prepaid Scholarship if they maintain a 2.5 GPA, attend biweekly meetings with their mentor, stay drug and crime-free and exhibit good behavior.

Anna Corman, HEF’s chief program officer, said, “Students in our program face challenges that may prevent them from graduating high school or going to college. Our scholars are committed to working hard and maintaining their grades in hopes for a brighter future. Many of our students are without positive role models to help guide them through the challenges in school and in life. Their environment may lack emotional or educational support. For some students, they are the first in their family to go to college or even graduate high school. We are looking for students who can benefit from the motivation and accountability that mentors can provide.”

Since 1996, more than 1,200 students in Hillsborough County have been supported by the program. For the past three years, 100 percent of seniors in the program have graduated. Compare that with the graduation rate of 83 percent for at-risk students in 2022.

To apply, visit For more information, including on how to become a mentor, contact Corman at 813-463-4283 or

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