MARTIN COUNTY — Jana Solomon-Watson knew her daughter D’Asia Watson was destined for larger training.
She at all times pushed D’Asia, 12, to pursue her goals no matter boundaries the household confronted. However as a single mom of three who depends solely on her instructor’s wage, Solomon-Watson nervous concerning the monetary obligation that comes with sending a baby to a four-year faculty or college, she mentioned.
She was involved D’Asia would get “caught within the lure,” she mentioned, and change into simply one other statistic of a low-income scholar that will by no means see her instructional goals flip into actuality.
Till the mother-daughter duo realized of a brand new scholarship program.
D’Asia is now considered one of 5 college students within the pilot Copper Key Promise Program — a collaboration between native nonprofits that mentors stand-out, low-income center faculty college students and households; offers instructional and primary want packages and providers; and purchases a four-year scholarship within the scholar’s identify.
“I used to be shocked,” mentioned Solomon-Watson, of Stuart, who works at J.D. Parker Elementary College. “All of us, as dad and mom, assume our youngsters are particular. However then to have another person look and consider your baby the identical approach you do, it was very nice.”
Copper Key Promise Program
4 native nonprofits joined collectively to begin the Copper Key Promise Program: The Community Foundation Martin – St. Lucie; House of Hope of Martin County; Boys & Girls Club of Martin County and Nina Haven Scholarships, Inc.
The scholarship program is privately funded via two nameless donors and the Hobe Sound Neighborhood Chest, mentioned Elizabeth Barbella, chief government officer and president of The Neighborhood Basis.
The Copper Key Promise Program developed from an thought to assist low-income college students and households understand scholarship potentials early on, Barbella mentioned, and reduce socioeconomic obstacles that will deter them from pursuing larger training — corresponding to meals insecurity and language boundaries.
To make the concept a actuality, although, Barbella knew The Neighborhood Basis wanted to collaborate with different nonprofits.
“This was designed to be complete, which makes it totally different and distinctive from different scholarship packages,” she mentioned. “We all know that kids who develop up in wholesome, useful households are extra seemingly to reach each faculty and later in life.”
The Boys & Ladies Membership helped establish promising college students for the pilot program and also will admit scholarship recipients into its youth growth and tutorial help packages.
Home of Hope will help the household’s success, offering basic-needs providers and entry to clothes, meals and shelter.
Nina Haven Scholarships prepares college students for larger training and also will buy the four-year scholarship via the Florida Pay as you go School Basis and maintain it within the scholar’s identify.
The scholarship program goes past four-year schools or universities, Barbella mentioned, and could possibly be utilized to college students who want to pursue a commerce or vocation as an alternative.
A majority of the funding is allotted towards buying the scholarship, which Barbella estimated to value anyplace from $20,000 to $22,000.
Copper Key Promise Program recipients are “economically deprived,” Barbella mentioned, however college students should additionally exhibit a dedication to tutorial excellence, group activism and good character.
D’Asia, a seventh-grader at Anderson Center College, is concerned with drama, yearbook and the ladies’ basketball group at college, serves because the Boys & Ladies Membership’s “Youth of the 12 months” for its Hobe Sound department and partakes within the nationwide “Be Robust” antibullying marketing campaign, she mentioned. That is on prime of sustaining good grades.
Solomon-Watson mentioned she believes her daughter’s pure management potential, passionate perspective and pleasant persona helped safe a spot within the pilot program.
D’Asia is not set on a specific faculty or college simply but, she mentioned, however is aware of she needs to pursue a profession in enterprise funding, serving to entrepreneurs or small enterprise homeowners.
“I am very excited. I at all times needed to go to varsity, and I knew that we weren’t in a superb place with cash, so I at all times tried to slender down my choices,” D’Asia mentioned. “However my mother instructed me to observe my goals and be who I wish to be, and now I really feel like there’s hope.”
Altering the narrative
It was a no brainer to affix forces and alter the best way low-income college students and households view larger training, mentioned Keith Fletcher, chief government officer and president of the Boys & Ladies Membership of Martin County.
“The place you come from or the place you’re doesn’t decide the place you find yourself,” Fletcher mentioned.
Figuring out center faculty college students, like D’Asia, and exposing them to potential profession avenues at a younger age is essential, mentioned Tracey Etelson, government director of Nina Haven Scholarships.
“We’re sort of handing over a possibility and privilege that will not have existed via conventional scholarship means,” Etelson mentioned “Center faculty is a really pivotal time limit of a kid’s life. If (low-income college students) really know that they’ve a wonderful future forward of them, it should have an effect on their selections and trajectory.”
Because the Copper Key Promise Program is in its pilot part, it is unavailable to new college students, Barbella mentioned. Nonetheless, she hopes the scholarship program will develop and unfold to college students exterior Martin County as sources change into accessible.