Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Things to Do Over the Holidays

With the holiday season underway, here are a few tips to keep things lively with family and friends

Top Ten Holiday Activities that Don’t Require an Internet Connection
  1. Getting on your family’s nerves… in person.
  2. Standing in an actual line at 4 am for the Black Friday sales.
  3. Getting lost (no smartphone) on the way to that holiday party you didn’t want to go to anyway.
  4. Eating too many cookies.
  5. Arguing about which DVD movie to watch instead of stumbling through the Netflix UI.
  6. Eating too much chocolate.
  7. Listening to holiday music… on an FM radio.
  8. Legitimately avoiding work.
  9. Sharing holiday inanities with your neighbors, not your Twitter followers.
  10. Enjoying the year’s holiday loot – no firmware update required.

Ok seriously though, this holiday season, plug from the electronics and plug into a good book and a nice cup of tea or coffee, and do make a point to share lots of laughs and love with your family while you can because before you know it, January will be here and back to the madness we will all go.

Top ten list taken from: http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2010-11/top-ten-holiday-activities-without-internet/retrieved on December 18, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Avoiding Mistakes

How often do we walk right into a situation without thinking abut the repercussions of our decisions?  Or what about when we've planned and planned again and our plans still don't work out the way we would have hoped, is it worth having another plan of action or should we just leave things alone and move on to something else?

Mistakes sometimes are inevitable, however a strategy still should be set in place in the event of any type of set back.

I would like to share an article by Dr. Ben Kim titled:

 Overcoming the Fear of Making Mistakes
posted by

Margaret Chuong-Kim
When I was a little girl growing up, my parents frequently warned me against making mistakes. They believed that as long as I did things slowly and carefully, and learned from other people’s blunders, there was no need for mistakes to be made. Whenever I did screw up I was often chastised for not being careful enough, for not thinking things through, or for not listening closely enough when I was told about other people’s mistakes. I grew into an anxiety-ridden teenager, afraid of making even the tiniest mistake, and strove for perfection.
As a young adult, I came to realize that I couldn’t hold onto the ideal of perfection any longer. For one thing, I can never be perfect! No one can. That is an impossible task, and to strive for perfection is to guarantee failure. For another thing, trying to avoid mistakes was limiting, because in order to do so I was avoiding trying new and different things.
How can you break free from the fear of making mistakes?
First, determine where your desire for perfection comes from. For me, it was the fear of being criticized, first by my parents, then by people in general. Maybe you learned to associate making mistakes with being judged, rejected, and ridiculed, and you have carried that association with you to this very day. Think about where and how your perfectionism originated.
Second, examine your beliefs about making mistakes. I had learned to believe that a mistake would lead to catastrophe. For example, if I chose poorly in terms of whom I befriended, surely that was indicative of my downward spiral into becoming a gangster. If I failed a math test, surely that meant I would never get into university and end up a homeless bag lady. You may be thinking, “illogical beliefs”, and indeed they are, but that is the nature of the fear that drives perfectionism. What are your “illogical beliefs”? Choose an instance where you are afraid of failing or making a mistake. What would happen if you failed or goofed-up? Then what would happen after that? How do you think you would handle it?
Third, find instances that prove your beliefs wrong. For instance, I have had my share of questionable characters as friends, and I have failed more than one math test in my lifetime. The world did not come to an end, I did not end up a gangster, and I did get a decent education. These facts prove my old beliefs wrong. What are some facts that dispute your beliefs about making mistakes?
Fourth, develop new beliefs. The fear of making mistakes develops as we grow and perceive other people’s reactions to our screw-ups. When we experience other people responding negatively to our mistakes, we learn to think of mistakes as something bad. However, contrary to popular belief, making mistakes can be good. How else would you learn without screwing up? Think about when you learned to walk for the first time. You were really terrible at it, as was I, as was everyone in the world. Even after we tried walking for the twentieth time, we were still not very good at it. But babies haven’t learned negative associations with making mistakes yet. Can you imagine if babies were afraid of making mistakes? No one would ever learn to walk. No one would ever learn to tie shoelaces. No one would ever learn to read or write. So think of making mistakes as a learning experience. It’s how we grow and expand our horizons. It’s how we develop as people. Making mistakes is also part of the human condition. To be imperfect is to be human, and we can’t expect any more than that.
Fifth, be kind to yourself when you make mistakes. You may experience the tendency to beat yourself up after you’ve made a mistake. You tell yourself you’re an idiot, you convince yourself that you’ve let all of your friends and family down, you torture yourself with guilt, and you think over and over again about how you screwed up. When you find yourself doing this, interrupt the process by reminding yourself that you have just had an opportunity to learn something. Ask yourself what you have learned. Ask yourself how you might apply it in the future. Remind yourself that you’re human. Then pat yourself on the back for adding a new skill to your set. Congratulations!
There are always at least two ways to interpret a situation, and you can choose to look at making mistakes in a positive way, or you can choose to look at mistakes in a negative way. It’s certainly more productive to perceive slip-ups as positive experiences. I find it helpful to think back to when I was a tiny little kid and how I must have made hundreds of mistakes in a week! But boy, so much learning went on and life sure was a lot more fun then.
Sixth, make some mistakes! In other words, try something new. Is there something in your life that you’d like to try, but fear is getting in the way? It may be a new sport, it may be taking a course at a local college, or it may be trying to learn how to cook. Whatever it is, so long as you’re not hurting anybody, why not give it a try?
 article take from:

 (n.d.). Overcoming the Fear of Making Mistakes. In Dr. Ben Kim. Retrieved December 13, 2012, from http://drbenkim.com/articles-mistakes.html.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Resume Writing!

Today we will talking about putting together a resume! A resume is a document that summarizes your employment, education, and community involvement history.  It can also detail any awards, honors, skills, or experiences that may be relevant to the job you are applying to.
A sample resume, this can be accessed in its original form
through the link at the end of this article

The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview or offer – whether it may be for college admissions or a job opportunity, your resume’s purpose is to persuade an employer or admissions committee that you have the experience and knowledge that is right for them. So let’s break it down!

A resume usually contains six sections:
1.      Contact
2.      The objective statement
3.      Education
4.      Experience
5.      Honors, activities, and outreach
6.      Skills

The contact section is an often overlooked, yet very important section because it is what enables your future employer to contact you with a job offer! Be sure it is up-to-date and accurate.  Under the contact section, be sure to include
  • your full name
  • your e-mail address
  • your permanent address
  • your local or campus address (if applicable)
  • your phone number(s)
  • your web address/URL
The objective states why you are applying, typically what position you are applying for (sometimes employers have multiple job listings posted), and a short statement of why you would be the right fit.

In your education section, you should list your education background chronologically with the most recent at the top.  If you graduated with honors (magna cum laude, cum laude, etc) be sure to list that! 

For the section on employment history/work experience, there are a few components to keep in mind:
  • Title
  • Position
  • Dates employed
  • Short summary of duties

The awards/honors section is the place for you to shine!  If you have been involved with any honor societies, received scholarships (like TSIC!), or recognized for your work, this is the place to post it.  If you have extensive community service work, it is also important to include a section detailing your work.  This shows how you are well-rounded and altruistic.

Finally, it is important to list your skills, including any foreign languages, computer skills, and personal skills you may have. 

For more information check out https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/719/01/. 
They have a great guide that helps you outline each section. 
Good luck and get writing!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Choosing the College for You!

College is a multi-faceted experience, a combination of academics, financial aid, social life, and so much more.  If you are in need of some help to decide which is the right school, we have compiled some factors to consider when choosing the college for you!

Identify your goals
Identifying what you want out of your education is one of the most important factors to consider in choosing the college for you.  Where do you see yourself in the future? What are your career goals? What enriches your life? If you are looking for specific training in a certain field, then you need to consider choosing a school with a strong program in your field.  A pre-professional education prepares you for a specific job and includes areas such as engineering and pre-med. Some schools like M.I.T. have very strong programs for those interested in the sciences but might not be right for someone interested in literature.  A liberal arts education, on the other hand, aims to equip you with general knowledge and reasoning skills suitable for many jobs.  Colleges can often be strong in certain areas, but perhaps a little weaker in others, so it is important to consider rankings of specific programs, and not necessarily just the school as a whole.
Speak to teachers and counselors. Your guidance and college counselors are specifically there to help recommend schools for your ability and interests.  If you can't stand the cold, it might be important for you to only consider schools down south; if you are interested in music, you may want to seek out schools with strong music performance programs; if you are looking for certain athletic scholarships, you may need to find the right school for your talents.  Your teachers and counselors can help you navigate this process to help you find your perfect fit.

Social life
College is not simply about academics; college is where you will be spending the next few years of your life, studying, living, and playing.  It is important to consider what type of city you are interested in living in, what kind of opportunities are available to you (including things like study abroad programs, research opportunities, financial aid, etc.), and what kind of social life exists.  Many colleges offer Greek life (sororities and fraternities).  For many, this is an excellent opportunity to meet new people, establish a network for years to come, and to get involved.  For others, Greek life can be overwhelming or take away from academics and other interests and may not be the way to go.  It is important to consider these factors in your consideration of “the big picture.” While a school may have strong academics, if you are unhappy otherwise, it may be advantageous to look to other schools as options.

Residential life
Similarly, it is important to consider where you will actually be living.  Finances are a big factor for many, especially in terms of paying for housing or rent.  Perhaps you may consider living at home if that option is available, perhaps dorm life is the way to go, or maybe you will choose to live off campus with a roommate.  Whichever route you choose, it is important to consider all of the implications, maybe living on campus will offer you more social life, maybe living off campus gives you more freedom, and maybe living at home is most cost-wise.

Attend college fairs or visit campuses
After taking all of these factors into consideration, it is important to try to visit college fairs and college campuses.  College fairs are events in which colleges will gather to offer prospective students information about their programs.  These fairs are great to help you see a variety of different programs and meet representatives from the different schools.  Visiting specific colleges allows students to see the campus in person; see the students, the facilities, and the location.  Often at college visits, students will also be able to meet with admissions coordinators to ask specific questions pertaining to the school, therefore making it a really great opportunity to see if you could envision yourself attending that specific school.

Once you have considered all of your options and developed a list of schools you are interested in, many counselors advise students to divide your colleges into three categories: schools that are a “reach,” ones that you have a reasonable shot getting into, and safety schools.  This ensures that you are reaching for your fullest potential while guaranteeing that you will be accepted to some great colleges that you can choose to attend.

If you ever have any questions about specific schools or anything about college more generally, please feel free to reach out to us! We are your College Success Coaches here to ensure you have the most successful college career possible.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Staying on Campus for the Holidays?

With the holidays coming up, maybe you find yourself staying on campus this year to avoid a long drive home, expensive plane tickets, or a myriad of other reasons, but don’t think that staying on campus will be boring, lonely, or for naught, as there are plenty of things you can do to make this break great!

Get together with others
Many colleges have festivities going on around the holiday season including yummy potlucks with friends you may not have met yet!  Check with your RA or Student Activities office to see what is going on, and if there isn’t one that you know of, start one yourself!  This is a great way to get involved and make campus life your own.
Check out Black Friday
If you’re looking to get ahead on your holiday shopping and want to go on a midnight adventure, Black Friday offers that much and more!  Make it a fun adventure by going with your roommate or other friends who are also around on campus!
Find a cool service project
Thanksgiving is all about being thankful, so it is a perfect opportunity to give back to others! If you are looking for something to do for the holiday break, check out local service opportunities at the soup kitchen to feed those in need, Habitat for Humanity to help build a house for a desrving family, or maybe you can coordinate a clothing drive for those affected by Hurricane Sandy in the North. 
Catch up or wind down
This break is also a great time to both catch up on work and unwind for some much needed rest.  Many students are either in thick of finals, or about to embark on the dreaded finals week.  This makes the week of Thanksgiving a great time to get in a little extra prep, or to savor the days after your huge chemistry final.  Many college deadlines are also quickly approaching, so if you are looking to transfer to another school for next year, this break is an excellent opportunity to crank out those applications and send them off! 

This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for students like you! No matter if you are on campus, with friends, or at home, we hope you have a safe, happy, and healthy holiday this week!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

TSIC President and CEO's article in the Huffington Post!

Take Stock in Children President and CEO Emilio Alonso-Mendoza recently contributed to The Huffington Post with an article about the college attainment gap among low-income students. 
Studies have shown that just over half of high school graduates in the poorest quarter of families attend college. As game changers in education, Take Stock in Children is making sure the road to the American Dream is accessible for all young minds accomplished through our proven program of scholarships, mentors and hope. We have a 17-year history of helping more than 18,000 students successfully attend college and enter the workforce. Read the article in its entirety here!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Civic Engagement: Your right and duty as an American !

Getting involved, Make a difference, volunteer, become apart of, etc.

These are the terms that are immersed into our societal conversation. You see these phrases in billboards, brochures, here them at speeches and pep rallies  But do we know what they really mean to each and every one of us?  As a citizen of this country, as a fellow member of society and as a diligent neighbor in my community, I have learned that in order to have a safer, cleaner, and respectable world, it is imperative that I always do my part to ensure that not only I get to continue to enjoy the quality of life that I am accustomed to, but that the generations to come are just as fortunate as well.  A couple of days ago, I had the distinct privilege to here First Lady Michelle Obama speak.  I came expecting to here a standard political push on how Florida should vote for this next presidential election, I left the speech as a better person, a better woman and a better human being.

Mrs. Obama candidly spoke about the opportunities that she had been afforded because of her being able to go to college and to make something of herself. For those of us who have been blessed to seek out this opportunity and have reaped it's reward, we understand first hand what it is like to go to college, then to progress forward in our careers and our lives.  We also know first hand that those who go to college also are afforded opportunities that wouldn't have even been prevalent in our lives had we not done so. Mrs. Obama then emphasized on something that many talk about but often times many forget; reaching back and giving back.  She stressed how once you have obtained success to not just go on about your life and forget those behind you but to make sure you reach back and help others in need just like you were helped.  Mrs. Obama's words rang in my head all night after I left that speech.

Being born in this country afforded freedoms that others may not have been able to have, being the first one of my parents children to graduate from college as well as a citizen who has consciously made a choice to immerse my life into service, I am keenly aware of what it means to " get involved ".  My commitment to civic engagement and social change came from people imparting into my life at a very young age a wealth of knowledge and opportunities that awoke me to the possibility of a better life and better world outside the constructs of my impoverished, crime ridden neighborhood.  But these possibilities were shown to me right in my neighborhood, right in my world.  This is why Mrs.Obama's statement left such an imprint on my brain and my heart.  For I am the product of what happens when people choose to reach back into where they came from and make a difference by getting involved, making a difference by volunteering their time and resources so that the future becomes apart of something great while feeling the responsibility of making their world a better place right where they are.  I made  a promise to myself, and to my Creator that I " HAVE TO" give back because someone made this conscious decision to do the same for me.

So no matter how you choose to get politically involved, make for certain that you are being actively involved in the process of make our neighborhoods, cities, countries and ultimately our world a better place for the generations now and those to come.

Until next time Peace and Blessings


Become a Follower Today!

We post new blog entries throughout the week, including Scholar Spotlights, tips on college success, and college admissions, so becoming a follower will allow you to stay up-to-date with all of our posts!

Why should I become a follower?
Following a blog shows authors and readers of the blog that you're a fan, and you can keep track of the blogs you follow via your Reading List on the Blogger dashboard. Following a blog will also create a subscription to the blog in your Google Reader account, so you are able to see all of our posts whenever you log on!

Google has produced the following to easily explain how you can become a follower of Take Stock in Children Alumni Alliance!

How do I follow blogs?
There are several ways to follow a blog. One of the easiest ways is to click on the "Join this site" button under the "Followers" widget on our blog (it is on your right-hand side)

  • Select how you'd like to follow the blog, then click the "Follow this blog" button.

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  • You can also become a follower by adding the blog to your Reading List on the dashboard.

So become a follower today, and happy reading!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Scholar Spotlight - Tia Brock!

Originally from Green Cove Springs, Florida, Tatila Brock graduated from Clay High School in 2010, upon which she then enrolled at the University of Florida with a major in Journalism and minor in Non-Profit Organizational Leadership.  Tia loves to write and blog, and even has her own blog dedicated to promoting the importance of mentorship and scholarship called Inspiring Mentoring Succeeding, of which she writes, “The blog is geared toward all teenagers, especially girls.  It’s a guide on how to get to college, and advice on what to do when you get there.”  Check it out here!
Tia credits Take Stock in Children as one of the reasons she was able to attend the University of Florida.  She became a TSIC student in 7th grade, Tia writes:

[Take Stock in Children] had a huge impact on my life and changed it for the better in several ways.  It is the reason I’m at the University of Florida, and the reason I’m so determined to succeed in life.  It’s also the reason I want to create a blog geared towards mentoring.  It’s changed my life…It truly gave hope to my life and taught me how to conduct myself as a student and professional so I could be seen in a positive light to others.

As a testament to her commitment to TSIC, Tia’s post-graduate plans not only include working for a magazine company, but she would also like to be a student advocate for Take Stock in Children as well as a mentor of the program.  Tia credits much of her success to her own mentor, Mrs. Janice Tucker, the vice principal of her middle school and the school’s director for TSIC.  Of Mrs. Tucker, Tia writes:

I never met anyone who cared about students getting a good education more than her. Anything school related she backed me 100%. She encouraged me to make good grades, challenge myself, and work hard so I could have a better tomorrow. She took me places my disabled aunt couldn’t; she was able to do this because she became my big through Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  She took me to architecture firms because at the time that’s what I wanted to be…went to different TSIC events together, such as football games, career workshops, and volunteer opportunities.

Even when she didn’t believe in herself, it was Mrs. Tucker’s steadfast encouragement that helped Tia during her college application process.  “When senior year rolled around it was crunch time. [Mrs. Tucker] and I worked on scholarships daily that we learned about through the guidance office at school and TSIC.”  Tia continues:

We went to the University of Florida’s career day and explored different college options over the Internet. Even though [Mrs. Tucker] encouraged me to look at a university. I doubted I could get in so I decided I wouldn’t apply…and I didn’t have the money to pay for the applications fees. Right then [Mrs. Tucker] whipped out her checkbook and wrote me two tickets to places that could offer me opportunities I had never dreamed of. I submitted the applications that week and waited for the results to come in. In February, they arrived that I didn’t get into one, but I did get into the other. I was now a part of the Gator Nation because my mentor believed in me even though I didn’t believe in myself.

The story of Tia’s relationship with her mentor reveals what Take Stock in Children is all about: by equipping deserving students with a support system and scholarships, opportunities become endless.  Tia is a true scholar and inspiration to us all at Take Stock in Children for her perseverance, dedication, and altruism. 
These qualities are further exemplified in her commitment to involvement on campus.  She is the Historian for the Gator Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalist, a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the former Historian for the Jamaican-American Student Association at University of Florida, and most inspiring, Tia is the current President and one of the founders of the Take Stock in Children Alumni Alliance club at University of Florida.  She writes:

Being the leader of the TSIC [Alumni Alliance club] is an honor and I would say it has empowered me because the executive board and myself are working hard to make the organization successful. It is allowing us to take things we learned as leaders of other organizations and implement them into what TSIC is all about.  When the opportunity presented itself I was all for it because of our mission: to implement the goals and objectives of TSIC by breaking the cycle of poverty, raising awareness, and providing opportunities to reinvest in our communities and out TSIC family.
At a Take Stock in Children contract signing event Tia talks about her life and her experience with Take Stock in Children, which you can view a recording of here. “Being a leader [of the TSIC Alumni Alliance club] has empowered me to make this organization successful because I believe it is, and will be, a great resource for TSIC scholars or anyone one who wants to see the next generation of college students prosper.  Take Stock in Children salutes Tia for all that she has accomplished, and we look forward to all that the future holds for her!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Take Stock in Children is built on a foundation of volunteer mentors, so we all know volunteerism can change a life, check out all of these other reasons to consider engaging in community service!
  1. See the world:

    Some of the poorest countries that are the most in need of help also happen to be some of the most breathtaking places in the world. The mountains of Nepal, the lush jungles of Costa Rica, the wide expanses of Kenya are just a few of the lush vistas available to you.
  2. Volunteers are needed in this economy:

    A recession hits charitable groups doubly hard, as people need more help but volunteers have less time and resources to give. Although the numbers are beginning to come back up, the recession is far from over, unemployment remains high, and the need for workers lingers.
  3. Help your resume:

    The job market being what it is, volunteer experience can make great material for improving a resume and helping yourself stand out. More employers are saying they're interested in employees with volunteer experience. And who knows? You might land a job with the nonprofit you volunteer with!
  4. Find your calling:

    High school and college grads who aren't sure what they want to do with their lives are often advised to take an internship somewhere to get a feel for life in a certain line of work. Volunteering can serve the same purpose. You may find your passion is helping people.
  5. Build lifelong friendships:

    Serving alongside people has a way of forming special bonds that can last for years. Especially if your volunteering takes you to a third world country, the newness and uncertainty of the environment encourages you to find similarity with your fellow volunteers, which builds a basis for friendships that can last a lifetime.
  6. Gain valuable experience:

    There are so many different ways to volunteer, the skills that can be learned in the process are countless. Whether you volunteer as a firefighter or a camp counselor, you'll gain valuable knowledge about the world and about yourself that can be applied anywhere.
  7. It's a great way to make contacts:

    You never know whom you'll run into when volunteering. The connections you make with fellow volunteers could prove invaluable when you return to the search for a job. It's just one more reason it pays to be nice to everyone.
  8. It can change your outlook on life:

    Volunteering is probably the best way to break yourself out of your comfort zone and show you what life is like for many people. Doing so can change your views on a number of important social issues, like welfare, public health care, education, and more.
  9. Learn about your community:

    In an era of customizable and portable technology, it's easy to create a little bubble for yourself, iPod blaring in your ears while you surf Facebook on your phone. Whether you recognize it or not, you're part of a community, and volunteering requires you to unplug and connect with those around you.
  10. Have your student loan forgiven:

    For certain federal student loans, the government will agree to cancel all or a part of the loan in exchange for the student performing volunteer work. The work must be done with approved groups like AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or Volunteers in Service to America.
  11. Learn a foreign language:

    Anyone who has tried to pick up a second language will tell you there's no quicker way to become fluent than by immersing yourself in a culture where that language, and nothing but that language, is spoken. Volunteering abroad is the perfect time to learn a foreign tongue.
  12. Get motivated:

    Maybe you just haven't felt motivated to get to work now that college is over. Since objects in motion tend to stay in motion, getting off the couch and volunteering is a good way to build some momentum that can carry you into your working career.
  13. Find inspiration:

    Say you're volunteering by digging a well in Africa and the brilliant idea for well construction hits you. There's no telling what kind of inspiration you can get while giving your time. Or maybe the inspiration you get will just be a better appreciation for wildlife, people, or America.
  14. It's the right thing to do:

     It's simply the right thing to do!
We hope you will consider the benefits of volunteerism, whether it is to build your resume, enrich your life, or to enrich the lives of those around you - service is of importance to us all.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen!

Take Stock in Children is proud to partner with WLRN, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Miami-Dade Public Schools to present the American Graduate series at middle schools throughout Dade County.  American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen” is a multi-year public media initiative, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to help local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis.  Beginning in the 6th grade, they follow students through high school graduation, to battle high school dropout rates and promote the importance of graduation.
Throughout the month of October Take Stock in Children’s Director of Alumni Affairs, Helen Quinn, and AmeriCorps College Success Coaches, Allison Whitcomb and Nyame Fawohodie, have been attending the presentations at different middle schools, wherein Ms. Quinn has presented on “Creating a Healthy Environment,” using Take Stock in Children’s educational module on bullying.  Students are given pre and post surveys to gauge their knowledge about bullying before and after the presentations, and we have found that student’s knowledge jumps about 10% after the presentation, revealing the effectiveness of the program.
The presentations also feature City Year members who talk to students about college life, emphasizing the growth and opportunities that are to be had after high school graduation.  And finally, the American Graduate presentations have featured notable Music Executive, Nelson Santiago who has worked with artists like Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Wisin y Yandel.  Mr. Santiago has shown students that through dedication and by surrounding yourself with positive people, you can achieve success. 

American Graduate focuses on shifting our language from if a student graduates to when a student graduates; it is no longer an option for these students, it is a necessity, and through partnerships and collaborations from communities, we can work towards a better future for our young people.
Check out these videos, one from a Take Stock in Children student, Tahrell, and one from his mentor, Principal Vicari.  The videos illustrate the important roles that mentoring and Take Stock in Children have in getting students on the track towards graduation.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

10 Habits of Highly Effective Students

As the school year is getting under way, an important subject to address is that of successful study habits! The following are 10 habits of highly effective students.* With hard work and dedication, any student can be successful!

1. Don't try cram all your studying into one session.

Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

2. Plan when you're going to study.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to complete their studying -- and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and on a whim typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule.

3. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you're going to study, but that you also create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week your studying will become a regular part of your life. You'll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and each study session will become more productive.

4. Each study time should have a specific goal.

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order to ace the vocabulary section on an upcoming Spanish test.)

5. Never procrastinate your planned study session.

It's very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of lack of interest in the subject because you have other things you need to get done first or because you find the assignment difficult. Successful students do not procrastinate studying. If you procrastinate your study session, your studying will become much less effective and you may not get everything accomplished that you need to. Procrastination also leads to rushing, and rushing may lead to errors.

6. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you've completed the most difficult work it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Starting with the most difficult work will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions and your academic performance.

7. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes! Always make sure to take good, thorough notes in class. Before you start each study session and before you start a particular assignment, review your notes thoroughly to make sure you know how to complete the assignment correctly.

8. Make sure you're not disturbed while studying

When you're disturbed while you're studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) you get distracted -- both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying find a quiet place where you won't be disturbed (that means studying on the couch in front of the TV is probably not the best place!)

9. Use study groups effectively

Ever heard the phrase "two heads are better than one"? Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to (1) get help from other students when you're struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others whereby helping both the other student and yourself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they're not structured and if groups members come unprepared. Effective students use study groups effectively.

10. Review your notes, schoolwork and other class materials over the weekend.

Successful students review what they've learned during the week over the weekend. This way they're well prepared to continue learning new concepts at the beginning of each week that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

*Based on an article from Education Matters.

Monday, October 1, 2012

American Graduate

Helen Quinn (first on the right), Director of Take Stock in Children Alumni Affairs and AmeriCorps PATEM, presented at a recent WLRN American Graduate school visit at North Dade Middle School in Miami!  The American Graduate series will continue throughout the month of October, so stay tuned for more updates!

Friday, September 28, 2012

TSIC Board Member Honored

Take Stock in Children Board Member and former Chairman Richard Berkowitz was recently honored by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce at its annual Salute to Miami’s Leaders program. 
One of nine honorees, Mr. Berkowitz is the founder and CEO of accounting firm Berkowitz Pollack Brant and was honored for his involvement with the Community Foundation of Broward and Take Stock in Children. 
Congratulations, Mr. Berkowitz and thank you for everything you have done for TSIC and the entire community!  Read the entire article here!

TSIC Student Receives Highest FCAT Scores in the Entire State!

A Take Stock in Children student, Marquez Brown, received the highest FCAT scores in the entire state! 
Marquez is a student in Washington County at Vernon Middle School, where he also maintains a position on the football and basketball teams, as well as being a member of the BETA club, Chipola Trio, and Algebra Honors. 
“I’m speechless,” said Marquez.  “I wasn’t expecting to have the highest score in my school let alone the entire state of Florida.  That’s just an unbelievable honor.”
An honor, indeed, and the Senate of Florida recognized Marquez for his great achievement.  We here at Take Stock in Children are so proud of Marquez and this wonderful accomplishment!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Freshman 101

Greeting All! 


The hustle and bustle of freshman life in college can be mind blowing.  Student advisors, professors, clubs, sports, relationships, room mates, budgeting money on your own, taking care of your own meals, YIKES! All of a sudden you are an adult with responsibilities that you may or may not be quite equipped for.  However, in all things a balance is key to having a successful college experience. 


With being a freshman, you may have extra amounts of questions and fears.  Don't worry these feeling are understandable and should be expected.  The best way to tackle your new experience is by embracing it wholeheartedly and getting the most out of all the resources available to you at your local campus.  Hopefully you have yourself in a routine that you do daily.  Routines give us a sense of familarity and aide us in coping through the pressure of the day.  However if our routines are issing key factors to keep us balanced burn out usually is sure to follow.  Burnout is what you don't want when you are trying to accomplish your goals.  A great tool in avoiding burnout is a schedule that incorporates all aspects f your life to give you that balance needed to keep you mentally, physically and emotionally sound. Here are a couple of websites to check out on survival tips and health and wellness tips.

How to Succeed In College Step By Step Instructions

101 Health and Wellness Tips for College Students

Until next time Peace and Blessings,

Nyame :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Getting Involved in College!

Though classes, papers, and exams are major components of the college experience, there is far more to college than the classroom!  Getting involved in college is a great way to enhance your experience, and hopefully your life as a young adult! 

Getting involved is great for a number of different reasons, including the following:*

1. It allows students to become connected to their school: Colleges are full of resources, but the responsibility is on the student to seek them out. Being involved can help you to do that!

2. It helps build community: Since students are sometimes leaving family and their friends behind, getting involved helps them discover new friends with similar interests and build a community.

3. It allows you to discover your passions and strengths: These will follow you all through life and helps you discover your likes and dislikes.

4. It's a résumé builder: Freshman year is not too soon to begin thinking about positioning yourself for future employment, and getting involved and gaining leadership are great ways to build up your experience!

5. Sometimes, busier kids do better in all areas: This will vary a lot by the student, of course, but more free time does not always equal better grades. Being involved will require some organization and time management on the part of the student—and that's a good thing J
I would urge you to get involved and do it often!  It expands your social, educational, and professional horizons.  You might meet your best friend, discover your new passion, or land your dream job through a connection or contact you made in a club, fraternity/sorority, or committee you joined.  Below are some different types of organizations that you may consider:

                                   ·        Student Government
                                   ·         Honor societies
                                   ·         Academic clubs
                                   ·         Religious clubs
                                   ·         Committees (Homecoming, Academic Planning)
                                   ·         Athletic clubs (competitive, intermural, club)
                                   ·         Greek life (fraternities, sororities)

No matter what you decide to do, have fun with it!  Try and expose yourself to something outside of your comfort zone, meet new people, and have a wonderful time!

*adapted from US News & World Report