Monday, November 18, 2013

TSIC Alumni Jake Rosenzweig's Success Story

Before, I was just a boy with a dream. Now, I am a man with a plan. My dream in life was to build a snowboarding shop in Alaska to let all of my friends snowboard for free. Now I am a well-educated University of Florida graduate pursuing a career in biomedical engineering. It was my mentor, Sheldon Friedman, who helped make my way of thinking – my way of living – more realistic. Over our eleven year adventure through life together, it has been such a unique journey for the both of us. I have matured well beyond my years because of his guidance and wisdom, and still for some reason he claims to have gained just as much from me as I have from him. As Shelson always says, “It’s not WHAT you know – it’s WHO you know.”
My parents divorced when I was six and I stayed with my mother – a wonderful and loving woman. She always made sure that the bills were paid and that my two younger brothers and I were well fed.  At the age of eleven, I was enrolled in Take Stock in Children and assigned a mentor Sheldon. When Sheldon’s wife read the letter that Sheldon would be mentoring Jake Rosenzweig, her heart dropped a few feet – her maiden name was also Rosenzweig (spelled exactly the same way too!). We were off to a good start! I would meet Sheldon once a week at school, where he brought me lunch. Oh, how I savored those Subway subs and chocolate milk! It was during these meetings that he would ask about my life.   It is with my infinite gratitude that he has shared his experiences with me as well. What I liked most about our meetings is that he never tried to make me into something I didn’t want to be. He knew I wanted to be a scientist. As he always says, “Youth mustn’t be molded, but unfolded.”
Sheldon has given me a significant portion of the momentum needed to achieve my academic goals. I dual enrolled at Florida State College at Jacksonville while attending my senior year of high school and earned my Associate’s soon thereafter. I transferred to the University of Florida and graduated cum laude with my B.S. in chemistry, with minors in education and classical studies
A few months after I graduated my mother became very sick with brain cancer. She passed away earlier this year and in the slowest and most deteriorating way imaginable. Sheldon and his wife visited me and my mother in hospice during the roughest of times, but they made all the difference. My mentor gave me the confidence I needed to tie up all unfinished legal business: guardianship of my brother who has cerebral palsy, refinancing the mortgage, managing hospital bills, child support, SSI, utility bills, etc. Despite the recent changes in life, Sheldon helped me cope with my situation. He made me realize that not just anyone has the strength or optimism to carry on, but I made him realize that he has instilled those qualities in me. As he always says, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”
Jake Rosenzweig agreed to meet the requirements for a Take Stock in Children Scholarship in 6th grade, graduated from Duncan U. Fletcher High School and graduated from Florida State College at Jacksonville with an Associate’s Degree and from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. He works as a full-time tutor in math and chemistry and is planning to return to earn an advanced degree in research and neurobiology

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