Kudos to Lakewood Ranch church for aiding children

February 8, 2014 

The strength of a community can be found in its institutions, especially those that care about lifting up their fellow human beings. There are plenty of those in Manatee County, and one bears mention this week for what is likely life-altering boosts in the lives of two children.

Harvest United Methodist Church dedicated a big donation to further the success of a pair of fifth-graders at Samoset Elementary School. The Lakewood Ranch church's generous $17,200 gift will place those two students in a remarkable Take Stock in Children program that provides mentoring, career counseling and four-year college scholarships. Those youngsters will be selected by school administrators based on the student's need and ability.

Harvest United put its Christmas Eve offering into the plate for two children from one of Manatee County's poorer neighborhoods.

Those youngsters, though, must agree to avoid drugs and crime and meet with mentors weekly from sixth grade through high school. What a great way to invest in the success and lives of children who may not have been afforded such opportunities.

And so we salute Harvest United Methodist Church, a congregation that already supports Samoset Elementary with books, school supplies, clothing and food.

We also applaud Take Stock in Children, which has awarded some 400 scholarships valued at more than $3 million since the Manatee County organization formed in 1996.

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