Take Stock in Children and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office are teaming up to raise money for a new Take Stock Scholar.
“Cops For Change” is a sheriff’s office initiative in partnership with Take Stock Manatee and the Suncoast United Way. Organizers are distributing “Cops for Change” canisters to collect spare change at law enforcement agencies throughout Manatee County, including the Bradenton, Palmetto, New College and Holmes Beach police departments, the State Attorney’s Office and the Clerk’s Office.
“Sheriff Rick Wells announced the idea after he participated in our Leadership Prayer Breakfast as the keynote speaker,” said outgoing Take Stock Manatee executive director Diana Dill. “He saw that a caring mentor and the promise of a college education can change the trajectory for a low-income, at-risk child.”
Dill, who this month announced her resignation from the organization effective Friday, said they hope to raise enough money to fund a new Take Stock Scholar. Students selected for the scholarship receive a Florida prepaid scholarship covering the cost of two to four years at a public state college in Florida and are partnered with an adult mentor who meets with them weekly.
The program is part of a greater effort Take Stock is making to working closely with law enforcement. Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan mentors a Manatee High School student and has been encouraging other officers to become mentors as well.
“I think that community impact of these mutually beneficial relationships is huge,” Dill said. “The officers find the experience extremely rewarding.”