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Bay News 9: Pinellas County looking for a few good mentors

Bay News 9: Pinellas County looking for a few good mentors

(Dec. 28, 2021) Do you feel like you have something you could offer a young person?  Some sort of wisdom, or guidance? If so, Pinellas County needs your help.

The county is in desperate need of more mentors for the “Take Stock in Children” program.  It’s a statewide initiative that pairs up students, with mentors, and provides college scholarships.

Alan Heron has worked with his mentor, Mark Villinger, for over a year now.  Last year, the two met mostly virtually, though, because of the pandemic, and this year they’re finally able to get together in person.

Since working with Villinger, who is also an art teacher at Boca Ciega High School and a coach, Heron has moved into Advanced Placement art classes and he’s enrolled in the medical program at school, which he credits Mark for.

“I like that you can just talk to somebody and you know, express how you feel,” Heron said. “You can also talk to them about your grades and what you’re struggling with, all around, just have someone to be there for you.”​

Take Stock in Children was created by the Pinellas Education Foundation, and the program became so successful that it evolved into a statewide program.  Last year alone, Pinellas County students were awarded over $3 million in scholarships.

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