Earn to Learn FL Receives $648,000 in AmeriCorps Funding in Partnership with Volunteer Florida

Earn to Learn Florida (ETLF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to empower income-challenged students to complete college, has been awarded $648,000 from AmeriCorps in partnership with Volunteer Florida.  The grant will fund 72 AmeriCorps members to be deployed as Near Peer Coaches for Postsecondary Success to serve 900 hours each during the program year August 1, 2021, through July 31, 2022

The funding is a part of a statewide initiative awarding $17,189,370 from AmeriCorps to fund 37 programs in 2021-2022. Cumulatively, these programs will recruit and manage 1,612 AmeriCorps members who will serve in 35 of Florida’s counties, contributing 1,981,575 total hours of service valued at $52,155,054.

AmeriCorps members are on the front lines of service to Florida’s communities and various areas of need,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Corey Simon. “With this year’s significant investment, we are excited to support the tremendous impact that these national service members will affect in schools, hospices, and state parks throughout the Sunshine State.”

“In 2020, an AmeriCorps grant launched our Near Peer Coaching for Secondary Success,” said Brenda Tate, CEO of Earn to Learn Florida.  “This year’s AmeriCorps funding will help additional students pursue their dream of completing a postsecondary education with little or no debt. We are grateful to Volunteer Florida for securing this funding for Florida’s students.”

Near Peer Success Coaches support students as they transition from high school to a postsecondary education institution. Members focus on advising students, especially those from low-income backgrounds, through the complex steps toward college enrollment, including the admission and financial aid processes.  The program targets economically disadvantaged students in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Lee, and Collier Counties, with plans to expand to other counties.  Each Near Peer Coach will receive a stipend of $9,900, plus a $3,000 scholarship for their continued education upon completion of 12 months of service.

Earn to Learn FL empowers low-to-moderate income students in Florida to earn college degrees and professional certifications with little or no debt through matched savings, personalized financial capability training, and success coaching. In addition, eligible students who establish a habit of saving for higher education can receive matching funds for financial assistance provided by Earn to Learn FL supporters committed to enhancing workforce development and the economic well-being of Florida communities. For more information, please visit EarntoLearnFL.org, or email Brenda Tate at Brenda@EarntoLearnFL.org.

Madeline Wilk Joins Earn to Learn FL as Near Peer Coach Program Coordinator

Earn to Learn Florida (ETLF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to empower income-challenged students to complete college, announced that Madeline Wilk has been named Near Peer Coach program coordinator.

Near Peer Success coaches support students as they transition from high school to a postsecondary education institution,” said Brenda Tate, CEO of Earn to Learn FL. “Members focus on advising students, especially those from low-income backgrounds, through the complex steps toward college enrollment, including the admission and financial aid processes.”

Madeline has a strong background of empowering young people to reach their full potential,” said Tate.  “She leads our Near Peer program by finding, recruiting, training, and providing support for our peers and students.”

AmeriCorps funds the Near Peer program in partnership with Volunteer Florida.  The program targets economically disadvantaged students in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Lee, and Collier Counties, with plans to expand to other counties.  Each Near Peer Coach receives a stipend of $9,900, plus a $3,000 scholarship for their continued education upon completion of 12 months of service.  This year 72 Near Peer coaches will be deployed by ETLF.

The Near Peer program helps students pursue their dream of completing a postsecondary education with little or no debt,” said Wilk.  “Not only do the students benefit, but the peers find themselves growing as they share what they have learned through their own experiences. It’s rewarding to see the impact on both the students and the peers.”

Wilk’s experience includes working as club manager for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and as a Girls in the Game program specialist. This organization helps girls discover their strengths and lead with confidence through active sports, health, and leadership programs.  She earned her Bachelor of Science from Ball State University in Chicago in Kinesiology and Exercise Science.

Earn to Learn FL empowers low-to-moderate income students in Florida to earn college degrees and professional certifications with little or no debt through matched savings, personalized financial capability training, and success coaching. In addition, eligible students who establish a habit of saving for higher education can receive matching funds for financial assistance provided by Earn to Learn FL supporters committed to enhancing workforce development and the economic well-being of Florida communities. For more information, please visit EarntoLearnFL.org or email Brenda Tate at Brenda@EarntoLearnFL.org.

Earn to Learn FL Moves Forward in GuideWell’s Growing Resilient Communities Challenge

Earn to Learn FL (ETLFL), a matched-savings financial assistance program, has been selected to compete in GuideWell’s Growing  Resilient Communities West Florida Pitch Competition on September 30th.  The challenge is targeted to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, social innovators, and grassroots organizations. It is focused on sourcing innovative approaches that empower community residents to be actively involved in developing their neighborhood’s long-term resiliency.

Applicants were competitively selected to present in one of four virtual regional pitch events. The top three finalists from each region will each receive $5,000 in funding and will be invited to the statewide challenge for a chance to win a $40,000 grand prize.

ETLF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to empower income-challenged students to complete college.  ETLF’s Near Peer Coaching for Postsecondary Success program is the focus of this competition.

“A funding award from this challenge will be used to enhance our Near to Peer program and help additional students pursue their dream of completing a postsecondary education with little or no debt,” said Brenda Tate, CEO of Earn to Learn FL.

In 2020, ETLFL secured an AmeriCorps grant to launch Near Peer Coaching for Postsecondary Success. ETLFL trains Near Peer Coaches to guide participating students in the areas of postsecondary access, personal finance training, and career planning.   The program targets economically disadvantaged students in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Lee, and Collier Counties, with plans to expand to other counties.

GuideWell Mutual Holding Corporation (GuideWell) is a not-for-profit mutual holding company, and the parent to a family of forward-thinking companies focused on transforming health care. The GuideWell organization includes Florida Blue, the leading health insurance company in Florida;

Earn to Learn FL empowers low-to-moderate income students in Florida to earn college degrees and professional certifications with little or no debt through matched savings, personalized financial capability training, and success coaching. In addition, eligible students who establish a habit of saving for higher education can receive matching funds for financial assistance provided by Earn to Learn FL supporters committed to enhancing workforce development and the economic well-being of Florida communities.

For more information, please visit EarntoLearnFL.org, or email Brenda Tate at Brenda@EarntoLearnFL.org