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.