Bay District Schools gets $400k grant to expand mentoring program

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — In hopes to bring in more mentors, Bay District Schools applied for a grant from the Volunteer Florida Foundation.

The $6.65 million grant will be distributed to different organizations still recovering from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Michael.

Bay District Schools will be getting $440,245 that will be used to help expand the district’s mentoring program, Elevate Bay.

“Up until a category 5 hurricane came upon us, we had a goal of 1,000 mentors at the end of this school year. I believe that would’ve been very possible if we hadn’t been dealing with the hurricane but the good news is, we kept the program going,” said Superintendent Bill Husfelt.

On Monday, Husfelt and other school officials announced the grant and also shared how they will be using the funds.

“There will be one liaison at each school who will be tasked with getting as many volunteer mentors as we need for the students. We have a certain process that we go through and one of the strategies you can identify to help that student be more successful academically or behaviorally is to assign them a mentor that will work with them one on one,” said Student Wellness Program Director Dawn Capes.

Stacey Legg is Elevate Bay’s coordinator and says the work they’ve done so far has worked to better students.

“We’ve seen the results and we know that more mentors equals more success for our students both academically, mentally and socially so with this amount of support at the school, we’re super excited to see what our kids can achieve,” Legg said.

Legg says while it may not be a ton of time, the impact a mentor can make on a student can be life changing.

“A familiar face for children who are struggling or maybe have parents that are not involved or being raised in very chaotic situations, that familiar face on a regular basis is something that is invaluable,” she said.

The liaisons will be part time employees for the district, as this money will help cover those costs.

The money will also be used to buy 30 computers and other supplies.

To find out more about Elevate Bay or contact them to become a mentor, click here.

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