PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay District School officials are encouraging financially-challenged students to take advantage of a mentoring program that can provide that direction.

The Take Stock Mentorship Program offers students mentor guidance to help assist them through school and once completed, they’re eligible to receive post-secondary scholarships for college.

“We’re giving some students an opportunity that they would never otherwise have and many of our students are first-generation college students,” Bay Education Foundation Executive Director Kelly Langenberg said.

The scholarship awarded to some students can be used in Florida, or out of state.

For one student, who began the program in just the 6th grade, David Wilkerson is now in his final year at Bozeman and aspires to be an aerospace engineer.

He said the scholarship especially, plays a pivotal role in reaching your goals.

“I’m saying it can be very helpful. You know, it can offer you a lot more advice and opportunities and knowledge, especially with the scholarship it offers. That is a big thing,” Student David Wilkerson said.

Students and mentors are matched based on personal needs and then meet twice each month.

Conversations include several topics, including classes, and extra help.

Success is the number one goal for the mentors, but some want to connect on a more human level with the students.

“I don’t want to be the standard mentor. You know, I want to be the one that comes in and breaks that mold and the stigma behind a mentor to these children,” Langenberg said.

Rachel Disbrow, a mentor to two students, said becoming a mentor was the best, and easiest decision she ever made.

“God really spoke to me at that moment. He’s like, you know, do it,” Disbrow said.

To her, the kids want to be heard.

“I believe in this program. I believe in these kids,” Disbrow said.

The Take Stock Program gives its students a chance; a chance to chase the endless possibilities the world offers.

Contact the Bay Education Foundation at 850-767-4111 if you’re interested in becoming a mentor.