The race is a fundraiser and community event for the Take Stock in Children program.
Earning a mentorship and the promise of a scholarship from funds raised by the Take Stock in Children race made all the difference in Albert Medrano-Lopez’s life.
Medrano-Lopez, a senior at Braden River High School, began to receive the mentorship and guidance when he was in the fifth grade at Manatee Charter School.
“I sort of stumbled into it, but the effect that it’s had on my life is actually pretty tremendous,” he said. “It pushed me and encouraged me to get my act straight.”
On March 3, the 10th annual Take Stock 5K will be trying to raise funds to make a huge difference in other students’ lives.
Take Stock Manatee Executive Director Jamie Serino said a scholarship from the race is awarded to a student who qualifies in terms of academic aptitude and financial need from each school that registers 300 entrants. This year, the organization hopes to award eight scholarships, he said.
This year, Serino anticipates approximately 2,000 competing in either the 5K or fun run.
Along with scholarship money, mentorships are a big part of the Take Stock program. Mentors meet with students to listen and provide guidance. One mentor, Tangelo Park’s Walter Pascal, has attended the event every year, except one, which the 76-year-old missed due to a medical issue.
“We’ve got to support our kids. They’re our next generation,” he said. “If our kids aren’t doing well, the community isn’t going to do well.”