UnidosNow had the pleasure of volunteering in the United Way Suncoast Obstacle Course Race on Saturday, February 18th, where people from the community showed their competitive spirit supporting this fantastic organization.
We have two significant FAFSA-related accomplishments to celebrate, thanks to the extraordinary work of our Manatee and Sarasota LCANs* and FAFSA labs that have been hosted at high schools in both counties. Sarasota County is now leading the Florida FAFSA Challenge, with the highest application completion rate: 1,204 out of 3,029 12th graders. Also, Manatee County is now ranked in the Top 10 Most Improved School Districts, achieving a 5.7% increase from last year’s FAFSA completion rate.
Another reason to celebrate is the fact that Pine View School (Osprey) holds third place for the highest FAFSA completion rate among all high schools in the state (210 12th graders out of 283). In addition, Riverview High School is ranking first in the “Biggest Boost” category, which means that it has obtained the largest week-to-week change in percentage of students completing FAFSA.
In general, both Sarasota and Manatee counties are seeing the numbers increase. All throughout April, LCAN will be hosting FAFSA labs to continue helping students and families get the resources they need to #DreamBig and #ReachHigh.
*LCAN partners in Sarasota comprise: United Way Suncoast, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, CareerEdge, and the Sarasota Education Foundation. LCAN partners in Manatee comprise: Manatee Community Foundation, United Way of Manatee, The School District of Manatee, the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, USF Sarasota-Manatee, Manatee Technical College, Take Stock in Children of Manatee County, and CareerEdge.
Leslye Trujillo is one of our Future Leaders Academy scholars. She is the oldest of three siblings and a senior at Manatee High School. She will graduate with her Associate’s in Art by the time she graduates high school. Leslye has already received four college acceptances from the University of Central Florida, Florida International University, University of South Florida – St. Pete, and Florida Southern College. She will be the first one in her family to go to college, and her dream is to become a physician assistant.
Leslye is the president of the UnidosNow Club at Manatee High, where –among other activities- she’s been very active in spreading the word about FAFSA and helping during the labs – offered to seniors at various high schools in Manatee County.
Leslye is also one of our student ambassadors, accompanying Executive Director, Luz Corcuera, at presentations in the community and sharing her story of struggle and success. One of the latest invitations she has received is to the Manatee School Board to talk about her college dream. Leslye was also recently selected as a semifinalist for the Golden Herald Awards in the vocational category, a “program originated in 1978 by the Bradenton Herald to honor outstanding Manatee County high school seniors for noble service to their schools and community”.
Thank you for being on our team, Leslye. Keep on dreaming big!
Thanks to the endless support of our volunteer Manuel Chepote – who has been a mentor, advisory board member, and amazing advocate of UnidosNow since 2010 – we recently received a $1,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation.
Manuel is one of their agents, whose office is located in downtown Sarasota, and he has secured this donation to support our Future Leaders Academy and the work we do to ensure our students get the help they need to walk through the college application process. Thank you, Allstate Foundation and Manuel!
UnidosNow has started a new program in McIntosh Middle School thanks to the support of United Way Suncoast. We will provide middle-to-top performers with the tools they need to start thinking about going to college as they transition to middle school.
We will also offer workshops for students and parents on how to select colleges, learn about financial aid and scholarships, and some other tools to assist them in planning for higher education.