Don Appelquist Receives Law Day Award for Take Stock in Children
The legal community of Highlands County gathered for the annual Law Day Luncheon and Awards Ceremony hosted by the Highlands County Bar Association on April 25 at the Sebring Civic Center.
Annually the Highlands County Bar Association honors an individual or organization they think has made an impact on the county. Don Appelquist was this year’s recipient of the Law Day Award. Appelquist is the executive director of SFSC Foundation, Inc. and directs Take Stock in Children (TSIC). Appelquist accepted the award on behalf of TSIC, a non-profit program that has provided deserving low-income children in our community for over 17 years with scholarships to college or vocational school and guidance from caring mentors.
“This award wouldn’t be possible without the help of our mentors that are willing to give an hour of their time a week to become a role model to these at risk students,” Appelquist said. “These mentors become friends with the students and provide them with a sense of pride, since many have never had a dependable adult in their life.”
Students are selected in the seventh grade by a committee of teachers and community representatives. Each student signs a contract agreeing to stay drug free, crime free, maintain satisfactory grades, exhibit good behavior in school, have a financial need, and be determined to succeed.
In our district, TSIC has a 95 percent success rate. To date, TSIC has 185 active mentors, nearly 400 students have been provided with scholarships and mentors, and over 200 students have graduated from the program.
The SFCC Foundation, Inc. serves as the lead agency for TSIC in its service area of DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties. For more information, or to become a Take Stock mentor, call Irene Castanon, coordinator, Take Stock in Children, at 863-784-7343.