Tipping the Scale Celebrates Decade of Success in Mentoring Students
Baptist Health, The Bridge Partner to Provide Unique Program
July 29, 2009 | Jacksonville, Florida
Ten years ago, Baptist Health and The Bridge of Northeast Florida launched an ambitious program called Tipping the Scale Adolescent Advocacy and Intervention Mentoring Program to help Duval County students stay in school by building their strengths through two components — mentorship and employment at hospitals.
Since the program's inception, nearly every student involved with Tipping the Scale has graduated from high school and every student has gone on to college, the military or gainful employment.
Students become involved in Tipping the Scale through The Bridge of Northeast Florida, a nonprofit agency that helps connect children from neighborhoods with high poverty and crime rates with opportunities to achieve their goals in life. Baptist Health provides funding support and also coordinates year-round mentoring and employment at Baptist Medical Center, St. Vincent's Medical Center, and the latest participant, Shands Jacksonville.
This year, 48 students have mentoring relationships with hospital employees who volunteer for Tipping the Scale. JEA also has joined the program and mentors an additional seven students.
"These mentoring relationships are unique in that they are year-round and span 3.5 years or longer, compared with the average span of one year or less in most major mentoring programs," said Lynn Sherman, director of Community Health for Baptist Health.
Additionally, 66 students, including many of those in the mentoring program, are involved in the program's employment component that started in mid-February and ends in mid-August. Students receive eight weeks of job-readiness training followed by full-time summer employment. This year, 44 students are working at Baptist, 12 at St. Vincent's and 10 at Shands.
"For the past 10 years, this exemplary partnership has provided enormous opportunities for building positive relationships with mentors within the virtual community of the hospitals," said Davalu Parrish, president and chief executive officer of The Bridge. "The three state-of-the-art healthcare facilities in Tipping the Scale offer ideal doors of opportunity for employment training, real work experience and future careers to our young people from low income families living in neighborhoods with high unemployment."
The success of Tipping the Scale has been supported by a remarkable group of funding partners. One of the primary partners is the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, which has supported the program since its inception. Another longstanding partner is the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, which provided significant grant dollars between 2000 and 2004. Other funding partners include the Lucy Gooding Charitable Foundation Trust, the Edna Sproull Williams Foundation and the Chartrand Foundation. St. Vincent's provides funding to support the program at their site. In addition, Bank of America provided grant funding for two years, and the program's expansion to Shands is funded through a mentoring grant from the Jacksonville Children's Commission. Each of these organizations has been instrumental in the success and growth of Tipping the Scale.