Trust, Hope and Resiliency

Guest Correspondence

Relationships matter.

Most of us can fondly identify a friend or family member who has been impressed upon our hearts, someone we rely on, in whose company we feel safe. Families with strong bonds can better weather the inevitable struggles of life by leaning on each other in times of need. In the workplace, supportive and healthy relationships create a camaraderie that strengthens corporate culture and optimizes organizational performance. Teachers and students can form trusting and caring relationships that bring out the best in even the most reluctant learners. 

A key attribute to any healthy relationship is building trust. When relationships are firmly built upon trust, vulnerabilities can be shared, disagreements can be respected, and commitments are upheld. 

It might feel like we as a society are on a downward trend in our ability to trust one another. Yet I feel a sense of hope in the power of healthy relationships and what they can teach us. 

In partnership with Sarasota County Schools, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County is prototyping an innovative model of student support through Resiliency Coaches who will work closely with a select group of high school students who are most at risk of not graduating. Resiliency Coaches will provide practical assistance such as one-on-one support to help ensure students complete necessary coursework and can pass end-of-course exams. They will ensure students are enrolled in ACT/SAT test prep workshops where these standardized tests can be used as concordant scores for graduation. 

These coaches will also mentor students, modeling and promoting responsibility, honesty, citizenship and other key characteristics that will prepare them for life. They will provide a safe, encouraging, caring environment that is essential to growth.

Resiliency Coaches will aim to develop a trusting relationship with students and offer hope and support as the students persevere, overcome obstacles and strengthen their resiliency. 

It’s an exciting protype in alignment with the Florida Department of Education, which is developing a resiliency toolkit and prioritizing instruction around valuable attributes such as grit, empathy, perseverance and self-awareness.

With this pilot program, the Education Foundation is moving quickly and thoughtfully to address a decline in high school graduation rates across Sarasota County and the need to prepare at-risk youth for life, and we are actively searching for qualified candidates to apply for these key positions. 

A high school diploma dramatically improves earning power and keeps open more possibilities for students to reach their potential. When students graduate and do so with a plan, resilient and better prepared for life, they are more likely to keep a community thriving.

And for so many students in Sarasota County and across the nation, that begins with a trusting relationship that can help students find hope. 

The need for coordinated, one-on-one mentoring and coaching in schools is urgent, and we are excited to be a contributing partner of this new initiative that I hope will garner widespread community and donor support. But first the initiative needs a few caring, qualified individuals eager to help at-risk students graduate high school and do so more prepared for life.

If you or someone you know are interested in helping students who most need a champion, who most need someone who will help them find purpose and reengage with school and with planning for life, someone to mentor them, we need you. Students across our county during these difficult times need a little extra support. Together, we can help reverse learning loss and declines in graduation. We can build trust, foster hope, and strengthen resiliency—through relationships. Relationships can do that and so much more.

Jennifer Vigne is president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

« View The Saturday Feb 4, 2023 SRQ Daily Edition
« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

Read More

The Political Price of Strange Bedfellows

The Political Price of Strange Bedfellows

Jacob Ogles | Feb 24, 2024

Success and Creativity Hinge on Normalizing Failure

Success and Creativity Hinge on Normalizing Failure

Dr. Larry Thompson | Feb 24, 2024

Education Critical to Industry Throughout Region

Education Critical to Industry Throughout Region

Mary Dougherty | Feb 24, 2024

Impact, Inspiration, Influence - Celebrating Black History Month

Impact, Inspiration, Influence - Celebrating Black History Month

Jacob Ogles | Feb 17, 2024