Rockledge, FL – July 26, 2016 – IMPOWER has received a $5,000 grant from the Balda Family Foundation which will directly impact the lives of high school youth involved in Brevard County’s child welfare system.

IMPOWER’s Tutoring and Academic Enrichment Program (TAEP) administered through the organization’s Case Management Services, will specifically provide foster youth attending high school in Brevard County the tools necessary to improve their academic performance, improve self-confidence, increase matriculation rates, and ultimately obtain a diploma or degree.

“We are grateful to the Balda Family Foundation for their commitment to education and their generous investment in our young people,” says Anna Baznik, President/CEO of IMPOWER. “Through our grant partnership we will help 100 vulnerable youth this year overcome educational barriers and deficits often related to involvement in the foster care system by providing professional tutoring in math and language arts and necessary school supplies”.

Last year, more than 1,100 children were served by the foster care system in Brevard County due to alleged maltreatment. Despite the best efforts of the system, children and youth often experience educational instability with enrollment delays and loss of credits when they change schools. Histories of trauma, abuse, neglect and multiple placements frequently disrupt their lives and hamper their ability to master critical subjects like reading, writing, math and science. Research documents that former foster youth are 50% less likely to graduate from high school or obtain a GED, and less than 3% earn college degrees (compared to 48% of their peers). With a deficit in education, foster youth also find themselves with insufficient skills and thus at a significant disadvantage in the labor market, ultimately placing them at a higher rate of unemployment.

Through TAEP, youth are afforded a range of services to help them overcome their extremely difficult challenges and accomplish their educational goals. This most often include tutoring and mentoring services, financial aid for books, supplies, and GED Prep programs and assistance with college application fees. “Through TAEP services, foster youth receive the support needed to reach academic success – ultimately giving them a chance at a better future”, Baznik added.

For more information about IMPOWER, visit www.impowerfl.org.

About IMPOWER

IMPOWER, a 501(c)(3) mental health and child well-being organization focused on inspiring life’s potential, has been serving children and families in the Central Florida community since July 1994. Service areas include Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia & Polk Counties. Our mission is to change lives by protecting, counseling, teaching and inspiring individuals and families to reach their full potential. Our programs are community based and focus on ensuring that all individuals served have the tools and support to attain independence and self-sufficiency.  We provide a continuum of behavioral and mental health therapy, foster care and adoption services, independent living and transitional housing for foster youth, and tele-health/tele-psychiatry services for more than 9,000 individuals and families annually.

About Balda Family Foundation The Balda Family Foundation’s mission is to motivate, inspire and educate academically promising, at-risk and underserved youth in Brevard County, FL, through educational opportunities and college scholarships. The foundation was established in 2007 by Ricardo A. Balda and his four adult children. In 1955, at age 14, Mr. Balda immigrated to the United States from Ecuador with his parents and four siblings, he later went on to be the first in his family to receive a college degree. The Balda family has directly seen the positive impact a higher education can make, and as a result, the family places a strong emphasis on academic excellence and understands the important role education plays in permanently lifting one out of financial hardship.

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