November 16, 2017/Bradenton - Take Stock in Children of Manatee County is a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and postsecondary scholarships to students grades 6-12 from low-income families.

Take Stock Manatee receives nominations for Mentor of the Year and are blown away by the incredible relationships that their mentors have created with their students. The stories shared of how these mentors have encouraged, supported, advocated for and listened to their scholars are the reasons Take Stock provides mentors. The Class of 2018 scholar, Kenia Cuqui-Bella, from Bayshore High School, had the privilege to honor her mentor, Helen Dolbec, as Mentor of the Year at the annual Take Stock Mentor Appreciation Breakfast.

Helen has mentored Kenia for all 4 of her high school years and has earned the nickname “Ma Bear.” Kenia has received love, support and guidance to achieve everything she needs to do for her high school classes and to prepare for college success. When Kenia shares her dreams and passions, ‘Ma Bear’ responds, “Okay let’s do it! Where do we start?” Kenia believes that Helen empowers her when she has not had the confidence or words herself. Over time, this has cultivated confidence in herself and her own decision-making. When Kenia talks about her relationship with Helen to friends, they are in awe of the connection they have created. The weekly meetings are so engaging that Kenia loses track of time and often wishes the meetings were longer. Kenia is undoubtedly sure that ‘Ma Bear’ has been the biggest blessing in her life. She writes, “I could never fully explain and emphasize all the amazing things my mentor has done for me.  I could never repay her for everything she has done for me either.  She’s just an amazing human being in general.  I am beyond thankful and eternally grateful for having such an extraordinary mentor and supporter.”

Take Stock is also grateful to Helen ‘Ma Bear’ Dolbec. Her commitment to Kenia, mentorship style and selfless acts, are why she has been honored as Mentor of the Year for 2018.

Take Stock Manatee is currently recruiting mentors for their new scholars.  Mentor Applications are available on the Take Stock website, www.takestockmanatee.org/Mentors.  The Take Stock team are available to answer any questions about the mentor application process and can be reached at 941-751-6550.