FutureMakers is an educational program that aims to inspire more high school seniors to take the next step after graduation, whether it is college, vocational training or a specialized certification program. According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, less than one-third of high school seniors in Southwest Florida’s five counties – Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee – complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is used not only for student loans, but for scholarships, grants and work-study programs. By increasing the number of high school seniors that fill out the FAFSA, we can increase the number of students taking that next step after graduation.
The first year, the program took place at three schools. Now in its second year, we are taking it to seven schools: Cape Coral High, Cypress Lake High, East Lee County High, Fort Myers High, Lehigh Senior High, Mariner High, and South Fort Myers High. The program will offer informational and workshop events on various topics including financial aid, scholarships, and vocational training.
Select students at the schools will also have the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring. Volunteer mentors with FutureMakers undergo a training program to help guide a student to successfully complete applications for college, financial aid and scholarships. We hope to expand this program in the coming years and encourage children at younger ages to better plan for their future.