Who Are We?
Over the past 30 or so years whenever I have gotten together with Stranahan Alum, parents, or past or present staff the conversations will eventually turn to the impact SHS has had on our lives. The questions would always arise, ‘how can we help the next generation of Dragons reap the same rewards from their time at Stranahan that we had’? It seemed each visit would end, we would drift apart for a while, but the question was always left unanswered. Time has slipped by and now many of us are empty nesters or retired. So this year some of us have decided it was about time to stop talking and start doing. Today we are a small loosely organized group starting to put our long discussed ideas to work. If you are interested please read on to discover what we have accomplished this year and our flexible short and long term goals.
What Is SEEF
SEEF stands for Stranahan Education Endowment Foundation. It is our scholarship and financial wing. It works through the Broward Education Foundation…BEF…which sponsors a presentation ceremony each year that distributes public and private grants to hundreds of students from across our county. This year eight Stranahan seniors are receiving scholarships at their ceremony, two of which are from SEEF. They handle all donations, distributions, audits, investing and hold our charitable status papers. They have been around for several decades and administer well over a hundred different scholarship funds.
Every individual and organization needs to have a core of basic concepts, beliefs and ideals that are at its foundation and guide its actions. SEEF’s ideas and values have been formed from our educational and work experiences and 50 odd years of teaching, coaching, and working with people like you. Below is a fables you may or may not have heard in some form. It i the basis of the goals and guidelines we envision for our Foundation.
below is a short fable that may help explain our present method of operation
After a strong hurricane struck the coast I went down to the beach to inspect the damage. As I walked along the shore I noticed tens of thousands of dead and dying fish, sand dollars, starfish etc. that had been thrown up high on the beach. I met a teenager who occasionally stopped to toss one of the myriad of stranded sea creatures back into the sea. I asked the teen why he was throwing them back into the sea. He answered ‘to save their life’. I felt confused and said, ‘you cannot save all of the millions of animals dying on the beach’. His reply was simple. As he bent to select another to throw back he said, ‘No, I cannot save them all, but I can save this one’. If we as adults would select a family member, neighbor or friend every year or so who needs some help to get through a tough time the world would be a better place. It did not cost the teen any money to help the sea animals survive, but I bet it made him feel pretty good. In times of large disasters medical personnel are taught to triage or divide casualties into 3 groups. The minor injuries that can be dealt with later are set aside. The mortally injured are made comfortable and left to die. The remaining group are those who would quickly die without immediate care and are treated first. Like our boy on the beach, these are hard life and death decisions that are sometimes wrong but must be made on the spot. Especially at the beginning, our Foundation will have to decide between many students we could help to the one or two we think we can help the most at the time. It will not be easy, but we can save this one. As we raise more money we will be able to help more.
What Is Our Mission
We want to help EVERY student at Stranahan to be a successful student so that they reach their career potentials and become contributing members of their communities.
What Are Our Goals
Short Term Goals:
- Give scholarships to deserving SHS seniors. This year we gave our first two grants, one a four year grant for one thousand dollars each year and a five hundred dollar scholarship for two years. So far it looks like we will, at least as a minimum, be able to match this next year.
- Continue raising funds so that we can help more students each year.
- Raise public awareness and pride in all the good things that are going on at SHS. Did you know we have three students at MIT and the most undergrads at UF of any school in the state?
- Energize our Alums to help them find ways to help all of our students. Donating our time and patience to working with our youth can be much more rewarding than simply donating money.
Long Term Goals
Though we may not reach some of these, like our students we must aim high.
- Create an endowment fund that will be large enough to assist every SHS graduate in reaching their post high school career goals.
- Have a fund large enough to grant some funds to SHS for projects or equipment not covered by the school budget.
- Support an interconnected web of Dragons Helping Dragons – adults who are willing to step up and share their talents with our students and keep them on the path to success.
How will we implement this philosophy
The original purpose of the Foundation is to create an independent endowment fund to generate funds to be used for scholarships to needy Stranahan students. However after we formed this group, we found that the students whom a grant would most positively impact were the ones most poorly prepared to succeed after high school. Simply giving money to a student in our target group often would not be enough to insure that the student would reach their goals. We realized that there must be non-financial assistance in three areas. First, all students must be shown the universe of opportunities the world has available to them and how to create a path to the ones that beckon them. Secondly, we must support them while they are attaining their education. Finally we can help them bridge the gap between post high school education and the work force. If we can do this we will create a continuous stream of citizens who will value education and be better prepared parents, citizens and community leaders.
We will need to set up programs both in the community and SHS to prepare students for post high school education. Some areas may include job shadows, summer jobs, tutoring, mentoring, help filling out applications, financial aid and scholarship forms and on and on.
Create an independent endowment fund that will be used to give grants to SHS graduates. It shall continue to grow and give grants as long as there is a SHS. The larger the fund gets the more students we will be able to help. These grants shall be need based and given to the students whom the selection committee feels will most benefit from them. These grants need not be limited to four year institutions, but may include one and two year career prep institutions.
Prepare our students to succeed away from home. Our students need to know how to budget their time and money, and deal with class schedules, jobs, roommates, get tutoring help, etc. We can also connect them with present and past alumni of their institution to help mentor them. We can help them find career related summer jobs.
Establish a network of people in the community to help the graduate find career related job opportunities in the community. Introduce them to local civic and professional organizations.
We hope that we can help create a format for our graduates to use in other organizations that they may be part of in their futures, wherever their lives and careers may take them. We can create an endless chain Dragons helping Dragons to thrive. We look forward to working together in striving toward our goals