project innovation

Local Non-Profit Continues Helping Foster Students Go to College for Free

Educate Tomorrow was awarded $20,000 from this year's Project Innovation grant

NBC Universal, Inc.

Earlier this year, NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 worked with Project Innovation to help local non-profits creating positive change here in South Florida by awarding grants.

Grants were awarded to programs that addressed community issues in innovative ways.

One of this year’s winners is Educate Tomorrow, who was awarded a $20,000 grant.

NBC 6 anchor, Sheli Muñiz, spoke to Brett McNaught, CEO of Educate Tomorrow.

SHELI: First off, congratulations on the grant. What does this do for the organization?

McNAUGHT: It’s going to do a lot. I mean, this year has been an extremely tough year for the youth that we serve. We serve youth aging out of foster care or experiencing homelessness and in normal times that’s very difficult. This innovation money will go a long way.

SHELI: A lot of people don't know that children in foster care can go to college here in Florida for free, and you found that people weren't taking advantage of it?

MCNAUGHT: Not many youths were taking advantage of it. 16 years ago when we found it, and last semester over 6,000 youth were using it, so it's been a really big game changer for them and we're proud of that.

SHELI: How has the organization adjusted with coaching and mentoring during this pandemic?

MCNAUGHT: You know, we had to move virtually quickly in mid-March and luckily, our young people are pretty tech-savvy, so it was more of us meeting them where they were which was over a video chat like this.

SHELI: A good chunk of the kids in the program are black and brown youth, how do you support them during this time when racial disparities are front and center?

MCNAUGHT: You know, we just need to be consistent. We need to support them each and every single day, make them know that their lives matter and connect them to resources and opportunities that they can learn. I hope there's a change coming. I really, really, really do. 

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