Why was Kids Count created?
Kids Count was founded in 2007 by a group of concerned citizens. The founders learned that almost half of lower income Alachua County students were not graduating on time and they learned the majority of these children were concentrated in five elementary schools - Rawlings, Williams, Duval, Metcalf, and Lake Forest. Their idea? Build a highly effective after school program that is sustainable and can be easily duplicated to serve children in each of these schools.
What makes Kids Count unique?
1. It's local.
2. 80% is funded by individuals or families.
3. We focus on the whole child.
4. We embrace the concept, "from cradle to college/career" by collaborating with other organizations who support children
and their families both before Kids count and afterwards. These collaborations, over time, will give us the best chance in
making a long term positive impact.
5. We help students maintain or improve reading levels so everyone is on or above grade level while also supporting them
with homework so they will not be retained. These are two major concerns for the schools we work with
6. We teach them social skills so they can be the best citizens and care for others.
7. We guide parents to community resources and services to help with undiagnosed or untreated conditions. We are huge
child advocates and when we find a solution to a problem, we follow through with guidance and support.
8. Our program is unique and special because of the collaboration that happens between our staff, students, parents,
teachers, tutors, volunteers, donors, Master Gardener, and Board Members. We are a fearless group of people who
have heart, drive, and willpower to get things done so our students can succeed and thrive.
Who Are The Students?
1. We serve 50 students in grades Kindergarten through Third grade and try to have an equal distribution according to
2. We work with a diverse group of students including maturity levels, personalities, behaviors, and cover the spectrum of
academic levels including struggling, average, as well as gifted students.
Board of Directors:
Dorene Ross, Ph.D., President, Professor, University of Florida, College of Education
Kathy Vance, Vice President, Retired elementary school teacher
Dean Poole, Treasurer, Dean Poole CPA, PA
Kathy Dixon, Secretary, Former elementary teacher and principal, current Principal-in-Residence @ UF Lastinger Center for Learning
Ward Simonton, Ph.D., Instructor, SFC Engineering Technology Program
Dick Hughes, Ed.S., Retired UF Media Specialist
Home: 352-373-4037; Cell: 352-213-4706
Tricia Garzon, President, The JAG Agency, a local marketing and advertising firm
Brian Myers, Associate Professor, UF Agricultural Education & Communication
Bill Hutchinson, Administrative and Outreach Director at Faith UMC- Rawlings Elementary
Cell: (352) 281-2144
Keri O'Neil, Program Program Director at Faith UMC- Rawlings Elementary
Cell: (772) 341-5966
Kristan Kolb Ellison, Program Director Rotary Mentor Center Program
Phone: (352) 672-3310