It is Thursday afternoon, and I am really, really excited. Elated would be a better term. Basically, I am just so stoked, I cannot contain myself. Nothing has been officially announced, so I must withhold some of the more enticing details, but I can’t hold it in. I just have to share this, but let’s just keep it between you and me.

For God’s sake, don’t tell anybody.

I just got off the phone after a Kids’ Chance of Florida, Inc., telephonic board meeting. Our mission today was to review our Scholarship Committee’s recommendations, and award college scholarships to deserving kids’ that need a break. For those of you who do not know, Kids’ Chance is an organization that provides these educational opportunities to kids who have a parent who was seriously injured or killed on the job. Started in 1988 in Valdosta, GA, the organization has now reached into 36 states. The Florida chapter of Kids’ Chance was formed in December of 2015. We are just 1 and ½ years old.

And today we were able to award scholarships to 9 amazing kids totaling $33,000. One of those lucky students will be notified that, thanks to a generous donor and our leveraging of the Florida Pre-Paid Plan, their tuition and fees for the entire year will be paid, plus they will have money for books and other college related living expenses (more on that after the candidates have been notified). Additionally, we agreed to purchase two Florida pre-paid tuition packages, one for 2018 and one for 2019. Those packages are “money in the bank”, and will each provide 2 semesters worth of tuition and fees for lucky recipients of the very near future.

This brings our total scholarship count to 13, totaling $48,000 (not including the pre-paid accounts for future scholarships). Not bad for just 18 months in service.

What a great day. The birds are chirping just a bit louder. The sun seems to be shining just a tad brighter. Even that annoying Flo from the Progressive television commercials doesn’t seem quite so grating.

Scratch that – Flo still annoys the bejeezus out of me. But I digress.

The kids’ we are dealing with are both amazing and inspiring. Organizations like Kids’ Chance provide true, life changing opportunities for some of them, and I am proud to be a part of it. Of course, none of this would be possible without terrific people and organizations willingly donating time and money to move the efforts forward. The generosity of the Florida workers’ compensation community has been incredible. Organizations like NCCI, The Zenith Insurance Company, and the Workers’ Compensation Institute have made major contributions to the effort. My own company, is a supporting Associate of KCOF. Other organizations have made contributions as well; Franco Signor, WCCP, Beacon Aviation Insurance, Work Loss Data Institute, and Brooks Rehabilitation are some of those. We have individuals who have made donations to help us reach our goals, too. You can see all of our supporters here.

Kids’ Chance of Florida has deployed amazing Ambassadors to help us spread the word and raise those funds. They are Marc Kaufman, Tammy Boyd, Jonathan Simpson, Shawn Twiss and Sandy Shtab. And a hat tip as well to Kimberly Helwig of NCCI, whose generous time and brilliant organizational skill is helping to bring that program together.

These people and companies are the ones who made today’s call possible. Because of their efforts and commitment (and an amazing Board of Directors), 9 kids will receive word next week that their college dreams are now more possible. One of those kids will learn that this year’s college is going to be paid for. And if you knew the background of some of these kids, along with the challenges they have had to overcome, you would be as excited as I am.

Unless, of course, there is something fundamentally wrong with you. But I doubt that is the case.

Remember, you didn’t hear this from me. Until next week, mum’s the word. Have a great weekend. I know I will. 

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