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A team effort to impact lives & foster success through annual 5K event

October 14, 2015

Each fall, thousands of local walkers and runners wake up early on a Saturday morning and lace up their sneakers for the Hillsborough Education Foundation’s Strides for Education 5K, which raises funds to help send local students to college.

The Foundation is partnering with Hillsborough County Public Schools to host the fourth-annual Strides Walk at 9 a.m. on Nov. 14 at the Amalie Arena.

In addition to funding college scholarships awarded through the Take Stock in Children program managed by the Foundation, money raised at this year’s walk will also go toward innovative classroom projects that fall outside of regular school budgets. Classroom projects range from $500 to $2,500 and vary from field trips to musical instruments to classroom technology.

This year’s goal is to draw a record 5,000 participants and raise $1 million, with the support of the community, schools teachers and students. Money raised by individual school teams will go toward scholarships and innovative classroom projects for their own students and teachers.

Those who participate in the walk will directly impact local students like Ben Carpenter, who received a Take Stock scholarship in 2013, when he graduated from King High School’s International Baccalaureate program. The scholarship program serves students from at-risk, low-income families who work hard to make good grades.

“My Take Stock scholarship meant that more doors and opportunities for college were open to me,” Carpenter said. “Without the scholarship, I definitely would have had difficulties being able to attend college, and I certainly would not have my goals and objectives for my career established as well as I do now.”

In high school, Carpenter achieved educational success while overcoming a physical disability, spinal muscular atrophy. He led the Tampa Thunder power wheelchair team and founded a nonprofit called Ben’s Mends that refurbishes books to be donated to other nonprofits that help women and the elderly.

Now 20 years old and a junior in the mechanical engineering program at the University of Central Florida, Carpenter is a member of the power wheelchair U.S. national soccer team. He hopes to land an internship this summer in the engineering department at one of the Orlando theme parks.

He is just one example of the hundreds of students who have been able to attend college because of scholarships made possible by the Strides for Education 5K.

“The children who receive these scholarships and who take part in Take Stock are the future,” Carpenter said. “The next great engineer, artist, novelist, or mathematician may be one of those children, and granting them access to a higher education could change the world.”

To walk in the Strides for Education 5K and support the school of your choice by creating or joining a fundraising team, register here for free.


About the Hillsborough Education Foundation

The Hillsborough Education Foundation provides educational resources and financial assistance to help give every Hillsborough County Public School student the opportunity to achieve personal success. Regardless of background, family structure or economic status, the Hillsborough Education Foundation believes every student can reach his or her potential through public education. The Foundation works in partnership with the community to bring critical resources that are not funded by normal tax revenues to help students succeed in their academic and personal achievements through scholarships, mentoring, dropout prevention programs, free school supplies, classroom grants and recognition for education professionals. For more information on how you can donate and get involved visit

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