Students at Ruediger Elementary in Tallahassee are college bound! Yes, you read that correctly… COLLEGE BOUND! Did you know that 36 % of all drop outs occur in the ninth grade and thus these students do not go on to further their education? What is even more disheartening? 75% of crimes committed are done by high school dropouts (http://www.statisticbrain.com/high-school-dropout-statistics/). So the principal, Sally Stephens, had a vision to bring the various Tallahassee colleges, universities, and technical schools to the school for an inspiring, informational, and interactive event in order to “plant the seed” of going on to higher education one day. The YMCA READS! Site Coordinator, Lauren Sima, jumped on board and was able to further recruit 21 community members to attend College Night. The attending families were able to listen to a local pastor discuss how setting goals and working hard in school led him to become an FSU basketball player which led to playing at the professional level, and from there running a church and multiple businesses. Families also got the chance to meet and take pictures with current FAMU students part of various organizations, as well as FSU and FAMU athletes such as football players, track and field athletes, and the FSU Golden Girls! Two YMCA READS! mentors were in attendance and one mentor, Cassidy Ferguson, gave an inspirational speech to the families. With free, delicious BBQ (provided by Jim & Milts) and interactions with wonderful people from the Tallahassee community, hopefully these elementary students are now more excited to stay in school and work towards their dreams. “It really does take a village to raise a child. I am grateful to be surrounded by amazing people that took time to plan and participate in this event. It was awesome to see how many families took advantage of this opportunity,” said Lauren Sima.