Florida’s Only All-Girl STEM Competition!

Identify it. Solve it. Bring it. You have smart girls, and now it’s time for them to shine. Girls Get I.T. invites you to join us as we give parents and their daughters the tools they need to conquer this brave new world.

Get involved during four regional STEM competitions leading to a statewide finale. Teams of smart girls from Florida will compete in events, identifying problems and solving them with science, technology, engineering and math. Refresh and discover with panels and break-out workshops at the #SmartGirlsWork career and college fair and learn how to support your smart girl as she makes decisions about college, majors and careers. Parents and winning teams from each region will advance to a statewide event to crown the winning #SmartGirlsRock team. Competitions are open to all middle and high school girls in Florida and their parents.
Here are some links to get you started!

GirlsGet I.T. #SmartGirlsRock Girl’s Registration

GirlsGet I.T. #SmartGirlsRock Questionnaire

GirlsGetI.T.#SmartGirlsRock Team Registration Form

GirlsGetI.T. #SmartGirlsRock Parent Registration Form


New SUPERB App Keeps Students Safe

Students, Parents and Educators Get Immediate 24/7 Help When Facing Bullying

Tallahassee – FL, 05/05/2015 –  A revolutionary new app has been released that allows users to report a dangerous situation or just get professional advice on how to handle a conflict with a push of a button.

SuperbApp_Logo-Icon180x180_ReversedStudents United with Parents and Educators to Resolve Bullying (SUPERB) unveiled ResolveBullying. The website and app spring from SUPERB’s belief that with the help of unbiased, professional counselors, adolescents can better handle the isolation, exclusion, shaming, labeling and bullying that may otherwise derail their future. In more extreme cases, the app allows for users to record dangerous behavior with their mobile device and even anonymously connect to 911 if needed.

The app was created by Heather Beaven, CEO of the Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates (The Foundation,) an organization that manages a fleet of programs to help Florida students succeed academically and socially. SUPERB helps young people identify, navigate and reject the psychological trauma that is becoming common in middle and high school environments. Beaven hopes the app will help young people and families develop healthy ways to protect themselves against the long-term damage created by bullying. 

“The research is very clear. Bullies, victims and bystanders are significantly damaged by this behavior well into adulthood,” says Beaven. “Long- term damage includes higher rates for substance abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide and unemployment in victims. While bullies are more likely to turn to criminal activity and participate in risky sexual behaviors, even bystanders are at increased risk of depression and a reduced ability to connect deeply with others.”

“SUPERB has been helping students protect themselves emotionally since 2004, but until now, we were only able to help families whose school invited us onto a campus. This app allows us to help anyone who needs us without regard to geography or hour of the day,” said Beaven.

Funds for the SUPERB app were provided by the 2013-2014 Florida education budget, and the app is powered by Salesforce CRM and the Ionic Mobile Framework. Candoris uses cutting-edge technology in order to provide powerful functionality in real time to the cloud. The app is currently available in the United States for download on both Apple and Google devices. To download now, go to “Kids have always been under tremendous pressure and we simply can’t thank people like Speaker Will Weatherford, Representative Fresen, Senator Gaetz, Senator Montford and Senator Ring, as well as the Florida Department of Education and Governor Rick Scott for recognizing the pressure no longer eases at the ringing of the school bell,” said Beaven.

About The Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates

The Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates exists to assist parents and educators in creating socially-adept, academically-capable, self-disciplined, and goal-oriented young people who are prepared to fully capitalize on future opportunities.

The Foundation’s Family of Services

Jobs for Florida’s Graduates (JFG), an affiliate of Jobs for America’s Graduates, is a robust work and life skills development program for middle and high school students. The program allows students to explore careers, work within teams, develop leadership skills, create and manage wealth, serve their communities and build a workable plan for their post-graduation life.

Girls Get IT (GGIT) is an initiative designed to engage girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, with the purpose of empowering to pursue high-skill coursework in college and beyond.

VOiCE (Victory Over Instability by Choosing Education) is a science, technology, engineering, arts and math initiative for students interested in exploring courses, majors and careers found in the industries of technology and art, such as gaming, web design, and sound engineering.

SUPERB (Students United with Parents and Educators to Resolve Bullying) is an innovative safe-schools initiative in which mental health professionals coordinate high-energy workshops in elementary, middle, and high schools. SUPERB gives students the leadership and character skills they need to understand safe intervention techniques and to better empathize peers who are being excluded or isolated.

Whether in The Voice or in VOiCE, Dreams Can Come True

I am addicted to The Voice, and, yes, I cry nearly every single episode. I can’t help it. Watching dreams collide with hard work is too much for me to take. It’s okay, you can make fun of me. My kids certainly do, every time.

Even though I didn’t name VOiCE after The Voice, I see them as similar. They both resonate down deep in a place where your perspective and your take on things actually matter. Check that. Your perspective, your take on things are actually sought out. It’s the moment in time when you realize your voice matters.

In 2009, a group of students told me that, essentially, all the things we were doing to build them up were being ruined by the media. “The only people we see in the news who look like us are in mug shots,” one girl said. Now, that’s not a new complaint but what was new to me was the fact that it was undoing what we were trying to do. Really, could it be that the front page and the opening minutes of the six o’clock news has the power to diminish the encouragement we pour into people? 

The answer is regrettably but quite simply, yes. In fact, the disproportionate amount of minority mugshots in the media not only impacts individuals but also perceptions of others. It seems that we think less of each other if we don’t look alike, begging the question, do we think less of each other even when we look alike? Our students showed me that, yes, people simply can’t fight the suspicions of strangers especially when coupled with the media seemingly perpetuating those doubts.

Well that struck me in a way I can’t describe. My organization, The Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates was already maxed out with the three programs we offered at the time. There was our marquee program, Jobs for Florida’s Graduates, which is the state affiliate for Jobs for America’s Graduates. We were also just incubating Students United with Parents and Educators to Resolve Bullying (SUPERB) and Girls Get I.T. We didn’t have the capacity to take on one more thing.

But VOiCE, as it would later be known, spoke to me. How could I let our core belief that “your past doesn’t have to dictate your future” be undone by the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality?

Currently minorities make up 37.02 percent of the U.S. population; that number will increase to 42.39 percent by 2025, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet, the American Society of News Editors reports that newsrooms “continue to be about two-thirds male … and …12.37 percent of minority. 

While we didn’t build VOiCE to encourage students to go into journalism, we did create it as a place where art and technology collide in a way that students may feel the power of their stories, their culture, their voice without regard to what the media was choosing as its lead story. What we discovered was that when art collides with technology, some of the most powerful stories of resilience and courage emerge. 

And when you have those stories, leading with mugshots is just … well … just meaningless. 

Heather Beaven quoted in Deseret National News: Social media, substance abuse and dating violence dot rocky terrain of teen years

Managing technology and social media topped the list when the Deseret News asked two dozen experts what most challenges American teens. But rockier topics, including drugs and alcohol use and an increase in dating violence, also demand attention.

Today’s teens are the tail end of the millennials, a group once described by The Pew Research Center as more racially tolerant and diverse, more tech savvy and “connected” socially than previous generations. It noted they are also most likely to say they are close to their parents, though they reject their parents’ and others’ religious and political views in record numbers.READ MORE


The Foundation Resurrects Pride in One of Florida’s Poorest Communities

This week marks the grand opening of a youth center in the poorest neighborhood of Florida’s poorest county. After seven years of development, the effort of the community and the ambition of the students involved has resulted in a new teen center on the corner of 1100 Madison Street in Palatka. 

The area surrounding the center was once the epicenter of black commerce. The street was dotted with dry cleaners, car dealerships, restaurants, jazz clubs and retail stores. As far as the eye could see, black entrepreneurs were thriving and just down the road was Floridas’ first African-American accredited high school. 

Today, the neighborhood is in the throes of crime and poverty. Entrepreneurs have been replaced gang members, drug dealers and prostitutes. The Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates, which operates Jobs for Florida’s Graduates, Girls Get I.T., VOiCE and SUPERB, believes its new teen center will act as the catalyst for other investments in the area. 


Skilled tradesmen were hired to develop the two buildings, and then The Foundation brought in a team to recruit and train local residents in construction skills. “I realized that there was no reason to hire professionals to build a deck, install a fence, or landscape when I could be teaching someone how to do that so they can use those skills in their lives,” said Heather Beaven, CEO of The Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates (The Foundation) and recognized expert in school-to-work transition for young adults entering the workforce.

Representative Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine) attended the grand opening, and during his remarks to the crowd, he said, “Giving people the hands-on skills they need to go to work or start their own small business is necessary for Florida’s economic success. That’s why I fight for programs like Jobs for Florida’s Graduates.”

Six years ago, a local businessman donated a commercial building to The Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates, which operates Jobs for Florida’s Graduates (JFG). “Our Palatka High School students told him that they just wanted a safe place to study after school,” said Beaven.

Unfortunately, the building was beyond repair. The City of Palatka, Putnam County and the Florida Department of Corrections joined forces to demolish the building and make way for two donated portable classrooms donated by Mobile Modular, Inc. When the buildings were raised, however, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FLDEP) discovered four large underground tanks. The documentation of what those tanks once held had long been lost. 

Beaven said, “I really thought that was the end of our students’ dreams. As a not-for-profit, it is terribly difficult to find funds that will pay for any kind of property improvements, much less something of this magnitude.” FLDEP, with the help of the US Department of Environmental Protection (US EPA) had other ideas. The two agencies came together to cover the expenses of the contaminated site. Their involvement has left the door open for a Browns Field designation, which could result in a significant infusion of federal dollars in downtown Palatka. 

“Today, we have our first class enrolled and we simply couldn’t have done it without the unwavering support of AT&T, Mobile Modular, Career Source of Northeast Florida, the Florida Department of Education, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the US Department of Environmental Protection Agency and, ultimately, Governor Rick Scott,” said Beaven. 


The first class is made up of eighteen to twenty-four year-old unemployed young adults. They enrolled in construction skills training with the Homebuilders Institute and employability skills classes through Jobs for Florida’s Graduates. Upon graduation, they will earn a nationally-recognized certification in facilities maintenance. While building a wood deck connecting the buildings, twenty-three year old Antwan Johnson said “I love it. I love using math to figure out how to build things. I really love it.” The project has won two national awards as a model collaboration for the US EPA.

“This is the story of the little building that could” said Beaven.


Heather Beaven is a social entrepreneur, consultant, speaker, author and media personality, as well as the CEO of the non-profit organization, The Florida Endowment Foundation for Florida’s Graduates. Beaven believes preparing young people for jobs is how we grow the economy and improve life for all Americans. Learn more at and