Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 23, 2012

Program strives to help students attend college

By Brenda L. Holmes

BROWNSBURG —  When William “Bill” Carter retired, he decided to put his energy into creating an organization to help students live up to their potential. He is now the executive director of the Carel Education Foundation that helps financially struggling teens achieve their academic goals.

 “I wanted to give back to the community,” Carter said. “That’s when I started College Funding Solutions to help elevate kids to be ready for college.”

Carter had lived in California for some time but returned to Brownsburg when he retired.

The program is designed to encourage students, beginning when they’re freshmen in high school and following them throughout their high school careers and into their freshman year of college.

The program helps students who are doing well academically but don’t have the financial means to attend college.

He also offers a financial literacy program offered by the National Endowment for Financial Education Foundation.

“Most schools don’t teach students how to handle money,” Carter said. “I think it should be part of the regular curriculum.”

The Carel Education Foundation is a non-profit organization governed by a 10-member volunteer board of directors. The organization earned its non-profit status in 2009 and has been in the process of developing the program and how it can be implemented.

“Now we’re on the search for funds and are trying to get the word out about us,” Carter said.

The group is actively looking for funding sources for both programs and has already been celebrating successes. Recently, Duke Energy granted the foundation $5,000, which will be used to provide the program to students here.

Another way the foundation is seeking donations is through a sponsorship program. The cost to put one student through both programs is $1,695 for the five years of instruction.

“So, for example, your church could sponsor a student or students from their congregation or we can find them a student to help,” Carter said.

He said one of the program’s enrollees has a great grade point average but never even thought she could go to college because of the funding issue.

“She had a 4.0 grade point average,” he said. “But never thought she could go to college. I found out she was actually a ward of the state and was able to get her a full scholarship — $30,000 a year.

“There is money out there. And you cannot believe the feeling of achievement when you help these kids.”

Carter has been studying the drop out rates, looking into reasons as to why students leave school.

“Only about 50 percent of students are passing the basic math and English in the eighth grade,” he said. “Then when they move on to the ninth grade, they’re lost in transition.”

That’s why the Carel Education Foundation’s programming begins at the freshman year — to catch students when they’re vulnerable and empower them to get a good education, he explained.

The program has students in various Indianapolis area schools. Two of its newest students are attending Brownsburg High School.

For more information on the Carel Education Foundation, call Carter at 858-1663 or e-mail him at wcarter@carelassociates.com.