College and Career R-E-D was created for at-risk achievers by former at-risk achievers
Seventeen years ago, Travis was earning poor grades in high school and entrusting the wrong mentors. He wasn’t Ready academically, but his Empowerment increased through the support of his uncle, a pastor, and a police officer, which helped to increase his Determination. After taking the ACT and SAT a combined 6 times, he finally passed on the 7th time and received an $80,000 scholarship to the University of North Florida.
Seventeen years ago, Geraldine was about to fail all her final exams as a freshman in high school and struggling with social and emotional issues. Her family life was riddled with chaos and extreme stress and unfortunately, she resorted to negative influences as a way of escape. Her Readiness, Empowerment and Determination increased dramatically when her freshman English teacher became her mentor.
Travis used the investment of David and Ann Hicks from the Hicks Prep Scholarship Program to graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education where he received the American Graduate Award and The Albert D. Ernest Caring Award. In his effort to give back, he partnered with his college professor and mentor, Dr. Chris Janson, to start a mentor program called “Grind to Shine”. As a sophomore in college, he was helping students like himself use music as a motivational tool to overcome social and emotional challenges. It became so successful; it peaked the attention of the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Everglades and his students were able to create a song for them.
Geraldine’s Readiness increased due to positive Empowerment, and she, more Determined to succeed than ever, earned nothing less than a “B” average from 10th grade through obtaining her master's degree. She becomes student body president, graduates in the top 10%, wins the Heart of a Falcon Award (highest award for her school), graduates Magna cum laude from Charleston Southern University, wins Youth Ministry Major of the Year, and a plethora of other honors.
Travis becomes an elementary school teacher, then a school counselor, and later and goes on to become the president of the same scholarship program in which he was awarded, helping students earn over $720,000 in scholarships before piloting his very own college and career prep program at Martin Gottlieb and Associates.
Research from Search Institute shows that when students experience developmental relationships with teachers, key social and emotional competencies, such as motivation and responsible decision-making, are strong, and risk behaviors become less common, even in the most challenged and unmotivated students.
Geraldine becomes an alumnus from the acclaimed Teach for America program for her work to help bring an equitable and excellent education to every child and wins The Lawrence R. Allen Professional Contributions to the Field of Youth Development Award from Clemson University. She soon becomes a certified life coach and inspires over 10,000 students to make healthy life choices in Jacksonville, Florida, and beyond.
Travis continues to do research on his pilot program and reaches out to Geraldine on LinkedIn to come out and “talk to his students.” After the presentation, he wants to "link up" for coffee. They become professional colleagues then friends. In 2017, they "marry" their passion, talents, and skills for working with the next generation and College R-E-D (now College and Career R-E-D) is born and "reared" in three local high schools in Jacksonville, Florida serving over 300 students.
Today, Travis and Geraldine Pinckney lead College and Career R-E-D (CCR) together and are sweetly dubbed the "Father and Mother" to an at-risk generation.
CCR now serves over 2,000 students and counting locally and nationally,
As entrepreneurs, motivational speakers, Christian servant leaders, and parents of 10-year-old twins, The Pinckney's love helping young people get Ready, Empowered, and Determined to "live the lives of their dreams!"