Project Graduation Foundation, Inc. of Martin County, FL was started by local teacher Stella Boland and Martin County Sheriff’s Resource Deputy Steve Mochen in 1996. It is a nationally recognized drug and alcohol-free program designed for graduating seniors that encourages graduates to stay off the streets on graduation night. Project Graduation has raised the consciousness of the entire community as it pertains to substance abuse and driving. Over the past 20+ years, more than 13,000 seniors from the public high schools in Martin County have participated in Project Graduation. Police reports of incidents involving graduates on those nights have been insignificant, and there have been NO DUI arrests or deaths since its inception.
In 2018 Tykes & Teens stepped up to take over management of Project Graduation in effort to continue this trend. The purpose of the all-volunteer Project Graduation Program is to raise, collect and manage all funds for each graduation evening. These events occur immediately after graduation for 3 consecutive nights at the YMCA of the Treasure Coast for each of the Martin County School District’s public high schools (JBHS, MCHS & SFHS). Clark Advanced Learning Center students are welcome to attend by getting permission from the Principal of the school they were originally designated to attend as a freshman. Each year nearly 75% of the graduating class from each school attend their respective events.
The Tykes & Teens Project Graduation Committee is made up of community volunteers and one representative from each of the 3 high schools. The committee includes local professionals and representatives of the following organizations:
- YMCA of the Treasure Coast
- Keiser University
- Martin County Sheriff’s Department
- Martin County Fire Rescue
- City of Stuart Community Center
- Stuart Police Department
- QuitDoc Foundation
- Martin County School District
- Martin County Commission
- Tykes & Teens