SOURCE: EverBank


March 11, 2010 16:48 ET

EverBank and The Bridge Launch Fast Path Program to Set Teens Up for Success

JACKSONVILLE, FL--(Marketwire - March 11, 2010) -  EverBank ( today announced its partnership with The Bridge of Northeast Florida, Inc. to launch the EverBank Fast Path program, an initiative designed to help high-potential teens from at-risk Jacksonville neighborhoods obtain the skills and support needed to become productive and successful adults.

Mirrored after the Baptist Health Tipping the Scale program, the EverBank Fast Path program is a comprehensive initiative that incorporates tutoring, mentoring, job shadowing, summer internships, a tailored financial curriculum, financial scholarships and community enrichment opportunities.

Fast Path officially kicked off earlier this year when 12 Bridge students were matched with 12 EverBank mentors. Every other Thursday, the Bridge students meet with their mentors at EverBank's Riverside corporate headquarters. During these sessions, mentors help guide the teens through issues ranging from homework to college planning to everyday life challenges. "Being with my mentor helps to relieve stress and the life skills and financial classes help to prepare me for my future," says 16-year-old Bridge participant, Ernest Frame.

Bridge students also have access to daily academic support in math, English and science, as well as monthly communication training that is focused on teaching students how to effectively communicate and function within a corporate business environment. 

During the last week of the month, the students receive a lesson from a customized financial curriculum specifically designed for teens. To date, the students have learned how to set financial goals, establish a budget and make tough choices on allocating their money between differing financial priorities. Each lesson incorporates formal training, as well as interactive group participation and games. "We use 'experiential learning' as a way to keep our students engaged," says Karen Boriss, Director of Programs for The Bridge. "Many students are more receptive to learning through experience, rather than just sitting through a lecture."

Throughout the year, mentors will also ensure that their students shadow other employees in at least two EverBank departments to ensure students gain exposure to the range of jobs available at the bank. In addition, they'll tour an EverBank branch and learn practical financial skills such as how to open an account, apply for a credit card or set up online banking. 

Later this spring, the mentors will help their teens select their summer internships. Each Fast Path student is guaranteed an 8-week paid summer internship at EverBank if they complete the mentoring program and financial curriculum throughout the year. If students complete two years in the program, they are eligible for an EverBank financial scholarship.

"The Bridge clearly has a proven model that relies on a holistic approach to solving the needs of at-risk kids," said Blake Wilson, President and CFO of EverBank. According to historical statistics, 99% of teens involved in Bridge programs avoid pregnancy, 80% of seniors graduate and 91% of students achieve grade promotion.

"We wanted to tap into that model while bringing something of our own to the table," continued Wilson, "namely, an enthusiastic employee volunteer base, access to our corporate and social networks, financial support and education on responsible financial management."

Davy Parrish, President and CEO of The Bridge, couldn't be more pleased with the new program. "We're very excited by our new partnership with EverBank," said Parrish. "In addition to its generous financial support, EverBank's enthusiasm and entrepreneurial attitude has really made the company a delight to work with. We're very excited about where 2010 might lead us," continued Parrish. 

Wilson joined The Bridge's Board of Directors earlier this year and thinks the future holds great promise for the organization. 

"We're just getting started," says Wilson. "The Bridge is a great organization, run by deeply committed and talented people. We would like to increase the public's awareness of The Bridge and to expand the number of corporate sponsors for programs such as Fast Path. We've learned that once employees get involved and are moved by these kids, there's no stopping the momentum that is created."

In January, Wilson and Parrish began meeting with charities and companies within and outside of Jacksonville to create awareness for the Fast Path program and The Bridge overall. Outreach efforts will continue throughout the year. To learn more about Fast Path or other Bridge programs, contact Karen Boriss at (904) 354-7799 extension 131.

About EverBank
EverBank Financial Corp is a privately-held thrift holding company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida offering innovative banking, lending, and investment products and services of exceptional value. The company has approximately $8.1 billion in assets and $6.3 billion in deposits.

Over the last 5 years, EverBank has donated $5 million to various local charities focused on housing, education and children's services. In 2009, EverBank donated more than $2 million to approximately 80 charities throughout the Northeast Florida area. To learn more about EverBank, go to

About The Bridge of Northeast Florida
The Bridge of Northeast Florida, Inc. is a non-profit organization located in the urban core in the Springfield area of Jacksonville, Florida. Since its inception in 1983, the Bridge has been dedicated to promoting the development of healthy, productive, self-sufficient youth and families by providing comprehensive services via a holistic model that addresses academics, health, social enrichment, mentoring, job skills training and job creation. 

The Bridge has received numerous awards for its accomplishments including the 2006 Sapphire Award from The Blue Foundation, a Presidents' Grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Dr. Parrish received the 2009 Eve Award for employment. For more information about The Bridge of Northeast Florida, go to

Contact Information

  • For details call:
    Justine Navaja