MIAMI, FL – The fifth-grade class from Kingdom Academy School in Kendall studied health outside of a traditional classroom today during a field trip to Kendall Regional Medical Center, which was sponsored by HCA Healthcare and the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program.

What made the field trip even more special, however, is that the majority of the students there today are benefiting from the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program, a nonprofit organization that administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The program provides scholarships to low-income Florida families and allows recipients to choose between a scholarship to help with private school tuition and fees, or a transportation scholarship to attend an out-of-district public school.

HCA Healthcare offered the event to Kingdom Academy School students as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the program. HCA Healthcare joined Step Up For Students as a corporate partner in 2005 and has since contributed more than $100 million to the scholarship program. During the event, Scott A. Cihak, CEO of Kendall Regional Medical Center, presented the company’s 2015 contribution of $12 million, which will fund more than 2,000 scholarships.

“This is truly an honor to give back to the community we serve and we’re hopeful some of the children we’ve met today will become part of our company’s workforce and community leaders in the future.”

Prior to the event, Michael Joseph, HCA’s East Florida Division president, said the partnership between Step Up For Students is a partnership that makes sense to the company – and the community.

“As a teaching community hospital, Kendall Regional Medical Center is committed to providing the best information and care to help our neighbors live healthy lives, which is why we wanted to extend this opportunity to the Kingdom Academy School students,” said Michael Joseph, HCA’s East Florida Division president. “We are proud of HCA’s partnership with the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program. Together, we are helping students in our community thrive.”

Step Up CMO and Vice President of Individual Fundraising Alissa Randall said long-term partnerships have been at the core of the scholarship program and will remain key for the future of its success.

“HCA Healthcare has been a strong supporter of our program for a decade now, and because it’s all for the children, it’s truly inspiring to think of the thousands of Florida students whose lives have been positively influenced because of HCA’s contributions,” Randall said. “We are humbled and grateful for their support and the investment in the future of our state’s children.”

Before the tour of the hospital including the pediatric unit, got underway, the fifth-graders met Justine Marty, Child Life Specialist, and learned about health safety and the importance of injury prevention.

Kingdom Academy School educates students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. About 270 students are enrolled this year, more than 100 of whom are using a Step Up scholarship to attend the school. There are more than 15,000 students in Miami-Dade County using Step Up scholarships at 335 participating schools, and about 70,000 students on the scholarship program statewide this school year.

About Step Up For Students

Step Up For Students is a nonprofit organization responsible for helping administer the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The scholarship program is available to students who qualify for free- or reduced-price school lunch program, and students who are in foster care or who are homeless. It provides tuition assistance to the private school of their parents’ choice or transportation help to an out-of-district public school. Scholarships are funded by corporations that receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for their contributions.

Step Up For Students also helps administer state-funded Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSA) for Florida students with special needs. With the PLSA’s, recipients may use the funds for a variety of educational-related services including tuition, part-time private tutoring, occupational therapy, instructional materials and other services.

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