A few weeks ago our founder Dave Eggers spoke at the Western Association for College Admission Counseling Annual Conference and IDEAInstitute 2014. Dave’s goal was to help highlight the crucial but often unheralded work of college counselors in high schools and organizations in California and nationwide. College counselors are the essential link between students—especially low-income students in public schools—and their chance to achieve higher education. These counselors do heroic and life-changing work every day. Dave’s speech was inspiring, moving, and even funny at times and we are so excited to share it with you:
“For what it’s worth, I went to public schools all my life and when it was time to go to college, I took the bold and brilliant step of never meeting with my college counselor. Not once. I barely talked about college with my parents, and I showed my essay to no one. Not one person. So now when I preach to high school students about the need to seek out help and expertise from trained college counselors, I know a thing or two firsthand.”
Earlier this month, we took a group of our students from Mission High School (almost 50 kids) to the huge NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) college fair in San Francisco. We loaded up the school bus with kids, volunteers, and snacks, and headed down to the Cow Palace to meet with college representativesfrom all over the country. We owe a huge thank you to WACAC (Western Association for College Admission Counseling) for their generous donation and for sponsoring our field trip. We can’t wait for the next one!
We are beyond excited, thrilled, and proud to introduce you to the newest ScholarMatch staff member, Monica!
Monica is passionate about higher education and assisting first generation students with achieving college and professional goals. Originally from Southern California, she participated in a similar high school program called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), which gave her the tools to gain acceptance into Saint Mary’s College of California. Previously, she worked as Career Advisor and Internship Site Developer at Heald College, as well as volunteered with Americorps (Jumpstart Member) and the Bay Area Crisis Nursery. Monica is our Program Associate and will be assisting with student programming and college and career counseling.
This holiday season, there are a few different awesome and important ways you can support ScholarMatch:
Shop at AmazonSmile
The holiday season means one thing is on everybody’s mind: it’s time to shop! Whether you are buying gifts for loved ones or just every day necessities from Amazon, shop at AmazonSmile and a portion of your purchase price will be donated to ScholarMatch, at no cost to you! When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same prices, selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com. This year, do your shopping on AmazonSmile and support ScholarMatch at the same time. Share this opportunity with family and friends, and start shopping!
And remember, in order for ScholarMatch to receive the donation, you must shop through smile.amazon.com!
Give the Gift of College: ScholarMatch Gift Cards
This holiday season, give a unique gift that creates a connection with a hardworking student: ScholarMatch Gift Cards! Purchase a gift card of any value and tell us where to send it. The recipient redeems the card and tells us about the student they would like to support. We make the scholar match, and the gift card goes to fund that student’s scholarship. The recipient of your gift card will receive updates from their scholar, giving them the chance to see firsthand how your gift is making a difference in our scholar’s lives.
Donate Your Time: Become a Volunteer Today
Our students need you! Volunteer at a workshop or College Coaching night and work 1-on-1 with one of our amazing students. Guide them through the college application process, edit their personal statements, talk about career options, help them fill out their FAFSA forms, and support them in whatever way they need. Connect with a scholar today and show them you care.
What happens when Bay Area natives head East for college? They need winter clothes and gear!
Students, unprepared for the climate change that comes with going to college, are often left in the lurch when it comes to affording all the necessary items for day-to-day life. Sports Basement stepped up to the plate to help us solve this problem! Our 6 scholars headed for Midwest and East Coast schools went on a shopping spree at the Sports Basement in the Presidio and got everything they needed for the snow, rain, and freezing temperatures that await them. We got to meet the wonderful Sports Basement staff, pick out some awesome stuff (including SF Giants hats, of course), and talk all about college. We want to send a HUGE thank you to Sports Basement for all of their generosity!
We did it, we reached our goal! We successfully raised $50k, and in less than 50 days! We owe our success to YOU: our donors, volunteers, supporters, and friends. We are excited and inspired by the enthusiasm and generosity of our community. We want to give a special Thank You to our amazing friends at the Writer’s Grotto and Locandafor everything they have done, and continue to do, for us. We could not do this work with out you and hope you will continue to join us on this amazing journey to higher education. Thank you!
We are so excited and proud to introduce you to our newest scholars: 20 amazing rising high school seniors! This year we accepted 20 seniors and 20 juniors into our scholarship program. The 20 seniors have now graduated from high school and are getting ready to start college. The juniors (pictured above) are now rising high school seniors from all over the Bay Area. This summer, they will be busy with personal statement writing workshops, college fly-in program application workshops, college/major/career exploration workshops, college tours, career panel discussions, and mentorship sessions with ScholarMatch staff, current college students, recent graduates, and volunteers. We are so excited to start working with this group of inspiring students as they start their final year of high school and can’t wait to share their journey to college with you! Stay tuned for more information and keep a look out, their profiles will be up on our website soon!
ScholarMatch’s first ever Career Night was a huge success! With over 30 students and 6 amazing panelists, we packed the house over at 826 Valencia. Our panelists included a Medical Doctor and student from UCSF and General Hospital, a Computer Scientist/IT specialist at UCSF, a Professional Artists from the Wells Fargo Community Murals Program, a Patent Attorney, and a Politician. Each panelist had a unique story that they shared with our students about their college and career experiences. Our goal was to provide an opportunity for students to interact with professionals and gain an understanding of what it takes to achieve your dreams. Students walked away feeling inspired and determined. One even said that she learned that you need “to follow what you really love and are passionate about to be successful in life!”. This was just the first of many Career Night’s to come, stay tuned for more information about future events!
Our screenings of the documentary First Generation were a huge success! The panel discussions featuring ScholarMatch’s Dave Eggers, Diana, Noel, students Jessica and Sandra, Karen Cooper of Stanford University and Michael McKeon of Saint Mary’s College were interesting and insightful. Our student representatives told their personal stories, including their obstacles and triumphs, of being the first in their families to attend college. We are so proud of Jessica and Sandra! Our SF screening of the film at theRoxie Theater was a packed house, every available ticket was sold. With over 200 guests in attendance, it was ScholarMatch’s biggest event to date! The screenings would not have been possible without the support of our amazing donors and people passionate about college access. Thank you! A special congratulations goes out to Heidi P., winner of the signed copy of Dave Eggers’ new book A Hologram for the King.
Thank you to the ScholarMatch community for our biggest year yet. You can read about it in our 2012 Impact Report, but here’s some highlights:
• $144,241: Total scholarships awarded by ScholarMatch
• $2,254: Average value of a ScholarMatch scholarship
• 67%: Percent of our students’ families who live below the poverty line
Contribute to our work today. None of this is possible without you. Then, watch this special thank you from our scholars and see who you’re supporting.