When Lila Silvern retired in 2002 from the Los Angeles Unified School District, she was honored with a gift and request that it be used for a scholarship to honor her son, Drew.
Because of her professional dedication to providing English instruction to immigrant, refugee and migrant students and her son’s work as an education journalist, she wanted to continue serving these students in their quest for higher education.
The mission was to help children of migrant workers who had overcome the obstacles of immigration, poverty, and second language learning and were motivated to get an education so that they could help their families and be contributing members to their communities.
She received the support of Nellie Barrientos, Director of the Migrant Program, and the parents who appreciated the efforts made to help their children get a college education.
It was through Katie Elsbree, Lila learned of Dollars for Scholars, a national organization that offered the guidelines and assistance needed for starting an educational foundation.
A strong impetus for affiliation with Dollars for Scholars was their partnership with colleges and universities that matched chapter funding.
Other scholarship opportunities were offered, as well as a yearly Walk for Education that generated additional contributions.
A group of friends, family and co-workers were invited to join as board members in 2005 and plan the first Memorial Day picnic to raise money for the four students who had applied for scholarships.
In the next five years, the picnic grew into a Fiesta held close to Drew’s birthday. There is music, Mexican food and raffle sales. All services, supplies, printing and mailing expenses are donated by a generous and hard working board.
Since 2005, the Drew Silvern chapter has increased the number of scholarships each year from the four students in 2005 to thirteen high school students and twelve returning college students in 2010. In the first five years, it awarded $64,050.
This year guests at the Fiesta will celebrate the accomplishments of students who will graduate with a Bachelors Degree from Southern California universities.
The Board and Lila Silvern will look on proudly and remind the assembled friends and family that it takes East and West L.A. and the Valley to make it possible for more students to realize their educational dreams.
For more information about scholarship awards please visit Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars, a program of Scholarhip America.