Dan Floyd: Honoring Drew

I’m honored to speak in support of Drew Silvern Education Fund. I was fortunate to receive financial aid to go to UCLA and UC Berkeley, and feel a special desire to give back. I applaud the efforts of the Board to find worthy recipients and to make it easy for me to pay back that debt.

Dan Floyd speaks to students and attendees during the annual Fietsa. I’m here to talk about Drew. Drew and I were friends and high school basketball teammates for 2 years. I wouldn’t call him a close friend; that’s just the way it is sometimes with people you know at that age. I didn’t have any contact with him after High School, something I regret. But Drew was someone I admired and respected very much. He was a dream teammate. We played the same position –forward – on a team filled with great guards. Drew had a tough job – typically going up against bigger and stronger players. He was creative and scrappy. A brilliant passer who made his teammates better. I didn’t play much on a team with a challenging coach and some tough personalities. Drew was a quiet and effective leader who helped calm a nervous guy (me) on the court. I always felt he had my back. He also had a great, wry sense of humor. He teased me very effectively in a good natured way and made me feel valued even as a bench player. The lessons I learned playing on a team with Drew I carry with me today in my job and my life. Work hard, be creative, maintain a sense of humor, value and help those around you fulfill their potential.

Our class had the wisdom to anoint Drew as “Most Likely to Succeed.” It struck me as an unusual choice at the time. Not because he didn’t deserve it – he was very bright, athletic, charismatic, and universally respected. It’s just that Drew was not someone with an obvious ambition for money or classic success. He was actually a fairly quiet, introspective, even shy person at times. So, I think what our class collectively determined was that Drew was most likely to be significant, that Drew would do something meaningful, and be a leader and success in whatever he chose to do.

As part of my preparation for speaking, I read all of Drew’s articles that he published about his illness. It was a moving and life affirming experience. First of all, putting aside the terrible pain his early passing caused his family, we lost an outstanding writer. Drew wrote beautiful, clean, strikingly honest prose. It flowed beautifully and took his many readers on a journey that told an individual story, but one that could be related to by anyone. He truly had a gift. Reading those pieces in a single sitting gave me the privilege of understanding the young man who I knew only at a relatively early stage of life. It brought me to tears. I always saw a deeper, even sad, side to Drew, but never had any real insight into why until I read his writings.

I learned that we shared difficult fathers, amazing, loving mothers, and big brothers who challenged us and influenced our lives. I appreciated how the admiration of his peers and the expectations of them and his family placed a burden on him. I can imagine how difficult it was for Drew to abandon his planned medical career to become a writer and journalist. But we should all be thankful for the courage he showed in pursuing his true dream. He chose the right career and turned a terrible health ordeal that he endured for years into something that would touch and inspire others. Drew’s beautiful writing, insight, and honesty elevated his illness into a series of life lessons. If I could say something to Drew now, I’d say that I was proud of him, and that I, and all who knew him, admired and respected him. And that is a wonderful legacy for anyone. Given Drew’s work as an education writer, this scholarship fund is a worthy tribute to a great person, and one that I’m proud to support.

Daniel S. Floyd

 

Here’s the link to the Fiesta Photos: http://drewsilvernedfund.org/fiesta-fundraiser-2013/

Mentor Meeting

On a recent Sunday, we offered the opportunity for new mentors to learn about our Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars chapter and the afternoon for them to meet the students they would be mentoring. Mentor Meeting

By late morning I feared no one would drive through the torrential rain storm and I’d be stuck with a platter of cakes and cookies.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the new mentor volunteers are a hearty bunch and appeared at my door with umbrellas and rain boots. Most of the students I had invited came and some with their parents.

Mentor Meeting

We warmed up with an ice breaker that gave everyone a chance to move about and get to know each other.

Board members, Frances Goldstein, Phyllis Lautman and Eric Silvern were able to introduce their mentees and tell about their experiences as mentors. Roxana Romero and Magdalena Lopez in their senior years at Cal State Fullerton and Mt. St. Mary’s impressed the audiences with their accomplishments and self-confidence.

Mentor Meeting

Rebecca Leach, who had been mentored when a foster child in San Diego, is now mentoring a college student. She described her experiences and had some good advice for new mentors. I have four mentor volunteers patiently waiting to be paired with a scholarship recipient.

Students interested in working in the health services are encouraged to call me so I can arrange for them to meet with someone who has achieved success in a field they wish to pursue.

Maureen Osborn took pictures, Lee Steele donated a box of delicious cupcakes. A fire roared in my fireplace and hot apple cider was served.

It was wonderful event.

Lila

Education Walk 2011

 

I hope that many of our loyal and energetic supporters will join us for the Education Walk November 12, 2011 on the Loyola Marymount campus in Westchester. Registration starts at 8:30 and the walk at 10:00.

It was amazing how many students walked for education.
Education Walk 2010

If it isn’t possible to attend, a $30 check will pay for a tee-shirt for a student to walk in your place.

In the past we received a bonus check from Dollars for Scholars for having the greatest number of participants. Nellie Barrientos and her Saturday School students came by bus and were given a tour of the college campus. It proved to be a great motivation and inspiration for the participants to get the grades that are needed to attend college.

This year Esmeralda De la Cruz, one of our fourth year scholarship recipients, will be displaying her whimsical, delicious looking jewelry at the event. You’ll get a head start on holiday shopping while helping a deserving student complete her education.

It takes a whole city, East L.A. and West L.A. and the San Fernando Valley to make a difference in the lives of the young people who are going to be the future leaders in our community. Your contribution in person or by mail is so greatly appreciated.

 

Sincerely,

Lila Silvern,

President

Drew Silvern Education Fund

A Dollars for Scholars Chapter 501(c)(3)