Celebrating Fiesta 2016

The Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars fund-raising Fiesta is held Memorial Day weekend because Drew’s birthday was May 30, the date on which the holiday used to be celebrated.

This year, May 28, was a perfect day for a celebration to honor Drew’s memory and benefit deserving students. The weather was ideal. There were enough umbrellas over the tables. Christian arrived in plenty of time to set up a lavish seafood feast. Matty prepared pitchers of refreshing beverages, and Ali Olmo serenaded us in English and Spanish.

There were raffles offering special services and summer attractions, and a Treasure Table to attract bargain hunters.

The highlight of the afternoon for me was to hear Blake Davis remember his elementary school days with Drew playing tennis and basketball and to hear the students tell what college means to them, their hopes for the future and their appreciation of the scholarships they receive. There are 16 continuing students and 5 new high school graduates who will receive checks June 18 at the LA Unified School District Board.

All of the money raised goes directly towards helping these students. There are minimal administrative costs.

This scholarship is a team effort. It takes a generous Board donating invitations, raffle and treasure table items, cookies, paper goods, their time and effort for photographs and mailings.

Board members, mentors and supporters come from all areas of the city and contribute their individual skills and talents to make it possible for 21 students to receive financial help and also encouragement to earn a college degree. Several of the graduates were at the Fiesta. They are all eager to do work to help others.

Many friends called to say it was the best fiesta ever. I hear this each year, and am happy to be writing thank you letters for weeks after the May Fiesta weekend.

Please enjoy the photos from our event, below.

 

 






Lila Lee Silvern

 

Fiesta 2016

It’s time for Annual Fiesta fundraiser and the honoring this year’s student scholarship recipients.

Please join us if you can. If you are unable to attend the fiesta, your tax deductible donation will be greatly appreciated!

We look forward to seeing our student scholars, donors, mentors, volunteers and board members, and all of our generous supporters.


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Honoring Drew, 2015

We are posting this year’s Annual Fiesta speech by David Enzer, who was a long-time friend of Drew. If you did not have a chance to attend our event, please read David’s words which honor Drew and give insight to our mission atDrew Silvern Dollars For Scholars.

 

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“A few words to start off: Welcome to all of you, so nice to see how successful this event has been over time– otherwise how could I end up being chosen as a speaker?

It is also nice to be able to speak on the topic of Drew. Many others have shared great stories at this event about his capabilities as well as his depth and courage during his short time here and thruout his personal battle. It means a lot to me to be able to share some of my impressions.

I met Drew in junior high at Millikan in Sherman Oaks — very close to here. I went there on permit since we didn’t live in the district. Many of his friends here today already knew him from elementary school at Dixie canyon, and had already experienced his loyalty and friendship, his exploits on the athletic filed and his success in the classroom.

At that age, I spent most of my free time on the court, as did Drew and a lot of his friends here today – whether it be basketball or football or tennis. Drew was a fierce competitor, but a gentleman on the court. Meeting Drew on the basketball court was a unique experience and I remember it quite clearly: floppy curly hair all over the place, a smile with braces sticking out, head cocked to the side slightly, and a stance that dared you to move successfully in any direction with the ball. He shot was like no other we had ever seen: I wondered how he could shoot a knuckleball so well.

Athlete and gentleman. Whereas all the other kids were aggressive in playing style and mouthing off at each other or cussing at each other, Drew was a silent warrior.

Drew did not lose his temper or complain at any time regardless of outcomes. Good day or bad day, he never changed. He played team ball and maintained composure. It was inspiring to be around the guy, he was mature and uniquely refined at an early age and I admired that a lot.

Drew set an example. Academically and socially drew was also very talented, took the challenging classes, played musical instruments, and he participated in clubs. O yea, and the cuter girls tended to follow him around. For that reason and so many others, you wanted to be around him.

Drew generated no friction. When he told jokes he did so quietly – he didn’t need to shout to be heard. When he had advice he gave it and expected you to listen. He wanted to set standards to live by and expected his friends to toe the line as well. His interest in john wooden helped him live a disciplined life where success was measured daily but he didn’t need broadcast his achievements.
Drew was a Giver. Drew gave of himself when most others would not have the will or strength.

I have read Drew’s journals where he details his quest to live an unpredictable life, yet try to enjoy his time here, asking the questions we all have about our place in the world and trying to make sense of it. I was inspired to learn he had devoted time to his elementary class reading programs and enjoyed that a lot, and stayed with it even during his own tough times. He wanted to make a contribution to others and didn’t let his condition take him off course. He was committed to friends and community and spiritual oneness.

Drew had strength to make very hard decisions. After high school, college and a few years of medical school pursuing a career as a doctor, drew pivoted 180 degrees to pursue a career in writing. So he knew that the economics he was walking away from would be far greater in likelihood than where he was heading.

It was a big sacrifice but he wanted to pursue the goal that inspired him not just the economic one. Writing his journal in the UT was a fulfillment of that decision and how he could tell his story to others. That took a lot of guts.

In closing I’d like to say thank you to all of the folks that make this program possible, lila silvern and others. And all the friends of Drew like me that are here to help celebrate his legacy. Those of you in the Scholars group hopefully find success ahead and remember some of the things you heard about Drew here today that hopefully inspire you, and take them with you on your own journey.”

Scholarship Fiesta 2015

On a warm sunny day in late May, we celebrated the Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars Education Fund’s 11th annual Fiesta Celebration. More than 100 supporters attended to honor the life of Drew and raise funds for the scholarship created in his memory.

Volunteers, donors, board members, guests and scholarship recipients enjoyed a wonderful seafood buffet, refreshing homemade beverages, and delicious desserts. We were entertained by the music of Alicia Moran and Tomas Cardenas. Raffle prizes this year were top notch and included tickets to the Hollywood Bowl, fresh seafood home deliveries and restaurant gift certificates.

The gracious and appreciative speeches given by the Scholarship Recipients are always the most inspirational part of the Fiesta. It’s exciting to see these students mature and grow closer to earning a college degree.

We thank all the supporters who helped fund three new student scholarships, as well as scholarships for the 18 returning students this year. We thank all of our volunteers, supporters and donors, who continued hard work with dedication and love for this organization.

 

An Exciting New Year for Scholarships

The Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars chapter is once again gearing up for our grand Fiesta, May 30. Board members have been busy preparing for the big event.

Student applications were received at an earlier date to give us more time to apply for matching grants at local universities. We were pleased with the number of students wishing to renew their scholarships and thrilled with the quality of the new high school graduates we interviewed in March.

Six board members attended the Scholarship America conference held in Costa Mesa in January. We arrived with many questions and unresolved issues about the relevancy of some on-line requirements and the missing personal information we used to cull from our paper applications. Most of our concerns were addressed by the Scholarship America team. A video which included several of our students and board members was viewed and applauded.

I am very happy to announce that two very positive outcomes resulted from the conference. After hearing about the importance of including recent graduates on our board, I wasted no time in contacting Lizette Aguilar, one of our earliest recipients and a graduate of CSUN Business School. She agreed to join us for the interviews, mentor undergraduates, and serve on the board. Lizette understanding of young Hispanic students and willingness to help them has already proven effective.

The other positive outcome of the conference was being given more updated instructions about Collegiate Partners offering matching grants to students. After applying three years with no success, we finally hit the jackpot. Two of our very gifted and hard-working University of California students will be receiving matching grants.

The mentor program has finally taken off. Connections have been made over lunches, dinners, trips to museums and in business offices.

To meet some of the students and mentors who are improving the world through education, join us at the Fiesta for food, music, and inspiring conversations.
 

Lila Silvern,

 

It’s Fiesta Time

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We are looking forward to seeing you all for our Drew Silvern Education Fund 10th Annual Fiesta Fundraiser on Saturday, May 31, 2014.

The Drew Silvern Education Fund is a Dollars for Scholars chapter of Scholarship America. The funds contributed by our loyal supporters help qualified students pay for the rising costs of a college education.

For the past nine years $129,400 has been granted to deserving Migrant Education students attending Community Colleges, Technical Schools, and State Universities. The students who apply have earned good grades and are very serious about achieving success in their chosen fields. They also have a strong desire to help their families and communities.

The young men and women we’ve interviewed for the past ten years were not shy about expressing their appreciation for the help and encouragement they’d received from their mothers. Though many mothers had limited English proficiency, they had unlimited belief that if their child worked hard and earned good grades, they would one day realize the American dream.

On Saturday, June 7, the financial awards will be given to 17 returning college students and 8 high school graduates at a presentation held at 1:30 pm, in the Board Room of Los Angeles City Schools. It is a time when the students, parents, mentors and board members come together to not only offer the students checks, but also encouragement, support and belief that these eager, idealistic young people can succeed.

 

We look forward to seeing you at the Fiesta!

Lila Silvern

 

Annual Fundraising Fiesta 2014

Our annual fundraising Fiesta is planned for Saturday, May 31, 2014.

We will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Drew Silvern Education Fund, a Dollars for Scholars chapter of Scholarship America. The funds contributed by our loyal supporters help qualified students pay for the rising costs of a college education.

For the past nine years $129,400 has been granted to deserving Migrant Education students attending Community Colleges, Technical Schools, and State Universities. The students who apply have earned good grades and are very serious about achieving success in their chosen fields. They also have a strong desire to help their families and communities.

The young men and women we’ve interviewed for the past ten years were not shy about expressing their appreciation for the help and encouragement they’d received from their mothers. Though many mothers had limited English proficiency, they had unlimited belief that if their child worked hard and earned good grades, they would one day realize the American dream.

On Saturday, June 7, the financial awards will be given to 17 returning college students and 8 high school graduates at a presentation held at 1:30 pm, in the Board Room of Los Angeles City Schools. It is a time when the students, parents, mentors and board members come together to not only offer the students checks, but also encouragement, support and belief that these eager, idealistic young people can succeed.

 

We look forward to seeing you at the Fiesta!

Lila Silvern

 

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/

It’s Fiesta Time

Invitation

Just a reminder to mark your calendars for the upcoming Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars Migrant Education Fund annual Fundraising Fiesta!

We are looking forward to seeing our supporters and volunteers on May 25, 2013 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

Last year 18 scholarships were awarded thanks to your generosity and support. We want to continue to offer the same assistance to other deserving students. Join us to meet and applaud this year’s recipients and to enjoy a reunion of old friends, mariachis and D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S Mexican appetizers.

If you can’t make the Fiesta your tax-deductible donation will be greatly appreciated.

Fiesta Fundraiser 2013

On March 16, the Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars Board met to read the applications that had been submitted by ten college students re-applying and sixteen high school seniors requesting first time assistance for the 2013-2014 school years.

We felt proud as we reviewed the impressive transcripts of last year’s recipients who wrote of the challenges they faced and also the new awareness college life had given them. Many of the new applicants expressed the struggles they had faced as second language learners, living in dangerous neighborhoods with financial insecurity and the responsibilities of looking after younger siblings and helping their parents.

Our soft-hearted board finds it difficult to disqualify new students with modest grades but glowing recommendations from counselors and teachers who describe them as hard working candidates eager to improve their lives and make positive contributions to the community.

We are always faced with the dilemma of whether to offer more assistance to students with high grade point averages who are more likely to complete their education or to consider the importance of offering those with less impressive transcripts, the encouragement of a modest grant to also pursue their dream of a acquiring a college degree or vocational skills needed for success.

After the interviews are held on April 13, we will determine which students will be awarded grants and how much we will be able to offer from our present bank balance.

Our hope is to raise enough money to ease some of the financial burdens of our high achieving students at UCLA, UC Irvine, CAL POLY and the CSU campuses and also provide a small stipend to students at the community colleges.

This can be accomplished if our May fund raising fiesta is super successful in increasing the contributions from our loyal supporters.

The Fiesta will be held Saturday, May 25, (the date closest to Drew’s May 30 Birthday) from 3-6pm.

There will be Mexican food, music, margaritas and introductions to some of the students and of course some shared memories of Drew, for those who never knew him.

PLEASE SAVE THE DATE: May 25, 2013

Hugs,

Lila