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,

 

Dollars for Scholars Interview

Lila was recently interviewed by Scholarship America about the Dollars for Scholars Drew Silvern Education Fund. Below is a link to the interview and and overview of the Dollars for Scholars Program.

Drew Silvern Education Fund Overview
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5vzb1fFuV73UmlGYUk3NU5kRzA/edit?usp=docslist_api

Dollars for Scholars Overview
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5vzb1fFuV73QklTRWo2bVFWcnM/edit?usp=docslist_api

It’s Fiesta Time

FiestaInviteCompostie_2kpx

 

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

 

Katie Couric celebrates Scholarship America

Katie Couric and Dollars for Scholars founder Dr. Irving Fradkin

Katie Couric recently featured our Scholarship America founder, Dr. Irving Fradkin, on her nationwide daytime talk show, Katie! In addition to a video profile and in-studio interview, the show provided Dr. Fradkin a surprise: scholarship recipients from 1961 to the present came out to thank him for his life’s work.

Katie and Dr. Fradkin also spoke with Hannah Truong, the 2013 Scholarship America Dollars for Scholars Student Volunteer of the Year. Hannah was an active volunteer with Bellingham Dollars for Scholars in Washington state and is now attending college at Yale.

Here at Drew Silvern Education Fund / Dollars for Scholars, we also have some amazing volunteers and students. Dr. Phyllis Lautman shines particularly bright. Please see her experience, along with that of her mentee, Magdalena Lopez, here.

We are so grateful to Katie for her support of Dollars for Scholars and our national organization, Scholarship America. To help us support our local students and continue the legacy started by Dr. Fradkin, click here for volunteer opportunities.

Summer Social 2013

Helpers arrived at my door August 4 at exactly three o’clock bearing platters of watermelon, homemade cookies, cheese, chips, dips and cupcakes and stepped right in to set up for the first ever Drew Silvern Dollars for Scholars Migrant Education Fund SUNDAY SOCIAL specially arranged for scholarship recipients to meet each other, the Board members and accomplished adults who had volunteered to be their mentors through their college years.

Many of the scholarship recipients arrived soon after. We were all a little shy at first. Name tags and introductions were needed before we started the ice breaker games. People Bingo got everyone out of their chairs and looking for someone with gray hair, or someone who knew how to salsa dance. MLou Guzman was the first to fill the page and be declared the winner.

Before anyone could return to their seat, they were asked to form a line starting with Jeri Vargas who lives across the street and came the shortest distance to Catherine Bramhall who traveled from Oxnard and may have tied with Nellie Barrientos from Cucamonga.

We finished mixing with a game of finding the match-up to a song lyric cut in half. Some of our retired school administrators surprised us with their renditions of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Justin Bieber’s One Time. Thanks to Carole Rosner for mixing old Sinatra favorites with Britney Spears and more mod tunes.

Finally we all gathered on the patio with plates of goodies to hear Rebecca Leach who had been awarded a Dollars scholarship as a Foster youth in San Diego several years ago, speak about the encouragement she received from a mentor with her since high school. Now she told us, she is enjoying being a mentor to Gardenia Benecio, a young college student.

The best part of the afternoon, was seeing the student/mentor pairs getting to know more about each other, exchanging information about their backgrounds and hobbies and writing down phone numbers and E-mail addresses.

We wanted to assure the group of hopeful young students that besides the financial grant we provided them, we also want to offer moral support and assistance through an important period in their lives.

There were warm embraces and expressions of gratitude from the students as they left with a gift of a book light and wishes for a very successful year in college.

 

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