Heartfelt Thanks

Laura Leyva_a

Dear Scholarship Donor,

I am honored to have been given this opportunity to form part of the Drew Silvern Scholarship. Thank you for your generosity which has allowed me to further my education at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Thanks to you, I was able to buy my textbooks, live near by school, and pay off some loans. This has helped me stay focused in school rather than stressing about financial issues. Thank you once again.

I am very thankful for receiving your thoughtful gift.

Laura Leyva

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,


A College Bound Workshop

I awoke early on a chilly Saturday morning to drive with Maureen Osborn and her camera equipment and GPS close at hand over the 101,134, 5 and 60 freeways to Boyle Heights to arrive at Stevenson Middle School at 8:45. School busses were arriving with students participating in the Migrant Education Program’s College Bound Workshop organized by Jose Pimentel.

I left three hours later warmer, more energized and filled with a renewed dedication to securing the funds to help children of migrant workers who want to go to college. An exciting day had been planned for 12th graders interested in applying for colleges and scholarships.

Mr. Pimentel began the morning activities by telling the students how he had met the challenges of being the son of farm workers and had gone on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from CSU Dominguez Hills and a Master’s Degree from Azuza Pacific University. He received his Administrative Credentials from USC and National University. I was given the opportunity to share information about my son, Drew whose work as an education reporter had inspired the scholarship.

Roger Romero, the Migrant Office computer expert was on hand to walk the students through the on-line application process which seemed much less overwhelming than it had last year. The students were reminded that this application might also make them eligible for other scholarships managed by Scholarship America.

The highlight of the morning for me was seeing our scholarship graduate, Cynthia Zepeda and recipient Roxana Muratalla lead the workshop on “Writing Effective Personal Statements”. They prepared a power point presentation that covered the importance of writing an effective essay, interpreting prompt themes, how to avoid problems, and the necessity for feedback before submitting.

Students were given some time to practice writing about how their educational plans related to their career objective and future goals.

After hearing the high school seniors share their hopes of pursuing careers as marine biologists, astrophysicists and sociologists, I realized that the task facing the Dollars for Scholars Board in selecting candidates for scholarship awards in May would be a difficult one.

I was able to chat with the students during lunch and tell them how my four years at UCLA had been the best years of my life and feeling like their abuela, I urged them to pursue their dreams of a college education, as I had many years ago. I’m still reaping the rewards.


Lila Lee Silvern