Written by Gayle Gullans
The Scholarship Program was established in 2004. Graduating high school students from selected alternative education programs which participated in our Competencies for Independent Living Program were offered an opportunity to apply for a scholarship to a college or trade school. Laura Spitzer shares in an interview how both programs have impacted her life.
The Scholarship Program now includes five continuation high schools in Placer County, Chana and Maidu in Auburn, Adelante and Independence in Roseville, and Victory in Rocklin and Koinonia Family Services in Loomis. The students selected for this program have often had challenging life circumstances, but are very motivated to pursue post-high school training and education. They are referred to us by their high school staff and by other community leaders.
Caitlyn Lumpkins, a graduate of Independence High School in Roseville, shares about the challenges she has faced and the impact of this program on her life.
“Although I am only 17, I have been through more than most will go through in their lifetime. My mother died right before I turned 15. About eight months after this, I realized that regardless of how depressed I was and how much I was grieving, I had to begin moving on. Though it was hard, I got myself together day by day and began planning my future out. Two months after that I was at a level of motivation that I did not realize was possible; I realized I wanted to graduate high school one year early and go to college to study medicine. Though it was hard and at times it felt like I had the universe telling me I couldn’t do it, I did. I graduated high school at 16 and started college two months later. I am currently studying biology, but when I transfer to hopefully Baylor or UCLA, I plan on majoring in neuroscience. I want to go to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and I want to specialize in pediatric neurosurgery. I would not be where I am today if it had not been for the Assistance League Scholarship I received. The scholarship allowed me to pay for my first semester of college including my classes, books, and school supplies. Though I still had to work my first semester and continue to work now, this scholarship made my first semester of college possible. And because the members of the Assistance League believe in me, it gives me the courage to believe that I can make it.”
Rebecca Estrada, a 2015 graduate of Maidu High School in Auburn shared that the scholarship made it possible for her to pursue her dream of going to college.
“The biggest challenge to attend college I have faced is finding enough money to pay for my books and classes. Assistance League of Greater Placer has helped me pay for my first semester of college. They have been nothing but kind towards me, have encouraged me in my goals, and they believe that I can do anything I put my mind to!”
For the past few years, Assistance League of Greater Placer has not only been able to award scholarships to high school graduates, but also has begun to renew scholarships for past high school graduate recipients who qualify now as college students.
Alyson Ingram, who received a scholarship when she graduated from Maidu High School several years ago, has received scholarship renewals from Assistance League because she has met and exceeded the requirements for this program.
“I was raised by a single parent who has been sick with Crohn’s disease my whole life. My older sister has the disease, as well. It has definitely put a strain on everyone in our family. We’ve always struggled financially and were even homeless at one point. We as a family have been through a lot, but I’m proud to say that we have overcome every obstacle along the way. I’m currently taking classes for Interior Design, as well as Real Estate. I hope to get a degree in Interior Design while also taking the classes needed to take the California Real Estate Salesperson exam. My goal is to open a staging business, as well as flip/sell, redecorate, remodel houses.
This scholarship has allowed me to pursue my dreams of becoming an Interior Designer and Real Estate Agent. It has also allowed me to get to school when needed and help my mother with our costly living expenses. My family and I have struggled financially for as long as I can remember. While this scholarship hasn’t taken that away completely, it has helped us tremendously and has made our lives a little less stressful. I’m extremely grateful for and appreciate everything the Assistance League has done for me. My college experience has been a lot easier due to this scholarship.”
Another ongoing scholarship recipient, Vanessa Pohley, shared this: “This scholarship has really helped me succeed in my college life. I purchased a new computer with the scholarship funds. The computer has allowed me to effectively complete my college assignments as well as allowing me to attend online classes in addition to classes on campus. The continuing scholarship has helped me pay for books and supplies and has also allowed me to work fewer hours. Working and going to school full-time is a lot to balance, and this scholarship has made that less stressful. I always appreciate the support system that I have gained through receiving this. I have felt welcomed and loved by all the ladies at Assistance League who I have been in contact with. It is so wonderful having a group of people that want you to succeed!”
Each time Assistance League can help these students stay in college or trade school, we give them the opportunity for a brighter future-they will have a better chance of succeeding in life. Education has the power to change lives and opens doors that may otherwise be closed. The Scholarship Program is opening doors for young people who need our support; this program demonstrates the commitment of Assistance League of Greater Placer to the young people of this community.