Students Rising Above is an organization I am proud to be associated with. Over a period spanning almost a decade SRA has provided economic and mentoring support to bright young people who despite every conceivable obstacle in life have managed to pursue the dream of going to college.
These young people overcome challenges that would make me wilt, to be completely truthful, and yet they have an ability to see beyond their current state of affairs and understand that getting an education is a way to break free and have a chance at a better life. Read the stories, watch the videos, feel humbled… and then meet these impressive young adults and appreciate how they go through life not playing the victim or asking for anything they havenâ€™t earned, itâ€™s dignity in itâ€™s purest form is all I can suggest.
The cold hard reality, and this is the lesson that the program itself has learned, is that itâ€™s not enough to just give someone who grew up in East Oakland or the Tenderloin with parent(s) who were addicted, sick, dead, or incarcerated and having to work two jobs so that they could provide for themselves and siblings a scholarship and a pat on the back, and then hope that everything works out when they get dropped into dorm life at UCSB.
While limited in the number of young people we can help each year to under 20 (this year) what SRA does do is provide a full time support network that helps the students cope with what is often a very different environment than they have grown up in. In addition to support, quite often we have to provide for medical and dental needs due to the fact that rarely do we work with students who have had proper medical and dental care. This approach ensures that we are not just getting young people into college but also getting them out successfully as well.
Every year SRA hosts a dinner and auction fundraising event at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco (the Ritz has been a longtime supporter of the organization and provides facilities and catering at a greatly reduced cost). This is the single major fundraiser for the organization and this year we are targeting 500 attendees, our best year yet. If you are interested in attending, or even just contributing, please check out the website or contact me directly.
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