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Support College Dreams of Latino Students

by Shenandoah Valley Scholars' Latino Initiative
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
Support College Dreams of Latino Students
2019 SLI scholars, Harrisonburg High School
2019 SLI scholars, Harrisonburg High School

SLI continued its successes this year, helping the 2019 cohort of scholars access college opportunities, gain recognition for their achievements, and secure funding to help pay for their higher education:

  • SLI scholars were admitted to and offered support packages at Bridgewater College, Eastern Mennonite University, George Mason University, Georgia State University, James Madison University, Liberty University, Lord Fairfax Community College, Mary Baldwin College, Marymount University, Old Dominion University, Radford University, Shenandoah University, University of Mary Washington, University of Virginia, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
  • The 12 SLI scholars who graduated from Winchester’s John Handley High School and Harrisonburg High School were granted $43,000 in SLI college scholarship awards and $11,000 in SLI computer awards. These awards will help to fill a critical gap in covering expenses for their first year of college.
  • Thanks to new financial backing from the Richmond area, this year Shenandoah Valley SLI expanded its support to include SLI scholars in Richmond. These generous donations allowed SLI to award $10,000 in scholarships to members of the cohort of five graduating high school students. The Richmond SLI program is directed by Dr. Peter Iver Kaufman, professor at the University of Richmond and founder of the original SLI at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • SLI teachers and professors also helped to connect scholars to additional funding opportunities that recognize academic merit and leadership development. In Harrisonburg alone this year, graduating SLI scholars accepted nearly $470,000 in college awards and support grants from the institutions they will attend. These awards included a JMU Centennial Scholarship, two JMU First Generation Scholarships, an Ace Scholarship at JMU, two McKinney Ace Scholarships at Bridgewater College, and a Virginia Merit award at VCU. Several students also received local awards totaling $8,000 from the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs of Harrisonburg and the Harrisonburg Education Foundation. 

This summer, SLI scholars in Winchester, Harrisonburg and Richmond are involved in a variety of activities such as volunteering at a homeless shelter, shadowing university students doing research, and developing literacy skills. Additional activities include employment and participation in leadership conferences such as the Hispanic College Institute at Virginia Tech and HOSA-Future Health Professionals.

We are already preparing learning and leadership opportunities for the new academic year, and a new grant of $6,000 from Wells Fargo will help cover anticipated costs associated with SLI’s Early College curriculum, leadership development programming and computer awards. 

Thank you for your support of this important, ongoing work.

Links:

College shadow day
College shadow day

SLI has been at work, and our impact is real! Here's a quote from Yamillet, a current SLI scholar who is set to graduate this semester:

With the college preparation and mentorship, SLI has helped me feel more confident in taking initiative on my own. The college assignments handed to us helped me achieve more in my regular classes by analyzing more thoroughly based on what I had learned from SLI. The community that SLI helps bring together among the Hispanic students, over all, inspires me to become an example for all first generation immigrants that are in my position. By helping me acquire resources, such as college trips, informational programs about college, and helping us discover our passion, SLI helps me set the example of a first generation scholar.

Our mission is to create college opportunities for first-generation Latino high school students through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, supportive mentorships and scholarship awards. Part of that leadership development includes community service, and recently our scholars helped rejuvenate the courtyard and garden area at an elementary school. They also attended a college day.

The partnership of our generous donors makes this work possible -- thank you!

Rejuvenation
Rejuvenation

Links:

Sheila mentors 8th grade students
Sheila mentors 8th grade students

The month of March always brings excitement and anxiety for our high school seniors. While many have learned the early decisions from some colleges, other public universities will be notifying applicants during March.

To keep their minds busy, SLI helps our students to buckle down on their studies and to invest on leadership opportunities. One opportunity is serving as a mentor for 8thgraders at a local middle school. The transition from middle school to high school can be tough, and so SLI students do what they can to help the middle-schoolers understand that learning to love yourself is the first step to making a healthy transition. 

Another leadership opportunity is being a “big buddy” to 5thgraders at a local elementary school. The SLI students help the youngsters with their homework and give them the personal attention that they crave. The students have named their buddy program “Amigos Unidos,” or “Friends United.” The name implies a community and sentiment that nobody should ever have to feel alone. 

This year, SLI will see 13 seniors graduate from its program and move onto to college. It's exciting when the students receive positive letters acceptance at their selected universities, but it can be demoralizing when they realize they cannot afford to accept those invitations. Our SLI Scholars are among the most competitive students out there, but even so-called "full-ride" awards can leave an unmet financial gap of $4000-$5000 per year. Your donations to fund the SLI Scholar College Awards that help make up that difference.

Neftali reads to 5th graders
Neftali reads to 5th graders
Shadther waits to hear from Univ. of WA
Shadther waits to hear from Univ. of WA
Board members received Community Service Awards
Board members received Community Service Awards

Links:

A few newly inducted students from J. Handley High
A few newly inducted students from J. Handley High

The new school year brings exciting new opportunities for our SLI high school students to work with teachers, professors, college students, and professionals in the community to develop competencies that lead to college and career success. Here are a few examples:

Enhanced Academics. Students at Harrisonburg High meet weekly after school for SLI Early College Seminar, a writing and critical discussion class led by JMU professor, Dr. Carlos Aleman. The fall semester focuses on expository and descriptive writing skills for producing effective arguments and successful college application essays. The students will learn about issues affecting young adults of immigrant families and then work with college students of JMU's Media Arts and Design to produce public service announcements on these issues.

Leadership Through Service. SLI students at Winchester's John Handley High show leadership every week as "reading buddies" for children attending Quarles Elementary School. Students at Harrisonburg provided free face painting for children at the annual International Festiva, as well as provided questions on immigrant issues for a public debate between city council candidates. Students from both schools are looking forward the SLI Fall Leadership Retreat that will be held at Shenandoah University at the end of October.

Mentoring Relationships. Students at Harrisonburg successfully invited Virginia Secretary of Education, Artif Qarni, to attend a SLI Early College Seminar. Students at Handley are learning about personal finance and managing budgets through seminars led by Paul Burkholder, a local financial advisor and former chair of SLI's Board of Directors. Students from both schools enjoy social and service activities with college student mentors from Shenandoah University, JMU, and Bridgewater College.

The seniors of the Class of 2019 will face many challenges as they begin to apply for colleges in November. Despite their American citizen status, some students are learning for the first time how their family’s immigrant status may impact their ability to apply for admission and federal financial aid. 

Face painting at Harrisonburg International Fest
Face painting at Harrisonburg International Fest
With VA Secretary of Education, Artif Qarni
With VA Secretary of Education, Artif Qarni
Awareness of child detention through poetry.
Awareness of child detention through poetry.

Links:

Graduation day for SLI seniors in Harrisonburg
Graduation day for SLI seniors in Harrisonburg

The 2017-18 academic year at Harrisonburg High School and John Handley High School (Winchester) proved to be one of academic highs. Graduating seniors of the Class of 2018 demonstrated that they have the stuff to be admitted to outstanding colleges and universities, and individuals and businesses in our local communities demonstrated they are committed to see that these students actually get to walk onto those campuses in the fall. 

SLI Scholars of the Class of 2018 will enroll in courses at Harvard University, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), James Madison University, Bridgewater College, and Lord Fairfax Community College. Other schools where the students were admitted but chose not to attend include Yale University, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, Mary Baldwin College, Eastern Mennonite University, Shenandoah University, Radford University, and Eastern Tennessee University. 

The students’ active membership in SLI for the past three years paid off. The students earned merit scholarships from universities in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements, demonstrated leadership, and service to the community service. Several students also earned small scholarship awards from local organizations for their leadership and service. While some of the students were eligible for federal financial assistance made available to low income families, others were not eligible for any sort of state or federal aid because their family’s residency status. In all cases, the SLI College Award has made an important difference in helping to fill a financial gap so that the students could attend the college of their choice and accept the opportunities being offered.

On the low side, some students in the Class of 2019 and 2020 will face difficult choices during the upcoming years, especially those American-born students who have families that immigrated decades ago from Central America under the security of Temporary Protected Status. These students may have to choose between pursuing their college dream in the United States or returning with their families to El Salvador and Honduras. All of us at SLI recognize that there is no substitute for family, but we will continue to provide the emotional and academic support needed so that our students can have make that choice without feeling they are an economic burden to their families. Your support for our SLI College Award helps make that difference. 

Class of 2018 with SLI faculty on award day
Class of 2018 with SLI faculty on award day
Helen will be attending University of VA
Helen will be attending University of VA

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Shenandoah Valley Scholars' Latino Initiative

Location: Harrisonburg, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @svsli
Project Leader:
Carlos Aleman
Harrisonburg, VA United States
$9,848 raised of $100,000 goal
 
235 donations
$90,152 to go
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