Pride and Excitement for Summer YOS Recipients

By Reina Lopez, Administrative Assistant

The Lampert Byrd Foundation and PVF have been partnering together on the Youth Opportunity Scholarship program since 2011, and in that time have awarded students over $890,000 in more than 3,000 scholarships. While one might think summertime is synonymous with freedom and vacation, for many low-income youth, it can be quite the opposite. As parents continue to work the summer months trying to make ends meet, many families do not have extra funds to put their children in summer camps or lessons. For some students, summer becomes an extended stay at home. The YOS scholarships allow students to make use of their free time in a fun and rewarding manner.

Maya Nieto, the Alumni & Student Engagement Manager at Aim High, writes: “We open the YOS program to all current students. Families hear about the scholarship during family orientation night prior to the summer program starting, and then have three weeks to complete and submit the student application. Each campus has a designated staff member there to support families and student with seeking out an activity and completing their application.”

This summer we received applications from students all over YOS partner site Aim High’s 18 campuses located in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, San Rafael, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, Napa, and Truckee/Tahoe. Our 165 scholarship recipients this year will be participating in everything from cooking and art to karate and music lessons. While all the students’ essays were full of genuine sincerity, they ran the gamut from heartwarming to heartbreaking:

“Ever since I was little I made super wacky creations in the kitchen and forced my family to try them. One time I even peeled grapes and cooked them inside a quesadilla. I’m passionate about this subject because I love food and ever since I was little, my dad and I cooked quesadillas in the kitchen. I love how food brings people together and shows our love for one another in my Mexican culture. I would love to see if I can follow this passion of mine and possibly become a chef. You’ll never know until you explore it.” Jason, 7th grade

“I’m very excited about the chance to learn tennis if given the scholarship. Although I think I’m playing it the wrong way, I seem to like tennis and it looks like it can be the sport for me. I see my parents struggle as we live check-to-check so I know there is no way they can afford tennis lessons for me. I’ll forever be grateful if chosen for the scholarship, really take advantage of the opportunity, and not just waste it.” Matthew, 7th grade

“I want to explore how to play a musical instrument, and maybe I can get a career or job with it. I am a triplet and play soccer, and I am currently learning how to swim. I should be chosen for this scholarship because it would help me and my family get something that we never knew we could get. Since I am a triplet it costs a lot of money to afford piano and guitar lessons. I feel if I learn the guitar and my other two brothers learn the piano and drums we can make a band and we can share it with my family and maybe with the world.” Diana, 8th grade

“I just graduated from elementary school in May, and I’m about to go into middle school next month. I don’t feel prepared for the pressure that middle school will expose me to. I wanted to enroll in a boxing program, and even though I would have to travel across San Francisco to get there, I think it will be a good fit for me. I rarely see my father unless we are sick and need to go to the hospital, so he hasn’t really taught me how to be a boy. I depend on my mom, and she does support me. I just know that I have a lot of siblings (4 children) and our money is limited. I am small and skinny, but this program could provide me some motivation. I should be chosen for this scholarship. This is my first scholarship, and it would be nice to try something out for the first time. I hardly have the opportunity with my mom’s limited income, so I would appreciate the opportunity.” Jeremy, 6th grade

“Many of our students write about the struggles their families suffer financially and recognize how a scholarship helps to alleviate the stress and pressure there can often be when trying to pay for extra-curricular activities,” says Maya. “Once students receive the good news that they have been awarded the scholarship it is clear that they feel a sense of pride and excitement. For many of our students, this will be the first scholarship they have ever received so it is definitely a big deal for them and their families.”

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