For the fourth successive year, on May 8, 2018, Jackson Tidus awarded substantial monetary scholarships to graduates of Project Youth’s (PY) Higher Education Mentoring (HEM) program. The Class of 2018 consists of 27 students from six City of Santa Ana high schools. The HEM program graduates were recognized at a wonderful celebration attended by family members, mentors, educators, PY staff and PY Board members. Their stories and circumstances caused many to shed a tear.
Based on their academic and other achievements, together with supporting essays, the Firm’s Scholarship committee (Kathryn Casey, Nedda Mahrou and Lauren McKay) selected five very talented graduates to receive the JT John Carrillo Scholarships. The lucky graduates are headed to Stanford and UC San Diego, among other fine institutions. Speaking for the Firm at the graduation, Ms. Mahrou delivered a wonderfully succinct and poignant speech that was well received by the new graduates. Separately, Ms. Mahrou, Shannon Mandich and Brittany Ortiz participated in the May 2018 OC Marathon 5k to raise additional money for PY. The Firm would like to thank the Firm members for their hard work supporting this fine cause.
As Alim Malik, Firm President and HEM program Co-Chair noted:
Among young people are the philosophers, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, judges, community leaders, teachers and visionaries of the future – people who will create new things, generate new ideas, who will teach, who will lead, and who will continue this country’s rich and unique traditions. Underpinning their success is education. Unfortunately, access to college programs and job markets are beyond the reach of many talented students from impoverished backgrounds due to a lack of guidance, inspiration and funds.
The HEM program fills in these gaps by enabling students to stay in school, make good choices and maintain education as a top priority. The HEM program has been very successful with students completing high school and gaining places at Harvard, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, among other well respected schools. As the late President Reagan said, “Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough [men and women], it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having.” The JT John Carrillo Scholarships have been provided to 25 students since inception. The Firm is immensely proud of the HEM program, HEM program staff members, PY volunteers, and the HEM program graduates.
The HEM program traces its roots to 2001, when it began as an effort to help a group of 8 female students who were struggling to graduate high school. Now, through the efforts of the community, donors, students, parents and others, the HEM program has grown to a six-year program that provides academic, social and financial support to City of Santa Ana Latino high school students, during high school and throughout college, and has helped over 280 students.
The need for the HEM program is clear because:
• In the City of Santa Ana, only 60% of adults have a high school diploma.
• Latinos represent 42% of Orange County’s youth, but they account for 63% of all high school dropouts.
• The Latino college completion rate in California is 21%.
The statistics from the HEM program are inspiring:
• 100% of the students that successfully complete the HEM program attend college.
• 75% of HEM program graduates complete their bachelor’s degree.