FOUNDATION FOR STUDENTS RISING ABOVE

Rating: 4.99 stars   73 reviews

Issues:

Location: PO Box 29174 San Francisco CA 94129 USA

Mission: Students Rising Above helps exceptional low-income Bay Area high school students who are overcoming tremendous odds of poverty, homelessness, and neglect, to fulfill their dream of a college education. We provide the mentoring, financial assistance, and employment skills to be successful in school and in life.
Target demographics: low-income, first generation college students
Geographic areas served: the San Francisco Bay Area
Programs: college application assistance, pre-college readiness support, tuition assistance, career development workshops, paid summer internships, mentors and healthcare.
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Students Rising Above (SRA) is an outstanding philanthropic entity. To categorize it as a scholarship program does not adequately describe the depth and essence of what SRA provides and accomplishes.

SRA’s greatest asset is the structure of the program itself. The organizations ability to anticipate and address not only the financial requirements of their students but also their emotional, academic, medical, dental and general needs as growing young adults is the key to this nonprofit's success. With dedicated academic mentors as well as individual mentors for support, encouragement and social experiences, SRA addresses the needs of their students as whole people with practicality, efficiency, grace and dignity. This comprehensive approach is SRA’s most outstanding characteristic and it is the implementation of this ethos by all of those involved and connected to SRA that enables and perpetuates the growth and success of this remarkable program.

My introduction to SRA came in the form of an incredible cowboy themed party one afternoon in July. This event was the result of one of my mother’s infamous auction purchases from what I thought was simply another charitable event she had attended. (Yes, I realize this sounds jaded but if you knew my mother you would understand ☺) Our family entertains a lot, we celebrate anything and everything and the bottom line is we believe having fun in life is serious business. For example our family and friends all arrived for this event appropriately dressed in cowboy boots & hats and of course my mom provided cowboy boot glasses for refreshments and bandanas because, well, it wouldn’t be a cowboy party without bandanas. I knew from the moment we stepped off of the bus that this was not simply another one of my mom’s crazy auction purchases. It was evident from the get go that we were in the hands of some exceptional people who clearly shared in our beliefs and values as they relate to celebrations and having a good time.

Not only were our hosts dressed to the nines as we were, but they had bandanas for all of us as they greeted us with welcoming smiles in front of a picturesque barn complete with hay bales, a line dancing caller and band.

The dedication, enthusiasm and incredible energy of our hosts could be felt from the moment we met, but until we sat down to lunch I still had no clue about the amazing people or premise behind SRA. In brief but poignant remarks Kirsten McCarthy introduced SRA to our group. I was intrigued and Kirsten encouraged me to submit an application to become a mentor. We enjoyed the rest of our afternoon, laughing, dancing and taking in our festive surroundings. That was Saturday and I submitted my application on Sunday.

In September 2012 I officially became a mentor for SRA. From the interview process to the mentor workshop and regular communications I am continually impressed by the organization, attention to detail and synergy of SRA.

It has only been a few months since I became a part of the SRA family but it has already been a life changing experience. I know how cliché that sounds but it’s the truth. My student has already enriched my life in ways that I had never considered and I only hope that I will be able to return the favor in the years to come.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

My wife and I became aware of SRA a few years ago through their student profiles on CBS 5. We started making modest donations and then increased them substantially after we understood how incredibly effective and efficient SRA is in accomplishing its mission of educating underserved youth. SRA became the primary recipient of our charitable contributions. Ultimately, we also signed up to be student mentors. All of our interactions with the leadership, staff, and volunteers at SRA have been fabulous - they have an excellent, highly motivated team. Their success rate speaks for itself.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

The social, professional, financial and spiritual support that SRA provides is critical to the journey of today's young leaders. The program is a coordinated effort of students, advisors, staff, mentors and volunteers and the results of 90+ % college admission proves that it takes a village. I'm honored to be part of SRA!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

There are few organizations that allow you to become so personally involved in changing lives of motivated youth. SRA has given me a wonderful gift through my mentee student, currently at UC Merced. The SRA community nurtures great character and provides the means for many under-served students to reach higher. Many, including my mentee, are citizens of the world who see the importance of "paying forward." I am confident they will make a global impact and am honored to be affiliated with such an impressive, professional and well-organized foundation.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the 2010 SRA class mature and successfully attend colleges throughout the nation.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

My husband and I are new Student Mentors in the program. It took only moments after hearing the mission of SRA to understand that this is an incredible program and something we would want to make personal and financial commitments to. We're only two months into it, but could not feel more connected. We're elated to be supporting something that can be such a life changing experience for deserving kids. Funny thing. . . it's a game changer for us, too!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

SRA not only assists students with providing gap funding for college, but they also provide useful assistance with college preparation, financial planning, and job searches. The relationship and connections they provide students in the form of mentors, advisors and friends is paramount to many of the students served (who often come from dysfunctional or nonexisting family support environments). SRA is amazing and the impact the program is creating for disadvantaged students in the greater Bay Area should be suported and duplicated.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

As a Students Rising Above Scholar myself I have to say that this is truly an exceptional program. They have helped me so much along my journey and now I am a Freshman at the University of San Francisco and am loving life! If it wasn't for Students Rising Above I probably wouldn't be at this amazing school studying a great major.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

There are so many good causes out there. It's sometimes hard to know how to choose how to allocate your charitable giving "budget". But I have had no doubts about my giving to SRA - I've been a donor since their inception, and they receive more of my money than any other non-profit. Why? Because their success rate at what they do is fantastic and because they run a very lean organization. My donation to them makes a tangible difference in the lives of these smart hardworking students. They change the lives forever of every student they work with.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Students Rising Above is without a doubt the most amazing organization I have ever known. Seven years ago when I moved to the United States from a third world country, I had nothing but an ambition that one day I would go to college. I didn't know how. I didn't know when and I didn't know where. Today seven years later, I have a BA degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University. My dream have practically come true and all because I was blessed with the support of an organization like Students Rising Above.
Over the Last five years that I have been a recipient of SRA scholarship, the organization and the amazing people in it have transformed and enriched my life in so many levels. They have not only supported my financially throughout my college years, but also supported my emotionally and provided me with a wide network of people that will help me succeed in the real world. I am forever indebted to Student Rising Above and the amazing people that makes it possible.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Financially support throughout my college years including a semester of study abroad in the Netherlands. They have supported me emotionally by providing me with guidance and advice throughout my academic years of my undergrad

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I honestly can't think of anything better they can do. There is nothing I can think of that the amazing staff working for this organization are already not doing it. Every years since I have been part of this organization, it has evolved to a bigger and better organization.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I was a Student Rising Above scholarship recipient from 2000-2004. My grandparents were Vietnamese refugees who escaped their war-torn homeland on April 29, 1975, the day of the Fall of Saigon. I grew up in a single-parent home and spent the early part of my childhood in a battered women's shelter. The Student Rising Above foundation gave me the courage to tell my story of resiliency and survival. As a result of the mentorship, encouragement and financial support, I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2004 with a BS in bioengineering. I am now finishing up my doctorate in public health and biostatistics at Columbia University where I am giving back to others that have given so much to me. I founded the Biostatistics Enrichment Summer Training (BEST) Diversity Program which recruits under-represented minority and first-generation college students to pursue careers in public health. We received half a million dollars in support from the federal government to continue our program for the next five summers. All of this would not have been possible had Student Rising Above not taken an investment in me and supported me with my endeavors.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My achievement and success is a testament to the results of this organization. I successfully graduated from college and I am going to finish my doctorate in public health. I have started a million dollar summer program in public health so that I can recruit recent graduates of the Student Rising Above organization to pursue careers in public health and biostatistics.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not do anything except to keep in touch with my fellow Student Rising Above alumni more often. This is a great and life changing organization and invests in human beings as we try to make our communities a better, just and more equitable place.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

How did you find this group?

I was nominated by my high school.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

The group has encouraged me to pursue and to attain my dreams.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have volunteered at SRA and have met many of the students who have been involved . SRA does a wondeful job helping these students in need, not only financially but also nurturing. Have someone around who cares is a big part of a persons success, this is what SRA does. They care about each student and want them to succeed no matter what struggles they mat have endured.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

meeting and hearing successes of many of the students

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

wish they were able to help all students who are in need.

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