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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Foundation For Students Rising Above

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Philanthropy, Public Foundations, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid, Undergraduate Colleges

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.

Community Stories

107 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I found it very reliable in terms of support. I was recommended by someone who told me to share my story. And ever since I joined I have seen the works they are doing.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I chose SRA as my birthday fundraiser on Facebook and so far have raised $315 out of my $500 goal. I have less than a week to go, so I still need a few more donations! As a retired San Jose City College instructor, I know these students and how hard they work to achieve their goals. We all win with Students Rising Above! If you can donate to help me reach my goal, see Barbara Gasdick on Facebook! Thank you!

Review from Guidestar

2 damcindy

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a student, my Students Rising Above advisor and the entire SRA team was rooting for me throughout my journey through my senior year of high school, my four years in college, and beyond. The love, support, and guidance that they provided me have shaped me into the person I am today. Now, I am on staff with SRA and I have the privilege to do the same with my own students as well as with the alumni community. I wholeheartedly believe in SRA and their genuine love for their work.

Previous Stories
2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has more than what I had ever expected. Their support for me through my struggles has given me strength to look beyond my past experiences and create better ones by becoming a better me. I have grown so much in accepting myself amongst people who have already accepted me. My advisor, my mentor, the SRA staff, as well as the students have given me a environment where I always feel comfortable in. Without SRA, I'm not sure how I would have dealt with my hardships. SRA is more than just a non-profit organization, they are building a family.

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have worked at Students Rising Above for 5+ years and I LOVE MY JOB! Aside from the fact that the staff and volunteers are some of the most passionate, smart, dedicated and compassionate people I have ever worked with, working with our students is so rewarding. Not only are they getting to and through college, they entering the workforce, being successful and then turning around and giving back to SRA as mentors, volunteers, paid staff and donors!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sra has been here for me since the start. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to attend college and when they accepts me into the program, I was able to apply to 13 colleges while getting the help I needed to guide me through the process. The same guidance was provided when applying for fafsa and scholarships. I'm currently in a phase of life where I need to start doing internships and sra is always there with connections to help the students get into the fields of their study interests. Beyond this, there is a Familial bond that comes from being a part of sra that is authentic and iereplacable. I am very grateful for this organization and experience.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thanks to Students Rising Above, I am able to cope with my family struggle. SRA provided me with an advisor who is there for me 24/7! I know that with my advisor, I have someone who cares for me and will help me on my journey to college. Not only did SRA provide me with an advisor, they also provided college readiness workshops, the hub, college information and tons of support! I rate SRA with 5 STARS because without them I would not know how to cooperate with my struggles and school work.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has the mission of getting under served students to college, following them through to success. This program is giving me the support I wouldn't have been able to receive else where and I will be forever greatful for that!

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have recently started working with Students Rising Above and am so impressed by all that SRA offers. SRA is a true family for its students and provides them with the resources and social emotional support to help ensure they are successful in college and beyond.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an amazing organization that has believed in me since the beginning. Through the every step, my advisor and the SRA staff have shown me nothing less than the love and support that I knew I needed in order to get through college and beyond. I truly believe in the mission of SRA and all that they strive to do to help students like me to succeed. As I have transitioned into working for SRA, I have continued to receive the guidance and encouragement to help own students so that I may have the same impact on them that my advisor and SRA has had on me.

1 Bryant C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is a fabulous San Francisco-based nonprofit organization. My company has engaged with its internship program, and have been impressed at every turn. From communication to its students, to the support they provide around résumé and cover letter-writing and interview skills, to the incredible annual career fair where students showcase their talent and practice to participate in future career fairs, every aspect of the program is exemplary. In my mind, SRA is truly the model for support of first-generation college students. More than just a cause worth supporting with donations and volunteer time (and it certainly is that!) — this organization provides real benefits to the community, including connecting brilliant talent to employers like mine. Thank you, SRA, for doing so well by your students and for working to improve the lives of those in the SF Bay Area!

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have worked as an advisor with SRA for the past 4 years, and as of now, my caseload is 26 students in various stages of their college career. I am motivated by my students to do whatever possible to help them reach their career and educational goals. They are focused, driven, passionate, and deserving of the support and encouragement that will help them reach their goals. SRA is consistently focused on the social, academic, and mental well-being of the students in their programs. The advisors and staff are dedicated, passionate professionals who really believe in the work they are doing. I have the privilege of interacting with my students and bearing witness to their incredible growth and success. I love this job and I am so grateful for the work SRA is doing to create positive change in our community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have worked with SRA in a number of capacities over the years - Hired interns, mentored and career workshops. At every step we are impressed by the commitment that SRA staff has to their students and by the dedication and caring given to each one. We have been delighted to watch the growth of particular interns over their assignment. It is a joy to see them flourish in a work environment.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is both an admirable, and EFFECTIVE non profit. They have impressed me with both the quality of their students and organizational efficiency. Before I had this years Intern from SRA I knew a friend and colleague who was an SRA Alumi. That friend of mine is a herself a fantastic talent and who truly has RISEN ABOVE her difficult home and educational circumstances. Nothing has held her back. So when SRA offered a candidate for my West Coast ServiceDesk Intern role I was interested to see who they had in mind. The candidate they provided was a stellar talent who delivered on all projects as well as day to day task. What this speaks to is both how my SRA Alumni friend was such a success story, and now the Intern who we were blessed to have was ALSO such a success story - this to me speaks volumes.

The depth to which SRA cares for and coaches their students is phenomenal to behold. I had the privilege this year of getting to know many leaders in the organization and each person I met was 100% committed to the coaching, personal development, college degree awarding and eventual employment of each student they accept. End to end success.

Students Rising Above changes lives.

Students Rising Above changed my heart with how they change lives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a current volunteer and mentor for Students Rising Above, and since I've joined their volunteer team, I've had nothing but amazing experiences. Heather, the Program Manager, is super organized and quick to communicate upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Their entire team of staff and volunteers are all truly dedicated to a common purpose, and it's apparent in everything they do -- from the mentoring program, to the workshops, to the annual gala. Throughout my past two years with this organization, I have seen the impact that SRA has had on hundreds of students. It is truly inspiring!! The mentoring program is more time intensive, as it requires one-on-one time with students in the program, and generally require a higher commitment on behalf of the mentors.But, there are a variety of one-day workshops where you can get involved without committing too much time. They have resume editors, one day interview prep workshops, a mock career fair, and an annual gala, that are all great ways to get involved with SRA while only taking one day of your time. If you have any interest in volunteering, I would definitely recommend this organization!

1 Jessica318

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered on and off with Students Rising Above for a number of years now. My volunteer activities have ranged from helping setup and serve guests at donor appreciation events to working one-on-one with students, preparing them for professional interviews. I always love the time I spend with the students at staff at Students Rising Above. The staff are bright, motivated and passionate about their work. The students are just extremely impressive. When I supported students in preparing for professional interviews, I just thought "I would love to hire these students when they are out of school!" It is clear that the supportive services that Students Rising Above provides their students allows these young leaders to achieve their dreams of graduating from college and pursuing a life of passion and impact.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I love the way how the mentors from the organization pick needy students staring from 11 th grade then help them through the maze of getting to college. They do not stop there but also help them through until they graduate.
I also do get to meet and see how my donation is making someone so happy for the opportunity that he or she would not be able to get by themselves.
I truly consider the Foundation for Students Rising Above is the best.
R. Sung

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a current sophomore in college and I was selected to be in SRA about 3 years ago. I knew this program was going to change my life and I was 100% correct. I have found my family here and the support I receive on a daily basis is a reminder of how grateful I am to be in SRA. I owe a lot to SRA and once I graduate and establish a solid career, I know I will find myself back into this program somehow. Shout out to everyone who believed in me and who keeps this organization going.

3 DCalhoun

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an incredible organization. Through SRA I've had the opportunity to meet with students from all over the Bay Area, hosting a space in a mock career fair, participating in informational interviews, introducing a student to the pr/advertising agency where I work, and more. As a first-generation college graduate and third-generation Latina, I understand where these students are coming from and I'm so thankful to SRA for giving me the chance to be a mentor and resource to these amazing students.

3 Ross7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SRA is a phenomenal end-to-end support program for Bay Area based, low-income, first generation high school students. Rather than simply providing funding for a small subset of students and sending them off to college without proper guidance, they focus on helping them develop the skills necessary to succeed in college, internships and future careers. This is clearly demonstrated by the 90% college completion rate, which is 9 times the national average for low-income, first generation college students. In addition, 80% of those students are in grad school or working in career ladder jobs within 12 months of graduating from college.

As a Social and Career mentor, I have been truly amazed by the students themselves but even more so by their achievements in the program. Despite the struggles and setbacks the students have had up to this point, SRA has and will continue to help these students overcome all odds so they can achieve their dreams and in turn help others achieve theirs.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above gave me the emotional and academic support to help achieve my dream to go to college! There is so much focus on the students and all the mentors, advisors, donors are amazing. I love talking about SRA like my other family, and I would be very confused and sad without SRA.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They provide a valuable service to economically challenged high school students, providing opportunities where none may have existed previously.

Through the support of SRA, hundreds of Bay Area students have the opportunity to attend college (very often the first in their families to do so).

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Beautiful organization. I love the mentorship aspect of SRA. You work closely with a senior and not only take them on excursions around the Bay Area, but also being them into your home and introduce them to your culture as well. My mentee became great friends with my daughter who attends a sister school. They had so much in common and even went to the same prom. The students come from varied backgrounds, but what they have in common is that their home life is not idea. These students have beat the odds and are graduating and doing amazing things. There is also a lot of support from the SRA staff; guiding you as a mentor, giving advice to the student and helping them with everything from college applications to housing.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above (SRA) is an organization that simply changed my life. SRA has turned a young boy into a fabulous man. Through them, students like myself are learning how to navigate through not only college, but the real world. SRA has been providing their students with the resources needed in order to create better and brighter futures for themselves and their families for years. I honestly believe, without them, i would be another statistic! Instead of being a statistic, i am a first generation college graduate. Thank you SRA for never giving up on me and my future. I owe you the world.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

SRA truly is a life changing non profit for those students who are in need and looking to overcome adversity. The support, guidance and love that they provide their students is incomparable and truly admirable. Without SRA and te support of the entire SRA staff, I wouldn't have been as successful as I was in college and as successful as I am today. I look up to my advisor and the entire staff as role models for they are examples of what makes a nonprofit organization so great and impactful in the greater community. I absolutely love SRA!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an exceptional organization that stands for a great cause. I am a student that has benefited from the help provided by the SRA advisers and mentors and am very grateful for their contributions to my education.

SRA aims to support low-income, high achieving students who have overcome obstacles in life. They make it possible for these young adults to graduate college and successfully enter the workforce. The services they offer such as counseling, health insurance, and financial assistance really make them a one-of-a-kind organization that deserves praise.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in the graduating class of 2010, and I must say, the Students Rising Above foundation has made a true imprint in my heart that will last a lifetime. The people who work for this organization are impacting the community one student at a time, and doing so exponentially. It is because of the guidance and strength of SRA, I found the courage to rise above my situation, and conquer my dreams as the first in my family to graduate from college. Just knowing that they were there supporting me was the push I needed to be the star they always knew I was.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a mentor at SRA for 2 years and it is the most enjoyable volunteer job I've ever done! The students are terrific people who have overcome obstacles and have a special spark of altruism and compassion for others. This makes my job easy; I make a young friend and she enjoys the support of an elder who believes in her. This in itself, is ample satisfaction for me, but there's more. The management of SRA is well-organized. The details of the events are tended to and management is generous with gratitude to all who participate. It means a lot that I am thanked for my efforts. Also, they are careful with donations, making sure each dollar is spent wisely. For this reason I feel good about donating to SRA as well. I see my efforts and donations as an investment in the future. A college degree equips these promising young people to support themselves and help their families and communities. They are tomorrow's leaders and they give me much hope for the future.

2 Gerardo Z.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SRA is a wonderful and very successful organization. Going into my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to apply to and attend college, but SRA helped me to turn those dreams into a reality. SRA provided all of the support I needed and then some. The college application process is stressful. SRA understands this and provided guidance throughout. After I was admitted to Yale university, SRA didn't leave me to fend for myself. They provided books, clothing, bedroom essentials, a laptop, transportation, and even a discretionary stipend. Throughout my time at Yale, I kept in touch with an SRA mentor often (at least weekly!). We discussed grades, classes, and they helped me navigate all aspects of college during all four years. Not only that, during the summers I worked with knowledgeable SRA career mentors who helped me craft a stellar resume, apply for and land internships and ultimately a dream job after college. To say that SRA far exceeds my expectations is an understatement. SRA does an incredible job of selecting a community of students and scholars who have inspiring strength of character, an incredible work ethic, and a proven track record of success and overcoming tremendous obstacles. I am always inspired by my peer SRA students and I am happy to write this positive review for the SRA program.

2 Thay

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am thrilled to be a volunteer at SRA. The organization gives me the opportunity to do what matters to me - to help individual students who have intelligence and drive, but are lacking the access, exposure, and confidence they need to be successful in college and early in their careers. I particularly want to help empower young women and SRA gives me a chance to be an ongoing mentor and as needed career advisor to young women who don't have the same opportunities I had when I was a young person in college and early in my career.

I am so impressed by the impact this organization makes on student's lives. The staff integrates learning from experiences of the students, mentors, advisors, and all involved on a regular basis. This has resulted in a formula that supports the success of each and every student. The results speak for themselves, with 90% of its students graduating from college and 80% of them in careers or grad school within 9 months of graduation.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has changed my life in so many ways.

I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and immigrated to Pakistan at a young age. When I moved to America with my family in 2003 at the age of 10, I had very little education under my belt and couldn't speak much English. Slowly but surely I was able to catch up on everything I had missed and was offered a full-time scholarship from a college prep school.

Going to college was not only a dream but a necessity for me because I knew how much of a difference it would make. SRA helped me achieve that goal by providing financial and emotional support. I feel blessed to be a part of the SRA family because the mentors, advisers, and all the other students in the program are a constant force of motivation.

I recently graduated college and job a right away in my field. I love the work I do and couldn't imagine myself being where I am today if I hadn't come across Students Rising Above. Thank you so much!

2 Jim_145

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Mentor with SRA for about 2 years. The greatest gifts that SRA has given me have been the quality of the relationships and the interactions with the students. The connections with the students, especially in my role as a mentor, have been truly meaningful and have only grown over time....it's just a special community, all around. I also was able to hire a fantastic SRA student at my last company which was a great Win/Win!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a mentor for SRA students, and the experience is truly inspiring. The students are highly motivated, courageous, positive, eager to learn and appreciative, and I feel that I get as much out of the mentorship as the students. Highlights for me as a mentor include taking two students on a weekend hiking trip to Lake Tahoe, having a student accompany me on a business trip to Seattle, attending the annual Gala fundraiser event with my students and my daughter (who will also be signing up to be a mentor), celebrating high school graduation and recognition in a Hispanic students high school awards ceremony, helping my student move into her college dorm room, having my work colleagues mingle with my student during job shadowing events, and just sharing our lives over dinner or a walk. Students Rising Above is a class act, an extremely well-run organization. Looking forward to getting matched with my 3rd student soon!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a first time mentor and have been involved in career development and attended fundraising events. The students are completely inspiring, the staff is professional, dedicated and talented and the volunteers and benefactors are warm and engaged. The best thing I can say about SRA is that it really, truly works. So many success stories in each class, and the effect is compounding. SRA is breaking the cycle

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SRA has become our favorite charity!!! We discovered them a couple years ago, wanting to make a difference in a young person's life who needed help with a college education and shows a tenacity to learn and set goals. When we discovered most of the funds donated actually go to the needs of the student, we were convinced! We are so impressed with their mentor ship program, and have recently decided to become mentors as well!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above (SRA) is a life changing organization. They focus on helping first generation college students break the cycle of poverty within a household and also provide the students with a new outlook on life. SRA provides every kid with a mentor for just some fun times, an academic coach to help them through the college process, and a team encouraging the students. Some of the kids that go through the program have difficult stories but SRA is right there to help, guide, support and nurture them through everything! This is a great organization!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an inspirational Organization focused on identifying students with personal hardships that through their daily adversity show a tremendous aptitude and will to go on to higher education. I have had the privilege to mentor a student that is now in his first year of college.

1 Ben_34

Client Served

Rating: 5

Without Students Rising Above I honestly I have no idea where I'd be right now. In a time when I felt like giving up, SRA made me realize that was not an option. SRA has been with me every step of the way through college so far and they've provided me with so many opportunities. The students and staff as a whole have motivated me beyond quantifiable terms to do and be the best I can be.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

It is nearly impossible to overstate just how life-changing Students Rising Above is for the people it serves. SRA is a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, college readiness, and financial assistance to low-income high school students who have overcome incredible odds in pursuit of a college education. SRA often helps students who are most at risk of falling between the cracks of the American education system. But beyond helping otherwise underserved students successfully transition into college, SRA also immensely benefits low-income families, communities, and society at large because of the educational and professional opportunities, development, and knowledge SRA offers its participants. Students who graduate college with the help of SRA encourage other low-income students to pursue college and share their life skills and knowledge with their families and community. SRA students are often focused on helping others rise out of poverty which lead to careers in health, public service, law, and education. This cycle improves the lives of all those around SRA participants and alumni for years to come.

Currenty, I am working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, three years after finishing SRA. For the next two years, I will be teaching English at a rural high school to students who will face many health, financial, and educational obstacles in reaching college or even completing high school. My job will be to instill a love of learning in English (because unfortunately and counter intuitively, the language of instruction in Tanzanian secondary schools is English) in Tanzanian students so that they may pass national exams, go to college, and break the vicious cycle of poverty present in Tanzania. My ability to cultivate the strength and compassion to confront world poverty and education issues in a new country is due singlehandedly to SRA. Through SRA, I met both a wonderful pair of encouraging and resourceful mentors who are now like family to me as well as a support network of young people who had experienced similar challenges to me. Making these connections helped me realize that I was never alone in the struggle for a higher quality of life. I am a stronger, wiser, and more well-rounded citizen because of the education SRA helped me to complete, and as a result, I am now able to give back and help others break through their own poverty ceiling through education.

SRA took a logistical weight off of my shoulders when it came to college admittance. Any questions I had, guidance I needed, or doubts I harboured with respect to college, SRA saw me through. Whereas many people's families support them through college, SRA students' families are often unable or without the resources and knowledge to do so. SRA has identified and begun to address a fundamental hole in the achievement gap where so many students typically fall behind with no hope of catching up, but SRA can't do this work without the prioritization, volunteerism, and financial support of others. Take note of SRA and visit the website to view some of the inspiring students' stories. It is an organization the merits all the support in the world.

Thanks for bettering my world, and so many others', SRA. Here I am, across the world, trying to pay it forward.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an inspirational Organization focused on identifying students with personal hardships that through their daily adversity show a tremendous aptitude and will to go on to higher education. I have had the privilege to mentor a student that is now in his second year of college and have watched him grow in his determination to distance himself from the negative elements of his life and to be focused on how he can be a successful member of the work force. The fact that SRA is locally based, focusing on kids in the local community differentiates them from many other nonprofits

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above (SRA) has opened so many doors of opportunity for me! As a young Black man growing up in the inner-city of San Francisco in an area that's filled with poverty and crime it was very difficult to see life beyond the neighborhood in which I resided, until I became apart of SRA. During my time with SRA my mindset began to transform. I was able to cultivate new skills and tools that would prepare me for life in order to now empower my neighborhood and communities of-the-like.

Throughout my affiliation with Students Rising Above I was able to attend and graduate from the #1 public university in the nation as a student-athlete at UC Berkeley, I gained valuable professional skills from multiple internships, I was able to build invaluable relationships with mentors and professionals, and I was able to participate in a prestigious national leadership training program called Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.

The investment from partners and supporters of Students Rising Above is what keeps it thriving & effective. Since joining SRA back in 2008 I am amazed to see how much impact they are creating for youth in the Bay Area region and how much they have grown since my time as a participant. Now as a SRA alum, I look forward to continue supporting SRA and seeing it continue to grow.

Donor

Rating: 5

As an educator, I think this organization is absolutely fantastic resource for underprivileged Bay Area students. I was so impressed with the student stories and the efforts of SRA, I am now both a donor and a volunteer mentor for two students. I can't say enough good things about the people involved and how the success of so many students happened because of SRA.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been so impressed by the work that SRA does. My son is married to a woman who was supported by this organization through college and now works for them. I have seen and heard about what good work they do. This is truly an organization that helps students who truly want and deserve the opportunity to go to college and life's circumstances were not there to have it happen until SRA showed up in their lives. The courage and drive of the organization is there to match that of the students who are truly rising above the circumstances that they grew up in.

Hung L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

An incredibly impactful organization because it helps students who come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (when I say disadvantaged, I mean no parents, group homes, foster children, around drugs, gangs, abuse 24/7, extremely impoverished). These students that apply for SRA have made the decision themselves that they want a better life. They are self-motivated to succeed and SRA helps by giving them the tools and platform to do so. It's not an organization that gives fish but teaches to fish -- the most impactful kind

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has been such an amazing program, that I have been blessed to be a part of. It has provided not only the resources but the guidance I needed to be successful in my college admission process. I am also looking forward to participating in Student Rising Above for the next three years.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are many organizations that focus on advancing educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth, however the thing that attracted me to Students Rising Above is the breadth of their program and their desire to give students all the tools to be successful - getting into college, graduating from college and finding jobs. The students are wonderful and really embrace all of the opportunities SRA offers them - coaching, interviewing workshops, internships and mentorships. It is very inspiring to meet these young students and to support them through their journey!

Anastasia N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a recipient of Students Rising Above from the age of 16 until I graduated from University. I had a rough start to life. My family struggled financially and we ended up homeless until I was placed into foster care. I remained strong academically, but didn't know how I would (realistically) get into and let alone pay for and graduate from college.

Students Rising Above made it possible for me. Among other things, they paid for me to take an SAT training course, helped me with the complicated financial aid forms and college applications, gave me a laptop, helped to support me financially and emotionally, and with the transition from university to career.

I now have a degree in Economics and a Masters in Finance. I work in the Tech industry with a promising career and a future better than anyone with have expected from a foster kid.

Now I want to give back by volunteering with the organization, but there is no way I can ever re-pay what the organization and all the wonderful people in it, have done for me :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became a mentor in fall of 2010 for SRA, and my life hasn't been the same since. I met Charleen my mentee who has become an important part of my life, and has inspired me on so many levels. SRA has been a constant presence in Charleen's life, helping her with funds during emergencies, academic advising support during the school year, and activities to share together. She always speaks of SRA with pride, and the program has been instrumental to her success getting into college (with two full ride scholarships!) and excelling at Berkeley. I can't speak highly enough about the professionalism and powerful spirit of SRA organization.

1 Chetuan S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first volunteered to work on the Gala Committee 3 years ago. My experience was so positive, that last year I became a Mentor. Students Rising Above ("SRA") is an outstanding organization that not only assists talented youth with financial support needed for college, but also with academic guidance and emotional support necessary for the successful matriculation from college, and well beyond. The time I have spent on the Gala Committee, as well as with my student, has been wonderful and I highly recommend this organization. Chetuan L. Shaffer

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with SRA for 7 yrs. This is a terrific program assisting motivated, sharp, interesting kids to achieve their educational aspirations by supporting them in all the most important ways. Many, many success stories are testament to the organization's great work. I have mentored three students-two are graduates of Brown and both are now teaching and traveling. This is the program where volunteers will feel a personal connection to the students and see rewards for involvement!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What makes Students Rising Above exceptional is that their commitment to students' success extends well beyond college scholarship. They realize that in addition to financial aid, disadvantaged youth need a robust network of support including mentors, health care, and college/career advisors to achieve their educational goals and find their professional path. I feel honored to have contributed to this compassionate and results oriented effort. All of the people I have met through this organization have been wonderful.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above (SRA) has a small but extremely dedicated and hardworking administrative team – I can’t believe the amount of work they do, putting on their various fundraising events throughout the year, including the Gala in the spring and the GRADWalk in the summer.

I’ve volunteered at SRA’s annual Gala for over 5 years now, which is always an incredible event because it features the heartwarming and, many times, heartbreaking stories of the students they serve. Many of these students have been through so much, and yet are doing well in school, recognizing how important a good education is for their futures. I've also volunteered at all 3 GRADWalks, which is a really fun 5K walkathon in Golden Gate Park, with lots of SRA students participating. After the walk, SRA honors their high school and college graduates for the current year.

It's been impressive to see SRA's growth over the time I've been volunteering -- this year they've got 100 new students in the program! I heartily recommend SRA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SRA is a wonderful organization that changes the lives of the students that they assist. They are able to guide the students through the college application process, financial aid applications as well as the painful process of choosing the best college fit. Advisors help with the process above and volunteer mentors enrich the students' lives with activities, new experiences and sometime the simple gift of a caring listener.

During the summer the mentors, advisors and staff help the students prepare for college by shopping together for dorm room supplies, setting up their new computers and giving seminars on college life, financial planning and much, much more.

The greatest attribute of this program is that the needs and success of the student are always the first priority.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above(SRA) is an excellent organization serving at-risk students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their mission statement compelled me to become a part of their group of dedicated individuals focused on assisting youth achieve their goals. SRA provides the comfort, knowledge and resources the youth need to overcome their environment while developing skills to create a successful career and become a positive member of our society. This has been a very rewarding and heartfelt opportunity for me as I witnessed a student mature as she prepared for college. BHuds

Donor

Rating: 5

SRA invests in low-income, first generation college students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to education and strength of character in overcoming tremendous odds of poverty. SRA help each student to realize his or her potential by guiding and supporting them through college graduation, and into the workforce. These are areas I struggled with through my college years. I feel greatly impressed that this type of organization is working hard to make a difference. I felt great to donate money to support this causse.

Advisor

Rating: 5

SRA gives student's the tools to get accepted and succeed during college. SRA reaches out to student's who have such potential but haven't had the influence or oppurtunities in their lives. SRA also helps students choose schools that offer them the best academic oppurtinities and the schools that will cost little to no debt so they won't be haunted by it in their post college years that most of us have to deal with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above invests in low-income, first generation college students who have demonstrated a deep commitment to education and strength of character in overcoming tremendous odds of poverty, homelessness, and neglect. SRA help each student to realize his or her potential by guiding and supporting them through college graduation, and into the workforce. One of the ways SRA help each student is by pairing them with a mentor....my husband and I are mentors to an amazing young woman, Meagan, who is starting her Freshman year at UC Santa Cruz. Meagan is truly a Student Rising Above and we are so honored to be with her on her journey!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Nearly a year ago, I was seated on a flight from SFO to Boston. It was a long flight and I immediately struck up a conversation with my rowmate. After sharing many stories, she mentioned "you should be a mentor." I was flattered, but didn't really know how to respond. After a couple of hours (and more stories), she made the same comment. So, I asked "what exactly do you mean?" She went on to tell me about Students Rising Above (she was a volunteer and board member) and I was so moved. An organization so targeted and focused was very appealing to me! I was immediately sold and wanted to get involved. When I settled in to my hotel room, I called my husband and said "Honey, guess what we're going to get to do?" Fast forward to today, we are mentors with SRA and we're getting ready to throw an 18th birthday party for our student! The opportunity to share in the life of a hopeful youth is the gift SRA gives to me and my husband! Forever grateful!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SRA is an amazing program that provides an arm of academic support and also personal support for students.

SRA has an amazing academic advisor team that is extremely helpful in guiding the students through college applications and the decision making process.

On the other hand I have had the opportunity to be a part of the mentorship program where I got to be the fun, light side of things.
It's clear that they care very much about making sure the mentor/mentee relationships are meaningful by investing a lot of time into preparing the mentors and mentees separately before they meet and setting expectations for both sides.

The whole team is very sweet and supportive, also organizing get togethers for mentors to hear from one another.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for Students Rising Above in a small way but that is due to a lack of time. I choose my volunteer activities very carefully and I have found SRA to be a very worthwhile cause. I recently had the
chance to attend their fundraising event and was very impressed. mainly with the kids that benefit from the donations and how they give back.

Sumat L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a current student of the program. By the end of this year, I will have graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor's in Anthropology and a Minor in Spanish. The opportunities afforded to me in college were largely possible because of the Students Rising Above Program. The program served me from senior year and applying to colleges all the way to my final year of college, offering me guidance, support (educational and emotional/personal), a bit of financial aid, mentorship, and a network. Most importantly of all, they gave me a second family to count on and an amazing resource to use that would otherwise not have enabled me to do the things I have done, from great internships to an amazing experience spent abroad. The SRA helps those who have overcome much to find their path and eventually their dreams in life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about SRA many years ago. I started volunteering through National Charity League, a mother daughter volunteer organization. When my daughter left for college, I began independently volunteering for SRA. I have experienced many different volunteer jobs there. I am on the gala committee, I have worked with students writing resumes and I mentor two SRA students. The thing that I really appreciate about SRA is that whether you are donating time or money, you have the opportunity to talk with the students, get to know them and see just what a life changing experience your donation is providing for them. With all this interaction available, when you do become involved, you also have a life changing experience. Now that is really golden.

Polly M.

Advisor

Rating: 5

For the past five years, I have been an Advisor with the program. As of this writing, I am responsible for 26 students all at various levels of matriculation through college. This spring, five of my first group of high school seniors (Class of 2009) will be graduating with their bachelor's degrees. I am SO PROUD of all of our students and am overcome with gratitude for what SRA provides for them, and for the genuine respect and honor they provide to SRA and to me. I never had any children of my own; SRA has been the perfect place for my maternal longings! What I love the most is when i hear a student say "SRA is like family" because to me, they are. If that is how the students feel, then I have done the most important part of my job. I am in consistent awe of the fortitude, persistency and achievement of our students, despite so many obstacles in their young lives.

Jennifer189

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about SRA after a 30 minute television program and immediately after I watched it, I think I called, emailed and filled out a form online to apply to be a mentor. It was one of the best decisions I've made! This is my first year as a mentor and it's been incredible! Here is what my student wrote just last night......."This experience is truly one of a kind..... From my background, I have never received what you have given me, which is to have a person to talk to when I need guidance, someone who invests time in me and I greatly appreciate all that time you take out of your work to spend with me as I know you work very hard." People will say, "you are changing her life" when the truth is, she is changing mine. I may live to be 100 years old and not remember my own name, but I will promise you i will NEVER forget that email. I have 2 words to describe SRA. Life changing!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is GREAT! My sister is currently in College because this program has helped her to follow her dreams and get the best education possible. There are thousands of students that get an opportunity to shine because of this program. Not only does this help the student but also helps their family in seeing their children progress and continue to a brighter future. Student Rising Above to me is part of our family we have been very blessed to have them help my sister get one of the best things in life EDUCATION. Thank you so much! From: The Razo Family :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. Despite struggling throughout my life to find stability, my mentors and friends from SRA have been just that. I know they are always an email, text, or phone call away. They have helped me through college tremendously, both physically and mentally, and I couldn't imagine where I could possibly be today without them. The whole organization itself is amazing!