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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

108 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

Tammy28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had always wanted to be a Mentor and it wasn't until I was introduced to SRA that I knew I found the right organization. I was so impressed with them from the initial Gala that I attended to the Mentor/Mentee selection to the training. They are an incredible organization that does incredible things. It is a privilege to be a part of the SRA family. I wish there were more organizations like them.

Sean8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been nothing but impressed with this organization from the first moment I became involved with them. From SRA's cause through to their executiton, they excel at making sure nothing is wasted, from time to money, and that everything they do serves the bigger purpose of helping as many bay area kids achieve their higher education goals as possible. SRA's growth and track record of success speak for themselves. It is a privledge to be able to lend a helping hand alongside such a dedicated and selfless organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the last 6 years, I've had the privilege of mentoring two students through SRA. The organization has provided wisdom throughout its program, supporting and guiding mentors and students all along the process - from college prep in high school through college graduation. Rarely have I had such a fulfilling experience as a volunteer and/or mentor as the one I've had with SRA.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Compared to most nonprofits, Students Rising Above excels due to its personalized service to each student and the passion and inspiration exhibited by the entire organization.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above in the San Francisco Bay Area is a unique nonprofit which focuses on providing disadvantaged students a comprehensive 5+ years support program of academic guidance and emotional support. I have been privileged to be a mentor to 3 of these extraordinary students rising above over the last 4 years. In my experience, I have watched these students change from quiet, ambitious and hopeful high school juniors into mature, confident and successful college students. With the support of SRA's expertise in navigating the college application and admissions process, our students are able to reach their goals of a college education. Once they are settled in their new college, SRA stays in touch and supports them with mentoring, medical and dental support, internship guidance, and emotional support. The individualized attention our students receive is reflected in the high graduation rate. All three of my students are thriving in their respective colleges and are confidently looking forward to their post graduate plans. It has been an honor to be involved in their lives and watch them blossom into such remarkable young adults.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a recipient of the scholarship and it forever changed my life. It probably is one of the best things that's every happened to me and has shaped into a successful individual. Not only do I have great lifetime mentors through the organization, but the Foundation has instilled a need for me to impact others the way it has with me. Being an alumni of the program, I'm still very involved with the organization but as a giver not a receiver. I work a ton of hours a week, at Visa Inc. (where SRA helped me obtain the job after college during a time when all my friends couldn't find a job), and I gladly spend my personal time volunteering with SRA. The dedication of the people in this organization is extraordinary. They are incredibly driven to expand their reach and evolve their programs to benefit the recipients. Also, what SRA does is quite extraordinary and I have not seen any other equivalent nonprofit of its kind. It support for students is very well rounded. It supplies financial support, emotional support through mentors and advisers, career/internship placement at large renounced organizations such as Wells Fargo, the Marriott, AAA, etc. and medical and dental assistance for as long as a student is in a 4 year college. That's incredible.

Rich V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Because of SRA I am proud to say that I mentor a young man who is excelling at Colby-Sawyer college with a full scholarship he earned. Last week I was able to visit him while on a business trip, it was so refreshing see him doing so well in an academic environment.

Lisa142

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer mentor and career coach, I have witnessed first-hand how Students Rising Above supports at-risk, under-represented youth to overcome tremendous obstacles by helping these young people to pursue their education and to often be the first in their family to obtain a college degree. The people involved in SRA are smart and passionate about this mission, as 90 % of SRA students graduate from college which is twice the national graduation success rate for low-income, first generation college students. Additionally, the care, respect and support that SRA provides to these young people shows in the tremendous success, inspiration and generosity that these young adults show in return to the organization, our communities (85% of SRA students give back through on-going community service) and to the world. Supporting SRA helps to develop and support compassionate future leaders and world problem solvers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is a fantastic organization that's really making a difference. It's my first year volunteering with the program but the staff is very dedicated and organized and it's been a great experience so far. The students are all very appreciative of volunteers' time and it's wonderful to know how much of an impact you're making. I will absolutely recommend SRA to friends looking to get involved.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a new volunteer with Students Rising Above, I am repeatedly amazed by the amount of effort that everyone in the organization puts towards making sure that these very deserving high school students 1) get accepted to a good college and 2) are successful there. SRA is so well-organized and well-run: although I have been involved with many nonprofits through the years, this is the one that has made the greatest impact on me. I think it also makes the greatest impact on the students it serves. I can't rate this organization highly enough.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

kareny

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Ed Smith-Lewis

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Miranda3

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is hands down the best non profit serving youth in the Bay Area. this organization made it possible for me to live my dream of going to college without having to stress about the financial woes of paying for college. The organization was very caring, loving and supportive throughout my entire 6 years of college and always made me feel like they were not only my supporters but like they were my second family. A family that I can always count on for advice, assistance in the after college part of life as well as having a network of successful people who care. Students Rising above is an amazing organization and deserves the utmost recognition when it comes to honoring non profits. I love them and everything that they stand for and always will.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has literally saved my life. When I did not have anywhere to go in 2004, with no way to pay for or get to school (which was in Maryland), SRA took care of me like a loving parent. They offer counseling, emotional as well as financial support, and have great resources.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As someone who grew up in poverty at a very young, I knew all to well what it is like to not have and wish for something more. I never imagined going to college until certain circumstances in my life occurred. My life hasn't always been the easiest and I have faced very tough and challenging circumstances, some that would make a lot of people want to give up and not continue pressing on. When I finally did go off to college with Students Rising Above in my corner I never could have imagined how much an organization could have cared about the once homeless young woman, now going off to college. I faced a lot of adversity during my college years and throughout my life, but I am forever grateful and indebted to SRA and all of the advisors, menotors, board members, and volunteers who have always kept a hand in my life and the other hand on my heart. This organization has helped me more than I could have ever imagined and no thanks in the world is enough to show my appreciation to it. To all of the advisors, board members, mentors, and volunteers, I just would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and let you know that you have forever changed my life and you do make a difference.

With all my love,

Evita Yarborough

Donor

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is such a unique and truly inspiring organization. While tuition assistance is available for low income/high potential students, it is daunting for many to consider how they will afford to travel to school, where will the basic necessities come from and who will guide them through this "off to college" process. For many of the wonderful SRA students there is not a parent in their life....for others the parent is not able to be a resource. Through it's amazing volunteer mentors and very specifically targeted grants, SRA is able to help these fantastic students who have worked so hard to overcome their challenges. The high school student who is accepted into SRA's "class" will have the support and resources that they need (beyond tuition) to make their college experience a success. Their life will be changed forever.

Tracy H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an honor and a joy to have had the opportunity to volunteer for Students Rising Above over the past two years. It is so refreshing to see an organization that gets in and gets such important things done for a group of kids that is so deserving. I am certain that the work this organization is doing will deeply enrich the lives of the young people they are supporting but even more importantly, every single one of the exceptional young people helped by this organization will go on to truly enrich the communities we all live in. SRA students are an amazing, inspirational group of young people. If you ever have a chance to get involved with this group I recommend it 100%.

Donor

Rating: 5

After learning about Students Rising Above from Wendy Tokuda on a TV segment in 2004, we decided this program makes a difference in young peoples' lives and ultimately in society. Since 1/2005 and our first contribution, we have continued to make Students Rising Above a part of our monthly giving. After seeing first hand, the difference this program makes, we decided to increase our monthly contribution. We are pleased to support a program which makes such a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was able to see Student's Rising Above's impact through a friend in the program and have been volunteering for two years since, and will continue to do so.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This summer my company was able to hire three college students from Students Rising Above for a summer internship. The quality of the interns was outstanding. They were smart, eager to help, and anxious to learn about the workplace. The experience for myself and my co-workers was terrific and the students got some valuable insights into the workplace. This was organized and monitored closely by SRA, helping to make it a success.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became interesting in Students Rising Above several years ago after watching a profile of a high school senior done by Wendy Tokuda as a news feature. The student was Student Body President at his high school. There were no parents in his life and he was living with and supporting a younger sister while getting straight As in school and preparing to go to college. I was so impressed with this kid that I contacted Wendy to find out more about him. She responded with a very detailed email and let me know that the response to her series of these profiles had triggered an upswell of people wanting to meet and help these students. This is how Students Rising Above got off the ground. I had never volunteered with any organization before, but I wanted to check this out. I found that the people running the organization were highly professional and dedicated. I also found that the overhead of the organization was minimal and that the vast majority of the funds raised went to helping the students get into college. I was also drawn to the fact that the students were highly motivated and had something within themselves that made them realize they had only one life and they wanted to take a path that would elevate them out of their difficult situation. I have been volunteering my time to SRA for about 5 years providing mostly background services for the annual fund raising dinner and auction. Two years ago I was able to take on an additional role of "mentoring" one of the students. That has given me an opportunity to have more direct contact with some of the students. This experience has enriched me more than the students.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above has made an incredible impact on the students lives, volunteers who give and receive so much back, and the communities where we all live. Students Rising Above and those who work, volunteer, and contribute financially are making an investment in people and in our future together. This is about community, helping each other, caring and building successful partnerships that are resulting in long lasting changes in young peoples lives.

As a mentor I see the hope of these young people in their eyes and feel it in their hearts. These students already have done so much for themselves through their own determination, hard work, and personal vision for the future. Students Rising Above honors them for this and recognizes that they deserve the support, both financial and personal guidance that most do not have. Students Rising Above is a group of caring people who extend their hands and hearts out to these students and share in the joy of seeing great things happen in their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering my time with Students Rising Above for nearly 2 years. I have been extremely impressed from day 1 with the organization and execution of SRA's mission. The students who benefit from the existence of this program are more than deserving. The determination, intelligence and confidence these students posses is rare. This is what separates SRA from many other programs with similar goals. SRA students are truly the leaders of tomorrow, and SRA's graduates are proof. From the top down, this organization is unique and necessary. The professionalism and compassion shown by the executive team, the advisory team and the volunteers is not only exemplary, it's contagious!

Lorna C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cannot express my gratitude enough for all that this organization has done for me in my life. They provided me with the guidance, the support, and the hope to make it to and through college. This organization truly cares about its students. It holds a strong compassion for working closely on an individual basis to ensure that each and every student has all their basic needs met, and helps them find their inner strengths to succeed and transition through every phase into adulthood, regardless of the struggles and challenges they may face, either at home, or in their present moment.

Help support SRA, they are making a difference in our communities, and in the lives of many young adults who have come face to face with adversity. They are changing lives, and creating leaders of tomorrow.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteer for SRA events and I've had the privilege of meeting a number of students over the years. What strikes me most about SRA is that they really care and want these young adults to not only succeed through college, but through life as well. SRA's impact on the lives of their students is immeasurable, and it's the people who make the difference. I have been selected to be a mentor this year, and I know this experience will have a positive impact on my life as well. I can't wait!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Christopher Pulu. I was born in Oakland, CA and come from a family of seven. I graduated from Oakland High School in June of 2009. I am currently a freshman at the University of La Verne and I am majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Music. How did I get there? I didn't know anything about SRA but I was able to take this journey with the help of SRA by my side. It started my junior year where I was presented with a golden opportunity. I was doing what every high school student tries to achieve and that was to get good grades. I didn’t think much of it at first because I thought that this was what we were supposed to do. I never thought about college really. My main goal was to get a job and help my family live a stable life. A stable life seemed impossible because of all the adversity that just hit my family and I constantly. It was a never-ending roller coaster. My eldest sister got into a grave-car accident that caused her to become completely paralyzed from the head down. She was unable to walk, talk, or eat like a normal person. She passed away in 2003. Soon after, my father was diagnosed with type-two diabetes and passed away due to a heart attack in 2007. Being the second oldest, I not only had to acquire the responsibilities of being the eldest, but the role of being man of the house. There was no time for dreaming about college because the welfare of my family became my first priority. Unlike many other teens that were my age, I had to be an adult at a young age. I had to deal with bills, food, figuring out who will pick up my siblings, worrying about where they were at all times, etc. I did all of this on top of my studies. After my father passed away, my teachers requested that I see the school’s life coach advisor, Mrs. Clark, who specialized in the bereavement process. She was the extra support students have during the mourning process to assist them to stay on top of schoolwork. She also provided other resources to the family like programs for reducing bill payments. This helped lift the burden off my shoulder and eased the pain I was experiencing. I visited her once a week and got straight A’s that whole school year. Mrs. Clark looked for students who fit the SRA requirements and luckily for me I was the only one who qualified. So I decided to apply. I didn’t know what I was applying to exactly. According to my mom, everything you sign is a scam. So I was a bit skeptical. Now that I am in college, SRA is the best thing that has ever happened in my life. The reason why my story is relevant is because they took the time to listen when no one else would. There were days I wanted to break down and cry, but I had to compose myself to show my family that I was staying strong for them. I had to build up this wall to hide how I was actually feeling inside. No one understood me. I developed the thought that someone else out there was struggling far worse than I was. Although that may have been true, SRA helped me realize that everyone has their own stories that impacts their lives at the point in there time and this was my story. Students Rising Above is my second family. Being a first generation college student in my family, I would be clueless to finding out the ropes on how to complete a college career successfully. SRA has provided me with the resources necessary to get a head start in the right direction. They provided funding for books, college apps, registration fee, housing fee, laptop, dorm supplies, and so much more. Besides the financial aspect that any scholarship provides, they also provide mentors and advisors. I have the best advisor ever and her name is Marisol Curiel. Marisol is like my older sister. She has put up with all the bad luck I have with trying to start with college. If there is one major thing that SRA has provided me with, that is that they will stay by your side no matter what obstacles may come your way. Their goal is that you make and complete a college education. Life as a freshman is awesome. I am currently the Senator at Large for my university. I am in the process of being initiated into a Music Honors fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon. I am very active in college and that is because I have the time to do things I actually enjoy. Had I been stuck at home, I would not be able to experience this one in a lifetime opportunity. My journey with SRA does not end once I graduate. I hope to become rich and donate money to fund more scholars as well as invest my time in mentoring the students. Students Rising Above has molded me into the best that I could be and because of that; I want to continue the cycle. I can go on and on about how wonderful SRA is but I have to go back to my studies. So if this wasn’t enough to convince you on how wonderful the Students Rising Above program is, than feel free to email me with your questions at Christopher.pulu@laverne.edu. I LOVE SRA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi! I was introduced to this program by my sister who was actively involved in SRA. She kept telling me what a great organization it was so I agreed to attend one of their gala events a little over a year ago. I was so impressed by what I saw and heard at the gala that I found myself announcing that I would like to become an SRA mentor! I think I was taken most by how sincerely appreciative the kids are. They just seemed to "get it." So, before I knew it, I was signed up and assigned to mentor a young woman from San Francisco and I met her almost a year ago in October of '09. I have to say I was a little bit nervous and didn't really know how it would all work out given the differences in our background, but it's been a great experience for me and I think I've been able to provide a little bit of help to a young woman who is an amazing person in every way. I have to say that I've grown to really love her like she were my own and I think she will be in my life for many years to come. In addition, I've been able to observe the effectiveness of the SRA program close up through her experience and I must say, it is extremely impressive. They do a GREAT job with these kids, who otherwise I'm sure would not be at all properly directed. The kids are guided through their senior year in high school by the SRA counselors to make sure they get their college applications in completed and on time and they really assist them with that entire process. My student was successfully accepted into several colleges and then it was just a matter of helping her select the right one for her...which is where I got to play a role. She's now safely tucked in at the college of her choice and is experiencing her freshman year like any other kid...having a great time, going away to school, leaving home for the first time, and dealing with all of the changes and experiences that come with going away to college! She's the first in her family to attend college which is a great source of pride to her and to her granny! I love this program. The kids really do appreciate the assistance they are receiving, and the program actually works! SRA's graduation rates far exceed the average for this demographic. So, one student at a time, we slowly change the world!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I know a great number of wonderful organizations, but Students Rising Above (SRA) has made the biggest impact on my life. SRA provides scholarships and support to low income students in the Bay Area. Not only does their program help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds pay for college, but SRA covers other costs associated with college that would normally be covered by parents, such as flights to and from school, books, and medical costs. The program provides workshops on interview skills, cover letter writing, and even proper dinning etiquette. In addition, SRA has a mentor program in which each student is assigned a mentor who supports that student until they graduate (however long it takes). My mentor, Lisa, has been a constant support person through the ups and downs of college. Last September, I was chosen as one of the Top-Ten College Women by Glamour Magazine and in May I became one of the fewer than five percent of former foster youth to go on to graduate college. I simply would have made it this far without SRA and my SRA mentor Lisa. Please support SRA in any way you can. This organization truly makes a difference in the lives of the students serves.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above is an outstanding organization that provides underprivileged and motivated high school juniors the valuable opportunity to apply for and attend college. The SRA model provides a solid and consistent support system – financial, mentor and advisor relationships, healthcare coordination, workshops – without which, matriculating into college is mostly a dream. Equally fantastic, is the graduation success rate (90%) for these students compared to the national average. There are many heartwarming and inspiring success stories of SRA participants who “rise above”, finish college and deservingly go on to productive lives. Behind all this is an amazingly dedicated, involved and giving staff that make this organization such a success and pleasure to be associated with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to hear about Students Rising Above from a friend a few years ago. Education has always been important to me, so it was a great fit from the start. After participating in the planning process for the annual Gala fundraising event, I was able to meet some of the students and hear their stories firsthand at the event itself. It was such a moving experience, and solidified my commitment to the organization. Meeting the students and seeing them interact with their advisors and mentors, it becomes very clear that the success of Students Rising Above stems from the fact that it is so much more than a scholarship program. It is the ongoing support, encouragement and resources available to these students that make all the difference.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been involved with SRA for 1/2 dozen years, and for most of that time as a member of the Board of Directors. As a Board Member, I have been most impressed with the results of the organization. Many nonprofits are working valiently to improve access to college for underepresented youth, but this is one of the few organizations that actually get these students through college (with an amazing 90% graduation rate) and into the workforce. This requires so much more than financial support, as the SRA staff and volunteers become a new family for these students -- 65% of whom are foster care youth or even homeless. Plus, SRA has strong financial stewardship, an active Board, and stellar management by the executive team.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Students Rising Above (SRA) is a wonderful program that seeks to aid high school students who show academic talent but who come from family backgrounds that might otherwise prohibit them from reaching to, getting into, and affording college. As a mentor I spend quality time with my student and present myself as a role model for him or her. We do fun activities together and I encourage a friendship between us that allows him or her to feel as though they can come to me with issues or questions. They are aided in college prep and college funding. Its an amazing program I'm proud to be a part of.