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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

104 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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 :)