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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

59 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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.

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.

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!

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.