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Review for Foundation For Students Rising Above, San Francisco, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

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Role:  Volunteer