Diablo Valley – Celebrates 20th Year of Scholarship Program

In terms of emotional support, each year, awarded Scholarships convey a message of “We have faith in you! You can do this!

In the fall of 1999, Assistance League of Diablo Valley members approved the creation of Scholarships as a philanthropic program. During a recent interview, Scholarships Co-Chairs Lesley Salo and Cindi Segale related how chapter funds and the ongoing generosity of individuals and corporations have profoundly enriched lives of those who wanted to improve their circumstance in order to make a difference.

In May 2000, thirteen high school students who lived in Contra Costa County, demonstrated financial need, maintained a 3.0 grade point average and performed community service, became Scholarships’ first recipients. The addition of an interview component in 2003 evolved where program members divided into level appropriate teams and posed thought provoking questions to the candidates. Composed and determined, each shared insights as to what obstacles they had conquered while never losing sight of the goal to achieve and advance through education.

In 2004, community college students who completed an associate degree and committed to attending a four-year college or university became eligible for a scholarship. In addition, foster youth planning to attend a four-year college, community college or vocational school qualified for a specifically designed scholarship. As with the high school scholarships, all recipients were required to be residents of Contra Costa County. While the majority of the scholarships available today typically reach out to freshmen candidates, Assistance League of Diablo Valley extends emotional and financial support to students at all collegiate undergraduate levels.

Each year, the Scholarships program continued to grow as community and chapter members donated funds that allowed additional students to realize their dreams by continuing or resuming their education. Likewise, specially funded scholarships emerged, many of which honored the memory of a family member who believed in the power of education.

On-going scholarships include the Spotlight and Judy Oliphant Scholarships, created to help previous Assistance League of Diablo Valley recipients, either high school, foster youth or community college students, who are eligible are contacted and encouraged to complete an application. The Judy Oliphant Scholarship will discontinue after 2019-2020; however, the Spotlight Scholarship will hopefully continue for many years to come.

The following testimonials from various recipients convey how one member volunteer of Assistance League of Diablo Valley impacted the lives of those who faced overwhelming odds: Each begins, “Dear Mrs. O. and then continues…as a first generation foster youth attending college, the odds of being successful are significantly lower than my peers’…your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community…you’ve invested in me in a way no one else has…thank you for your faith in me.”

In terms of financial support, Assistance League of Diablo Valley’s Scholarships Program has awarded 375 chapter funded awards and 70 specially funded awards, totaling 445. In dollar figures, chapter funded awards amount to $1,109,060 and specially funded awards amount to $385,790, totaling $1,494,850. In terms of emotional support, each year, awarded Scholarships convey a message of “We have faith in you! You can do this!” The message does more than encourage; it empowers. Happy Anniversary, indeed! To learn more, please visit this website: assistanceleague.org/diablo-valley.

If you are interested in applying for an Assistance League Scholarship, all of our online Scholarships applications, which include high school, Foster Youth, Community College, Spotlight on you and Lisa Parker Hurst, are now available on our website: assistanceleague.org/diablo-valley.