This Scholarship Program is the only one of its kind in Placer County, administering renewable scholarships to students who have graduated from alternative education programs across the county. One high school counselor said, “When it comes to scholarships, many times our students are forgotten or excluded, so I appreciate that your scholarships are targeted for students at continuation or alternative settings. Words cannot express how much I appreciate your organization.” Our unique program provides financial support as well as mentoring by Assistance League members to help our students navigate the demands of college. Our mentors become a valuable resource to our scholarship recipients. For some, as first-generation college students in their families, that extra support is key to their success. Students have expressed profound gratitude for the mentor support. In fact, one student was so excited about her mentor relationship that she told her friends that “my Assistance League Scholarship came with a mentor.” Another student told her mentor that “we are a great team together.”

Program Success

Rebecca Estrada shared her experience as a scholarship recipient in the April Assistance League meeting.  Rebecca’s journey included losing a beloved family member and having to relocate from Auburn to Chico and eventually to Sacramento. She attended and graduated with honors from Butte College in 2019.  After finishing her AA at Butte, Rebecca faced many challenges, including the challenges the Covid pandemic presented with job losses and a move to Sacramento, where she transferred to finish her BA. As part of her training, Rebecca was hired as an intern to assist her professor’s important work with formerly incarcerated youth in Salinas, CA. They were researching the impact of a program called Telpochcalli in the MILPA collective. Rebecca understands the importance first hand of giving back to the community.  Because of her talent, her determination, and her hard work, and with encouragement from her Assistance League mentor, Rebecca graduated with honors from Sacramento State University in May 2022. Her heartfelt story moved the members to tears and reminded everyone of the importance of the scholarship program for young people in our community. She expressed her gratitude so well when she said, “Thank you all for being there for me through thick and thin.  I love you all!” We are so proud of all she has accomplished!

Rebecca – 2022

Sacramento State University

Rebecca with mentor,

Gayle Gullans

Laura Spitzer graduated with honors from Sierra College in 2018 with a double major and received an AA in Social and Behavioral Science and Natural Science and was accepted afterwards into the nursing program at Chamberlain College in Phoenix, Arizona. Before she left for nursing school, Laura gave a talk to our members in the spring of 2018, describing the difficult journey that took her to Koinonia Family Services in 2015, where she was able to turn her life around.  After she graduated from the program at Koinonia and began her studies at Sierra, she became a youth member of the Advisory Committee for Koinonia and for the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the California Department of Health Care Services (CDHCS). Laura has a heart to give back to the community. In her moving talk to the members, she spoke of the life challenges she faced at a young age and the importance of the Assistance League Competencies Program’s life skills lessons at Koinonia (complete with homemade chocolate chip cookies at every class). Assistance League has had a lasting impact on her life.  After Laura graduated in 2015 from Koinonia, she was accepted into the ALGP Scholarship Program in 2015, which has supported her from 2015 until she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in August 2022. Her journey has been challenging, including leaving all that was familiar to settle in Arizona, supporting herself while working on a nursing degree through the Covid pandemic, and ultimately graduating debt free. Laura’s strength of character and determination to succeed has made us so proud! Laura expressed her gratitude so well when she said, “All the members of Assistance League had a hand in my success. Thank you!”

Laura – 2022

Chamberlain University


Bachelor of Science in Nursing


Assistance League of Greater Placer was proud to award eleven scholarships this Spring 2022, to students from the following alternative education programs: Adelante High (Roseville), Independence High School (Roseville), Maidu High School (Auburn), Rocklin Alternative Education Center-RAEC (Rocklin), and Victory High School (Rocklin).

Giesler Technology Fund

The Charlie Giesler Technology Fund, created at Charlie’s request and in his honor after his passing in July, 2021, provides Chromebooks to students who need them in the Assistance League of Greater Placer Scholarship Program. Charlie Giesler was a remarkable man who faced tremendous life challenges, surviving foster homes for much of his childhood. But he was determined to be the best person he could be, no matter where life took him.  He faced incredible odds in life but graduated from law school and experienced success as a lawyer, a realtor, and later in life, as a caregiver for friends in need. But he also struggled, even becoming homeless towards the end of his life. He felt that with a little more support from others, his life could have been different.  Charlie Giesler wished to help young people in Placer County who face life challenges, to give them the tools, like a Chromebook, that would help them thrive. Below are the first recipients of Chromebooks from the Charlie Giesler Technology Fund. Charlie’s donation makes success attainable for each of these students. His legacy lives on.


Assistance League of Greater Placer was proud to award five scholarships this Spring 2021 to students from the following alternative education programs: Adelante High (Roseville), Maidu High (Auburn), and
Rocklin Alternative Education Center-RAEC (Rocklin).

This year the scholarship program is also providing Chromebooks or refurbished computers to scholarship recipients who need them. Destiny Benson, from Adelante High School, was so excited to receive her Chromebook. What a wonderful way to ensure the success of our students!


This past spring, we celebrated the graduations of two of our scholarship students. Alyson Ingram earned an AA Degree in Universal Design and International Retail Merchandising. Edward Selvidge completed the Electrician Program at National Career Education Center and is planning to enter an electrician apprenticeship in the future.

Including our newest scholarship recipients, we currently have 13 students in our program who are
completing general education requirements or working towards vocational certificates or degrees in
nursing, teaching, photojournalism, forensic science, cosmetology, and pharmacy. Active mentoring by
Scholarship Committee members dramatically increases the likelihood of success for all our students.
Laura Spitzer, who has been with our program since 2015, is currently completing her nurses training at
Chamberlain University College of Nursing in Phoenix, Arizona. Here she is pictured after she received
her first nurses’ scrubs. According to Laura, “All the members of Assistance League had a hand in my
success. Thank you!” We are so proud of her!

This year we were honored to present $1000 scholarships to five Placer County 2020 high school graduates. Three of the recipients will continue their studies in the spring alongside ten of our continuing scholarship students. Students retain their eligibility for new scholarships each semester as long as they maintain a 2.0 GPA and 9 units of classes.

New 2020 Scholarship Recipients

Elizabeth Paval
Carrie Hudson
Isabella Gomez






We were so very pleased to celebrate four students who graduated this spring:

Rebecca Estrada graduated from Butte College with an AA in Social and Behavioral Science and an AA in Anthropology and has transferred to Chico State.

Vanessa Pohley graduated with Honors from Sierra College with a teaching certificate and an AA in both Business Administration and Business Accounting. Vanessa plans to continue at a four year college in the near future.

Mitchell Iwahiro graduated from UC Davis in three years with a BA in Community and Regional Development in Public Planning. He is now in a graduate program at UC Davis.

Laura Spitzer graduated from Sierra College with an AS in Social and Behavioral Science and an AS in Natural Sciences. She is applying for admission to nursing programs.

The pictures below showcase all the recipients who received Assistance League Scholarships for Fall 2019. We were honored to present scholarships to 17 new recipients, each of whom were awarded $1,000, applied to their post-secondary tuition expenses for the first semester.  In addition, 4 of our ongoing recipients received $1,000 in the fall to continue their studies.  Each recipient in the program is eligible to receive $250-$1,000 scholarship each semester as long as they maintain academic eligibility standards and maintain contact with the ALGP scholarship mentor.


In 2018 the Scholarship Committee awarded seven scholarships! Scholarship recipients include Zoey Hutchison from Confluence High School in Auburn, Angel Mendoza from Koinonia Family Services in Loomis, Jamie Brooks, and Tiffany Perera from Victory High School in Rocklin, Emily Smith, and Janette Ramirez from Adelante High School in Roseville, and Abigail Gonzalez from Independence High School in Roseville. In addition, we continue to support seven students who have been awarded scholarships in previous years.  All of the above students are attending community colleges and four-year colleges. Their interests are wide-ranging and include child psychology, environmental science, nursing, teaching, interior design, and business. Education is the key to success in many career pathways, and Assistance League of Greater Placer is committed to providing opportunities for students from alternative high schools so that they may continue their education and find successful careers.


In 2017 we awarded two scholarships to seniors from Chana High School, Auburn, and Independence High School, Roseville.  In addition, we continue to support eight students attending vocational training programs and institutions of higher education who had been awarded scholarships in previous years.  Students are attending community colleges, four-year colleges, and vocational training programs such as medical assisting and court reporting.  Their interests are wide-ranging and include interior design, early childhood education, dental hygiene, and ultrasound technology.  Education is the key to success in many career pathways, and Assistance League of Greater Placer is committed to providing opportunities for students from alternative high schools to continue their education.

2017 Chana High School Graduation

2017 Independence High School Graduation

2016 Koinonea Graduation


2016 Adelante Graduation


Several Scholarship Committee members attended 4 different 2016 graduations to award 5 scholarships.  When they heard some of the stories about the students it highlighted how important the scholarship program can be to helping them go on for further education and turn their lives around.

2016 Independence High School Graduation

 Scholarship Committee member Betsy Katz with Graduate Mitchell Iwahari.