An overlooked segment of young people in our community needs our support to change the trajectory of their lives. Assistance League® of Greater Placer scholarship recipients are from alternative high schools, schools primarily for at-risk students who have experienced life trauma and are classified as non-traditional students. They may have physical or mental disabilities, have failed in a traditional high school, have limited family support, and need adult support and encouragement. With our intervention, which includes mentoring as well as financial assistance to pursue higher education or vocational training, their odds of achieving academic success and employment increase dramatically.
The Scholarship Program was started in 2004 because of research done with the Placer County Office of Education showing that there were no organizations offering scholarships to students from continuation schools or alternative high schools. Originally, a one-time scholarship was offered to one or two students per year. In 2015, the scholarship committee realized students needed ongoing financial support as well as mentoring to increase the possibility of success. At that point we began offering renewable scholarships and increased mentor contact with students. The mentoring aspect of the scholarship program is what sets us apart from other programs in Placer County.
We currently have 13 students in our program who are working towards vocational certificates or degrees in nursing, court reporting, electrician training, cosmetology, interior design, teaching, photojournalism, forensic science, and pharmacy. Active mentoring by Scholarship Committee members has dramatically increased the likelihood of success for these students. In June 2020, two students from our program will graduate from American River College and one will complete training for becoming an electrician.