Octavio Romero arrived in the United States from Mexico at the age of 12, the fifth son of parents who had never attended high school. Although he knew little English when he started Egan Junior High School, Octavio demonstrated quite early that he had what it takes to be a successful student. He had always loved math and had a strong work ethic. He explains that he was motivated to succeed academically.
“I always did my homework as soon as I got home from school,” he said.
At Los Altos High, Octavio earned a 3.8 grade-point average. Although accepted by all of the UCs and CSUs to which he applied, he decided to attend Foothill College, knowing that doing so would make a college education far more affordable.
Octavio’s first introduction to MVLA Community Scholars came through Michael Smith, his AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) teacher, who encouraged him to apply for a Community Scholars scholarship. Octavio is grateful that the money he received from that scholarship allowed him to pay his school fees without having to get a full-time job that would have prevented him from concentrating on his studies.
In the fall, thousands of excited students walk onto college campuses for the first time, eager, happy, and filled with anticipation. However, some, especially first-generation-to-college students, often feel anxious. While other students are walking purposefully around, filing out paperwork and looking as if they know exactly what they need to do and what to expect, these other students can feel like they have just landed on a foreign planet.
MVLA Scholar, Octavio Romero, was first in his family to go to college, and graduated from San Jose State University in December 2013 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He remembers, “The first day (of college)….I felt frightened, almost overwhelmed…I felt so out of place.” Luckily, Octavio had been paired with a mentor to whom he could turn for reassurance and who, according to Octavio, “Was there for everything and anything that I needed.” Another student, Maritza Arreola, is also grateful to the MVLA Community Scholars program for its mentors: “Thanks to this stability in a complicated time of transition, I transferred to Mills College… successfully earning my BA in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies this past May (2014).”
Challenges for first-generation-to-college low-income students arise early, asserts a board member of MVLA Community Scholars. Many of these young adults learned English while attending high school, and/or worked to help support their families. Yet, their fine grades get them into good colleges. One mentor observes, “The dedication and work ethic of our Scholars is truly inspirational. They figure out 95% of issues on their own, but it helps to talk to someone else who has walked a similar path. That’s where we mentors can offer support. And, we’re pretty good cheerleaders for our Scholars during their college journey!”
This fall, MVLA Community Scholars is very proud to be helping 24 new Scholars with annually renewable scholarships and college mentors; and although college will certainly challenge them, they have the motivation and intellect to succeed, and we promise to be there…whenever they need us.
To learn more, donate or to volunteer visit www.mvlacommunityscholars.org
MVLA Community Scholars is a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation
Save the Date!
LACF’s Annual Celebration Brunch!
Sunday, October 26 11:00 am
Los Altos Golf & Country Club
All are welcome!
Comes visit the Glass Pumpkin Patch Los Altos.
Los Altos Community Foundation is sponsoring the Glass Pumpkin Patch Los Altos September 13-14 10 am – 5 pm at Lincoln Park, Los Altos.
Benefiting the non-profit GreenTown Los Altos
The patch features work from Walker & Bowes and San Jose Glass Artists.
For more information go to greentownlosaltos.com
Come out and find your perfect Pumpkin.by
The LACF E3 Youth Philanthropy Board grew again this year (2013-14) to 32 Board members, comprising students from: Egan, Castilleja, Mountain View High School, Los Altos High School, Bellarmine, Menlo School, Pinewood and Woodside Priory.
This year’s group is the largest in LACF E3 Youth Philanthropy’s 8-year history, with nearly 50% new members.
New Members 2014-2015:
- Amanda Koong, Mountain View HS
- Andrew Lee, Los Altos HS
- Andrew Motey, Bellarmine College Preparatory
- Anisha Desai, Los Altos HS
- Dominique Lau, Mountain View HS
- Emiley Kim, Los Altos HS
- Madeline Chu, Los Altos HS
- Nathan Liu, Los Altos HS
- Rahul Shukla, Harker
- Seema Ahmed, Mountain View HS
- Tiffanie Luther, Mountain View HS
- William Thabit, Los Altos HS
2014 Grants (Total $10,000):
- Mountain View Cops & Gobblers: $2,100
- Living Classroom for MV and Los Altos School Districts: $2,000
- Bring Me a Book: $2,500
- Kick Lead Dream KLD Summer Camp: $2,000
- Los Altos HS LET’s Program (partnered with Silicon Valley Family and Children’s Services): $400
- Adolescent Counseling Services (ACS) Outlet Leadership Program: $1,000
The group meets twice a month on Mondays, from 7-9 pm, from late August through early June. (We have approximately 40 hours of program time over the course of the year, more than twice the amount of other programs).by
New to the area or lived here for years?
Contemplating running for City Council or School Board, or serving on a Commission?
Then Los Altos LEAD is perfect for you! Enrollment is open to all. Since 1996, more than 220 people have completed the eight-session course.
- local government
- social services and health
- community service organizations.
Volunteer opportunities are always highlighted, and one session is devoted to team building and leadership training.
CEO’s, Executive Directors, community & school district leaders will present their organizations over a five month period. They will discuss how they are an integral part of the community as well as participate in candid conversations on the challenges and obstacles upon which they are focused.
The program kicks off with a three hour Saturday morning workshop where class attendees meet each other, expectations are discussed and a dynamic leadership discussion is facilitated. It is followed by nine sessions meeting Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm twice a month.
I strongly recommend the LEAD class for anyone looking to learn more and potentially get involved with our wonderful community. Each session offered a fascinating look at the inner workings of some part of our community. I have never been exposed to so many dedicated people. It was a stimulating and eye-opening experience.
John Radford, Councilmember, Town of Los Altos Hills, and 2011 LEAD graduate.
LEAD 2015 will start in January and will be coordinated by LACF Board Co-chair Claudia Coleman.
Contact LACF for registration details: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (650) 949-5908
Sessions are held at LACF, 183 Hillview Avenue, in the Neutra House, except for four sessions held at offsite locations tbd.
The LEAD Program (Leadership Education ADvancement Program) was developed by the Los Altos Community Foundation as a vehicle to introduce participants to the multiple private and public organizations in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View that make our cites and surrounding areas a community.by
Reviewing our Mission – Strategic Planning
It’s July and most people are on vacation, planning one, or wishing they were still on the beach.
Here at LACF the Board and staff are using the summer as an opportunity to do an updated strategic plan for the Foundation and revisiting and revising our mission, strategic priorities, goals, and milestones for the next 2-3 years.
I’m very excited about this process because when completed, the plan will provide a compass for guiding LACF’s activities and enable the Foundation to focus on what’s important for our community.
Our revised mission is above. You can see that it reaffirms our long-term commitment toward building a stronger community. We plan to do this by fostering innovative philanthropy, both for local donors and non-profits, and by encouraging civic engagement.
LACF has done these activities for years through community grants, programs such as E3 Youth Philanthropy and LEAD, and by supporting local philanthropy through Donor Advised and Designated funds. We plan to do more.
The final point on the mission is that the “community” LACF serves is actually three municipalities, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View. These cities are very intertwined in a number of ways, such as with the school districts and agencies such as CSA and CHAC.
For years LACF has provided grants to non-profits in all three communities, helped on initiatives, and sponsored and run programs that benefit residents of each.
While doing the strategic planning, I have been gathering suggestions from local residents and leaders on what LACF could do to better serve our community.
If you have suggestions, feel free to visit, call, or email me with them. But don’t dally – our summer fun of strategic planning will end soon!
- we would like to have 4-5 adults (we have 5 youth and 3 seniors already committed),
- they would be doing one or both of the activities described above,
- no skills required,
- duration for the Discovery Tool assessment = ~ 30 minutes,
- duration for the surveys, each one takes about 10 minutes depending on how “chatty” the interviewee is – and the volunteer can do as many or few as they like,
- dates for the assessment cover before (July 24th to 27th), during (August 21st to 24th) and after (Sept),
- dates for the surveys are only during the park August 21st to 24th
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Healthy Aging Research and Technology Solutions (HARTS) Lab
Behavioral and Technology Solutions for Life
Stanford Prevention Research Centre
Stanford University School of Medicine
Suite 100, 1070 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto CA, 94304-1334
Its tough to get a decent head count at an event like this, but I’d say this was easily the best attended Glorious Fourth in recent memory.
Thanks to all of our partners who helped make this event possible: Courtyard Marriott’s Cares and Shares program, Los Altos Rotary, Los Altos Town Crier, American Legion, GreenTown Los Altos, and huge thanks to the city of Los Altos for all the support.
If you have any suggestions for next year or would like to volunteer to help next year, please contact email@example.com.