Meet Our Scholars
Children's Fund occasionally invites donors and supporters to the office for a "Meet and Greet" luncheon to meet our scholars whom have received either a scholarship or mentorship from Children’s Fund or programs we have funded.
Raynel Causey (above, left) will soon be a third-year student at Cal Poly Pomona. His auntie and uncle have been raising him ever since he was placed in foster care at age 5 or 6. He was a straight A student throughout high school so it was natural for him to want to attend college. Once he was accepted to Cal Poly, the Renaissance Scholars Program, reached out to him. Children’s Fund helps fund the Renaissance Scholars Program.
The program, which offers support, assistance and mentoring to foster and prior foster students at Cal Poly Pomona, has benefitted him. He is excited because this year he gets to be a peer mentor, which provides him both a part-time job and a chance to give back to the program.
Raynel is studying sociology because he wants to be a social worker, motivational speaker, or another job where he gets to help kids just like him.
“I want to be a success story to not only make my family proud, but to be a role model for my friends.”
Mirel (above, center) is a student at Cal State San Bernardino, a transfer student from San Bernardino Valley Community College. She is a Syrian immigrant and has only been in the United States for six years. In 2017, Mirel received a Shine-A-Light Scholarship from Children’s Fund.
Mirel is studying sociology and her goal is to earn both a Masters and Doctorate degree because she would like to be a professor. She enjoys giving her peers encouragement to stay or enroll in college, stating that if she can overcome the many obstacles placed in her path, anyone can.
“This scholarship allowed me to have only two jobs instead of the three jobs I had before while I was going to school.”
Dr. Sara Gamaz
Dr. Sara Gamez (above, right) recently completed her Doctorate in Education and serves as the Associate Director of Student Support and Equity Programs, where she has oversight of the Renaissance Scholars program at Cal Poly Pomona. Sara is a perfect example of the impact the Renaissance Scholars Program has on foster youth.
As a toddler, Sara was an immigrant from Guatemala. Her mom was a single mom with three children who came to the United States undocumented. She married a man who unfortunately sexually abused Sara from age 6 until 15. Because her mom was aware of the abuse, social services removed her and her siblings from the home and placed them in foster care.
Sara was placed in three different homes during her time in care, two in San Bernardino County, and one in Los Angeles County. In one of the homes she lived with a woman who worked as the Assistant Principal at the high school she attended. Her foster mom mentored her and emphasized the benefits of a college education and encouraged Sara to apply to college.
Sara applied and attended Cal Poly Pomona and was part of the inaugural cohort of students admitted to Renaissance Scholars. She was the second graduate of the program. Today, she holds a doctorate degree and works with youth who have had a similar path as her own, and serves as an example of the success that comes with resiliency and determination. She is married with two kids.
“Some people have “family privilege” and some people don’t. It’s not often stated as such when speaking about foster youth and their experience.”
If you would like to attend an upcoming Meet and Greet Luncheon and hear first-hand about the impact our donors are making on youth in our community, please contact Nicholas Fisher at 909.379.6036.