It's springtime and while the flowering trees are in full bloom, kids who have received their college acceptances are scrambling to find funding for their education. A local women, Karen Trilevsky uses the profits from her baking company, FullBloom Bakery, in Newark, CA, to help students who primarily come from immigrant parents and are the first ones to go to college, through the Smart Cookie program.
Karen Trilevsky, who dropped out of school herself, appreciates the value of giving back to the community with this program which provides not only funding for tuition and books,but also much needed support through mentorship. The Smart Cookie program is a perfect example of combining volunteering with funding to create greater impact. While it started as a program for six children of FullBloom's employees, it has now expanded to supporting 57 students from the community.
Mentorship programs for first generation students have tremendous benefits for their lives. Kids from immigrant families cannot receive the necessary support to further their education as many of the families do not even speak English, do not understand any of the essential application procedures, and cannot help their kids with study habits, or career decisions.
I am personally involved with a scholarship and mentoring program, The MVLA Community Scholars program, which also serves low income and mostly first generation students. Led by a vision to make college accessible and a four-year degree achievable for underserved students who could not otherwise attend college, the MVLA Community Scholars Program has provided scholarships to over 100 local public high school students to offset college fees, living expenses and instructional materials costs. Through the years working with this program, I have been greatly impressed by the dedication and hard work of these students towards improving their lives. Many of them, as have the scholarship recipients of FullBloom's Smart Cookie Program, have gone on to receive higher degrees and have had successful careers and happy lives.
FullBloom Bakery is not only exemplary in philanthropic giving of time and money, but is a model for sustainability practices. Their products use local, organic, whole grain products. Their packaging is recyclable and the redesign of their new facility, was based on getting LEED certified by the U.S Green Building Council.
For ideas on how your company can start a mentorship program check out the site: www.tutormentor.blogspot.com