Letter From the Director
While the challenges our students and community have faced this past year are unprecedented, I am proud what our community of Scholars have accomplished.
I’m proud of the first graduating class of Richmond Promise Alumni, who are celebrating and navigating this milestone through a time of uncertainty, and who are the leaders we have been waiting for. I’m proud of the record breaking number of applications and our fifth rising class of 560+ Richmond Promise Scholars. I’m proud of how Scholars have raised their voices to lead in Richmond - in our programming, and in organizing demonstrations in support of Black Lives.
Finally, I'm proud of our Richmond Promise team, who have all risen to the occasion. From collaborating with our community to move all of our programming virtual to showing up for our Scholars and families through direct financial and virtual support, our work is having a positive impact.
Through this time of uncertainty, our Scholars continue to dream of and fight for a better future. They are the promise of future leaders that we need. If we continue to invest in our own and allow our young people to light the way, I know our future is bright. We have so much to celebrate, and I'm delighted to share our 2019-2020 highlights along with our hopes and plans for the future as we continue to invest in our young people and the future of our City.
Jessie Stewart, Executive Director
In 2019-20, we saw that students served by our program completed financial aid at higher rates than other students in West Contra Unified School District (WCCUSD) and the State of California.
As a requirement of our scholarship, all applicants must complete a financial aid application to ensure they are receiving the maximum financial support to go to college. In support of district-wide access to financial aid, we launched in-class financial aid programs in 2018 at Kennedy High School and DeAnza High School led by Richmond Promise Scholars. A key element of this programming is that current Richmond Promise Scholars are hired and trained to support high school seniors with financial aid and college access milestones.
2. College Success Partnerships
Partnerships are at the heart of our strategy for student success. We connect our Scholars to impactful resources on their college campuses and in their community that we know will support them towards degree completion. Current partnerships provide coaching, career development, community college transfer support, and more.
Student Spotlight: Peter Ligutan
Being the son of two deaf parents, Peter learned early on how to uniquely advocate, connect, and communicate with others. As he has grown up, the depth and power of his leadership has only become richer. Peter has been actively engaged in the Contra Costa College First Year Experience program. Being supported by his FYE Educational Coach has allowed him to succeed in academics and beyond, so much so that he even started his own student club, Compass Segway, to support other students adjust to and be successful in college! Peter plans to transfer to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health.
“My experience at CCC was life changing. It changed my view of community college… [My coach] is an amazing person.”
Our Summer Associates program is essential to our work and represents our mission to support college success and build local leadership within our Scholars.
Student Spotlight: Jarschire Dennis
Jarschire Dennis, a two-time Summer Associate and Richmond Promise Scholar at UC Merced, embodies the breadth of this program. Whether he’s working 1-1 with a middle school student in Richmond or uplifting spaces for Black students at UC Merced, Jarschire is a community advocate dedicated to seeing his community of Richmond and fellow peers achieve lifelong success.
"My dream is to find myself at the top of the ladder doing something I love, helping the youth."
4. Career Mentoring
Career mentoring is key to young people building their network and necessary skills to translate their college degree into their desired career.
Student Spotlight: Stephanie Baer
Stephanie Baer, a Richmond Promise Scholar at Contra Costa College and future global nurse, wanted to connect in the public health field. Enter Feather Ives, a public health researcher at UC Berkeley.
“Everything felt so perfectly aligned when I met my mentor, Feather. I look up to her so much.”
Stephanie and Feather regularly touch base to ensure she is on track to meeting her goals, like transferring to a 4-year university to complete her Bachelors of Science in Nursing by Fall 2021. One day, Stephanie's goal is to make healthcare more accessible across the globe. Along the way, Feather is an essential support and cheerleader to achieve her dreams.
Student Spotlight: Cynthia Ramirez-Parra
“Education has led me to my calling and passion -- educational equity.”
Cynthia just earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from UC Berkeley. We are so proud to have been able to support her throughout her college journey!
If you know Cynthia, then you know she is a powerful force. While in college, she could regularly be found supporting others whether that be a fellow Latina in Hermanas Unidas or a first-generation student when she was an EOP Peer Advisor. As a first-generation Latina student herself, she has used her identity, what once felt to her like something to overcome, as a source of power to uplift herself and others.
Now with her college degree, she plans to dedicate her career to education starting here at the Richmond Promise as our College & Career Success Manager!