Next week you could enjoy some fine California vintages while helping a group of young people who are rarely awarded scholarships. How? By buying a ticket to the annual Kiwanis Turnaround Scholarship benefit on April 3.
Started 35 years ago by the East San Jose Kiwanis Club, the Turnaround Scholarship program recognizes young people who have confronted difficulties, from drug addition to learning disabilities, to dysfunctional families and gang involvements – any one of a host of well-documented problems that can throw students off-course. More than 15 local Kiwanis clubs participate to sponsor students from seven school districts.
But despite the obstacles, scholarship recipients have turned their lives around and are now headed for college or specialized career training. And local Kiwanis clubs are joining together to help them pay for it, with the Kiwanis Club of San Jose Foundation sponsoring 23 scholarships this year – 21 of which are to Santa Clara Unified students.
The scholarships not only enable the students to attend college, they also provide peer-to-peer counseling, and an orientation class at Mission College that gives them one unit of college credit. This allows them to register as returning students, giving them a higher priority for class registration.
These students come from the district’s innovative Wilson and New Valley alternative schools. “The New Valley students are ones who were able to overcome a lot of adversity and still graduate on time,” says Santa Claran Rick Mauck, who is a former president of the Kiwanis chapter. “For a lot of reasons many of them don’t get any credits their first two years, and then have to make it up in the last two years.”
Some of the students are in the Wilson high school’s young mothers program, which allows pregnant teens to continue to attend school and graduate on time.
“The good thing about the program is that students can continue to receive scholarships until they graduate as long as they maintain 10 to 12 credits,” says Mauck.
In addition to wine-tasting and hors d’oeuvres, there will a silent auction, raffles where one lucky guest will take home a $1,000 grand prize, and live music by the Swingtime band. This year’s honorary event chair is County Supervisor Dave Cortese.
The Kiwanis Turnaround Scholarship Benefit is Thursday, April 3 from 6-8:30 p.m., at Villa Ragusa, 35 South Second St., Campbell. Tickets are $40. For more information, call (408) 867-1701 or email email@example.com.