Helping Those Who Worked to Gain Admission to College

Aid a College-Bound Senior with a Gift

In 2013, I volunteered in the Palisades High School College Center and was thrilled when four Latino students were accepted to a college in Minnesota. They had full-rides, but what they didn’t have was winter clothing, suitcases or bedding. I made a plea for donations in a local paper and a resident stepped up by writing a check.

Former college counselor Diana Hurst explained, “Many of our top students are offered scholarships for merit or need but there is always a gap between the actual out-of-pocket cost and the scholarships or grants they receive.”

That was the start of my education. Those four girls were not unique. As I worked with kids on their college essays and they received acceptances, I learned that there was a shortfall—and it was for necessities that we in the Palisades take for granted.

The PaliHi College Center said that some students must pay for everything on their own; there is no help from parents. About one-third of Pali’s seniors are on free and reduced-priced lunch plans, which means the family income for a family of four is less than $31,590.

Over the past few years, I’ve made a plea (through different names: “Angels Aid,” “Suitcase Fund” or “Off to College Fund”) for donations for these kids. Locals have been great, and the money went directly to the college center.

Two years ago, I turned to resident Don Scott, who is with the Optimist Club Foundation, to help collect the money (since I do not have a nonprofit).

Last year more than $13,500 was raised—and it is tax deductible.

“We are asking residents to help support our community asset [PaliHi and its students],” said Scott. “By giving a hand to more graduating students, we make Pali an even more attractive school to attend. One hundred percent of the donations we receive will go directly to the students either as direct grants or gift certificates.”

Since there are privacy issues surrounding the students, we will once again ask PaliHi college counselors to determine students, who have scholarships to four-year colleges, who have a “gap” need.

Marilyn Haese, whose two sons, graduated from PaliHi in 2008 and 2010 has come aboard to help publicize the fund.

I’m asking for people to donate small or large—all money goes directly to the kids.

Thank you to all who have donated in the past and thank you to all who are considering helping the Suitcase Fund. Please let us know if its okay to print your name and I’d like to give you recognition on Circling the News.

Contributions can be made to the Palisades Optimist Foundation (tax ID # 95-4706527). Checks can be sent to P.O. Box 242, Pacific Palisades 90272, or online at: palisadesoptimistfoundation.org/contact and go to the donate button.

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3 Responses to Helping Those Who Worked to Gain Admission to College

  1. Nina Kidd says:

    Such a wonderful gift to offer these students who are working to become adults and contributing citizens. Does the counseling office need more coaches too?
    What an exciting project.
    Thanks for doing it and letting us know about it!l

  2. Maryam says:

    This is wonderful! I’ll donate, and how can I help publicize?

  3. Hi Maryam: This is Marilyn (mentioned in Sue’s piece). You can help publicize the program as much as you want to get the word out. Send me an email! Thanks for offering!

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