The Hope for Tomorrow Scholarship and Mentoring Program, led by FAAP’s social worker, provides support services to our high school and college workers, with the primary goal of keeping them in school. Most of our student workers are the first in their families to graduate high school. Colleges graduate less than half of their Hispanic students according to the Gates Foundation. Services provided include: help in applying for federal financial aid and locating scholarships, career counseling, academic assistance, life skills training, and emotional counseling as needed. Our social worker periodically meets with each student individually to monitor their situation and assess what services are needed to best assist them with any issues they may be encountering. These student workers are eligible to apply for FAAP’s Hope for Tomorrow Scholarship at the end of each semester. Scholarships are awarded based on work attendance and reliability, maintaining good grades, and going above and beyond in their work with the elementary school students.
We first met Mary Ekstrom when she was a high school volunteer at McCleery Elementary School. She was a member of West Aurora High School’s Future Educators of America. We noticed her outstanding work with the students and asked her to work for FAAP as a Reading Mentor. Mary perfectly exemplifies what FAAP is trying to achieve in our Hope for Tomorrow Scholarship Mentoring Program –to provide employment for a high school senior, mentor them and assist them to achieve their goal of becoming a college graduate with a fulfilling career. Mary is now a certified teacher beginning her second year of teaching first grade.
Antonio has been a FAAP Reading Mentor for the past three years. He is a senior at Aurora University majoring in secondary education. His goal is to become a high school math teacher. In his scholarship application, Antonio wrote, "My mother is the biggest influence in my life. She does not have much education, in fact, she had to quit school in the second grade. But she gave me the tools to be humble, sincere, and pure. Such characteristics make your life complete. I love my mother and she became my best teacher. Now I want to follow her example."
Ernesto’s mentor, Lindsey, is a senior at Aurora University. Lindsey participates in the Hope for Tomorrow Scholarship Mentoring Program where she receives assistance from FAAP’s social worker in applying for financial aid and scholarships. This year, she was chosen by Aurora University as a Dunham School of Business scholarship recipient. This is a full tuition scholarship offered to only six students per year. Ernesto and Lindsey had a great mentoring relationship. He was very eager to work with her each week. His reading ability has consistently shown improvement. At the end of this school year, he was passing comprehension tests over books at his grade level.