Students Rising Above (SRA) is an independent non-profit organization committed to helping low-income youth from the San Francisco Bay Area who are overcoming tremendous obstacles and earning college degrees. A full 90% of all SRA students graduate from college, which is nearly three times greater than the national average for low-income, first-generation students.
The program was co-founded by news anchor Wendy Tokuda, who features SRA students on KPIX 5 news stories, web features, and public service announcements. More than half the students are growing up without parents and many have been homeless. All of these students are low income, including 61% who live below the federal poverty line. All of them want to go to college.
Wendy Tokuda has been reporting these stories for more than 10 years, and brought the project here to KPIX in 2007. Over the years, supporters have donated money to send hundreds of hardworking students to college.
Initially started as a volunteer-run scholarship fund, Students Rising Above has grown into a professionally run and comprehensive organization that provides one-on-one mentoring, financial assistance, career development services, healthcare, computers, sheets, and towels for the dorm and other support normally provided by parents. The goal is not just to give students a check, but to get them to and through college and into the workforce.
The Students Rising Above television news series has won numerous awards, including the Peabody Award, a National Emmy for Public Service, the NAB Education Foundation “Service To America” Award, the national Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Television Journalism, and several Northern California Emmy Awards.