This week’s Jefferson Award winner is a champion of students who are overcoming great obstacles. Gail Diserens volunteers behind the scenes. She helps students realize their dreams of graduating from college, so they can give back to their community.
One Richmond high school student with a near-perfect GPA manages to get his homework done despite having no home computer and 16 housemate.
On Saturday mornings while most teenagers are sleeping in, Anthony Cornejo, is busy working at a small computer repair shop in Oakland. He also works Sundays at a flea market because his family needs the money. For Anthony, family is everything.
At 8:30AM on a Saturday morning, while most kids are still sleeping, Sharit Cardenas Lopez is busy helping her mom clean a client’s home.
Imani Evans has grown up watching diabetes devastate her mother, one complication at a time.
For Lorna Contreras-Townsend working for Students Rising Above is much more than a job. Ten years ago, she was a student rising above herself.
Andre Gomes is only 18-years-old but he already has hands-on experience with rocket science, as an intern at NASA. It was the perfect summer experience for someone like Andre, who wants to be an engineer.
Deja sums up her attitude this way: “Knowing everything I’ve been through and knowing that I can continue to keep going. That’s resilience. That’s my favorite word, resilence.”
Living around violence in the inner city is making children sick. Kids living in high crime areas have a higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than soldiers because they are living in “virtual combat zones”, according to Dr. Howard Spivak of the Centers for Disease Control.
Now she is the Student Programs Coordinator for the SRA. The program helped her graduate from St. Mary’s College in the East Bay and Contreras knows firsthand that it took far more than just academic support and scholarships.