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Holiday Fund: Pursuit of Excellence offers college grants, mentors to teens in need

Original post made on Jan 7, 2022

Nearly 700 students who have received grants from Pursuit of Excellence since Palo Altans Richard and Marjorie Smallwood launched the program in 1985 with a single $2,000 scholarship.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 7, 2022, 6:49 AM

Comments (3)

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2022 at 11:33 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

A wonderful story--persistence, dedicated work, a MENTOR to provide strategic guidance and emotional support adscholarships. All of this matters.

My husband's family is in this country for the fourth generation now. Driven out by a Russian army that terrorized their community with pogroms and threatened to put their Jewish children on the front lines as cannon fodder. they were uneducated peasant farmers. The first two gens never got to college--working as a barrel maker and then the next gen as a taxi driver. My husband's father was the first in his family to college on a scholarship and continued to earn a PhD--figuring out a path with the help of a MENTOR. He later worked for NASA as an engineer and then became a college professor teaching engineering. In that role, he created a mentorship program for high school students that I helped with--one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences of my life. It was wonderful to help promising immigrant teens blossom and grow.

My husband, who is extremely gifted (so you have to wonder if previous gens' gifts were wasted), went to college and grad school on a full scholarship. Both of his siblings went to college. Both of our children have recently graduated from college. It is a long path, but persistence, hard work, and the SUPPORT of MENTORS and scholarships makes success possible.

Please consider being a MENTOR. Support a young person who is trying to change the trajectory of his/her life. I am still in touch with some of the kids we mentored. They have fulfilling lives, and this knowledge gives me joy. If you have the means, and you have been given opportunity, please pay it forward. I promise that the experience will be life changing for you, too.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 7, 2022 at 11:42 am

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Three words: housing, housing, housing. In pursuit of excellence!

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Jan 7, 2022 at 2:56 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Education is the key to success. First to go to college is heartwarming, but only if the person is here legally. If you're here illegally, you're taking a spot that belongs to a legal college bound child. Allowing undocumented immigrants to attend college is worse (IMO) than cheating your way into college.

So why do we prosecute parents who cheat their way in because they want the best for their child, yet we allow kids who are here illegally to attend? It's not the child's fault. Punish the parents and the enablers. America is a land of laws, and we need to abide by them. I will never understand the mindset of people who don't understand this.

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Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.