Education Scholarships Available from Neighborhood House

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Last year, the View reported on a Honey’s of the Hill calendar fundraiser spearheaded by Lorys Crisafulli, Dorene Cotter and Sally Taylor, Potrero Hill Neighborhood House Senior Lunch program participants. Inspired by the 2003 movie, Calendar Girls, the three worked with Nabe staff to create and sell calendars that featured a dozen local seniors posing as “the ladies who lunch,” playing on the film’s “pin-up girl” theme. As part of the marketing effort, Crisafulli, Cotter and Taylor donned costumes befitting the subject; calendars were sold for $15 each.

The effort generated more than $11,000 from advertisements and contributions, of which $7,500 was dedicated to scholarships for local young adults pursuing post-secondary education. The rest covered calendar production costs.

“We all had a good time posing and laughing at ourselves,” expressed Crisafulli. “Sally and I spent many fun times selling the calendars; I loved every minute we spent on it. The women involved are all well-known and did it for a good cause.”

“The idea was to help these youth get through the process of getting an education, and we had a wonderful experience doing it,” said Taylor. “I enjoyed getting to know people in the neighborhood, and it was a pleasurable experience in terms of reaching out to the community. People were so generous; some gave $20 and wouldn’t even take the calendar. So many people want to help, but it can be difficult to connect the help with people in the community who need it the most.”

The fund was divided into twelve $500 scholarships to help pay for schooling expenses beyond tuition; the remaining $1,500 covered the Nabe’s costs associated with administrating the scholarships. Following a round of applications last spring, grants were awarded at the nonprofit’s annual Moms, Dads and Grads celebration, which falls between Mother’s and Father’s Day.

“It’s a good thing for our Moms, Dads and Grads celebration,” said Edward Hatter, Nabe executive director. “There’s a meal, entertainment and then the scholarships are presented. We plan to do another one this year, making the scholarship awards part of the event.”

Out of a pool of five applicants, three were awarded scholarships last year. Jamion Wright, a 2017 Mission High School graduate, attends California State University, Sacramento, where he plays basketball and is planning to major in business. The funds helped Wright with food expenses. Shatonya Amerson goes to City College of San Francisco, and used her scholarship to purchase books for her freshman year. The money aided Mariah Sapp with basic living expenses to get through her final year at San Francisco State University. After graduating in January, she applied to law schools with the hope of matriculating this fall.

“Finding money for books and other extra expenses have always been the biggest problem for our young people in school,” Hatter explained.  “After paying for housing and tuition, they’re broke, and it’s a strain on them, especially in the freshman year.”

With nine scholarships unclaimed, the Nabe is accepting applications for another round of awards from now until the end of April. Similar to last year, neighborhood residents who are enrolled in any kind of post-secondary educational program can apply. Crisafulli expressed hope that young people attending a trade or vocational school will be considered for the funds, commenting that monetary assistance is often limited to college attendance.

The application process involves submitting an essay, answering questions about educational pursuits as well as recent grades. Awards will be presented at this year’s Moms, Dads and Grads event scheduled for May 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Nabe.

“We need to identify more applicants for this year,” Taylor said. “The more people that apply, the more qualified students they will be able to award the money to. We need more support from neighbors who know of people in need of financial assistance for school. The Nabe is tight on resources and needs help finding recipients for this year.”

For more information about the scholarship: 415.826.8080.