Changing History Today, Making History Tomorrow | Impact Newsletter

Last updated: August 21, 2023, at 7:45 a.m. PT

Originally published: August 16, 2023, at 10:52 a.m. PT

group of highschool kids graduating

SAT prep, after-school study sessions, and paperwork – helping students dot their i’s and cross their t’s to graduate on time and apply to college is a big deal. It’s the kind of big deal that leads to better futures and builds strong leaders. Thanks to your generosity, Y Scholars does all of that and so much more.

With Y Scholars, students can receive one-on-one attention they might not be able to get in school. They receive support from adults who look like them and who believe in them. Dedicated mentorship and support from someone who personally relates to them can challenge students to go a long way – and according to current Y Scholar senior Tyra, they also make meaningful connections.

For Tyra and other students of color, this can make an especially huge difference. Students have a safe place to ask questions, raise concerns, and have hard conversations that may not otherwise happen, thanks to the strong relationships formed and experiences shared within the program. In Tyra’s words, “I get to go there every day and get a listening ear. It has shown and helped me find a good community of friends, that applying to college can be fun, and that there are a lot of opportunities out there. You just need to seek them out.”

Knowing those opportunities exist is only part of the equation. Y Scholars Program Director Nadjhchanel Patterson adds, “Exposure is everything. Representation is everything. They need to see someone they identify with that is doing the same thing they are doing. If they don’t get that, it doesn’t seem real.”

Y Scholars seniors recruit eighth graders to the program and then, after graduation, come back to participate in workshops, intern, speak on panels, and inspire new possibilities. Monthly trips to visit both in- and out-of-state schools further broaden students’ horizons. Tyra’s younger sister, Nyshae, began taking these trips two years before her graduation. She’ll go into her senior year with everything she needs to make an informed decision about college. Integral to that decision is having a firm idea of what you’re aiming for and what that takes. Dawit, another participant, put it well: “I knew I wanted to attend college, but I didn’t have anyone or anything that could push me to help discover specifically what career path I wanted to take or how to get there. Being involved in this program allowed me to have the support and resources needed to get to where I wanted to be after high school.” Your support provides the resources to get kids where they want to be.

While sustaining Y Scholars requires more philanthropic support for 2024, the 100% success rate among this year’s graduates would not be possible without the support system assembled leveraging leadership contributions from the Anderson Foundation, Aven Foundation, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Family Foundation, Delta Air Lines, The Foster Foundation, the Garfield High School PTSA, and Jim and Heather Hughes. 2023 graduates will employ their new skills at colleges across Washington and nationwide, including local universities like Seattle Central College, Seattle University, the University of Washington, and Western Washington University.