During these unprecedented times, everyone at Berkeley Community Scholars (BCS) hopes you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.
Just a few weeks ago, our 160 High Hopes Scholars—Berkeley High alumni who are on the path to a college degree—were studying for midterms, grabbing a late-night pizza with friends, and excitedly anticipating upcoming commencement ceremonies.
If ever there was a need for supporting our students working to earn a college degree, it is NOW. Today, our scholars are scrambling to find places to live after being displaced from dorms and grappling with their own and their parents’ loss of work. They face the real prospect of being unable to complete their classes, much less afford to return to school—whenever that may be. Today our scholars need temporary housing, funds for groceries, day to day hygiene needs, and, increasingly, mental health services. We also have one scholar studying abroad this term who is unable to get back home.
The impact of the coronavirus has hit all of us. We are all uncertain and scared about our families’ health and well-being, and how this unfolding tragedy will impact our financial security. Yet those living in our lowest income bracket—INCLUDING OUR SCHOLARS—are bearing the brunt.
Our College Success Advisors and community mentors are in close contact with our scholars, trying to support their practical and emotional needs. We’re learning that many of them need emergency funds to weather this crisis. To support this need, Berkeley Community Scholars is building up our Emergency Fund. Donations to this fund will be used for immediate needs—food, shelter, transportation, supplies, and tools to participate in online classes—so that scholars can stay on track towards a college degree. The needs of our students will grow immensely in the coming weeks and months as they grapple with the “new normal.”
Your donation will help our scholars stay in college, pursuing their dreams, and provide economic stability. You can also help by donating airline miles; up-to-date computers with camera capabilities; tablets or phones with current technology; or a financial contribution to help cover a student’s immediate need. For non-financial donations, please call 510-542-2126 and leave us a message.
The coronavirus has turned all of our lives upside down—but for students and families with little means, the consequences are more dire. The impact on these families will take years, not months, to overcome. Please join us in helping our scholars stay safe, strong, and on track to earning their degree. More than ever, we need our compassionate community to help our scholars tackle the unprecedented challenges of today and the future.
Thank you for your support. We truly appreciate it.
Sherry Smith, Executive Director, on behalf of the BCS community