Capital Region Cares Capital Region Cares 2017-2018 - Page 80

n Success story A F uture so Bright FUTURE BY Robin Epley PHOTO: Ken James SACRAMENTO onica Sandoval (pictured left) is 24 years old and has just earned her graduate degree in early childhood development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. Two years ago, she received her B.A. in child de- velopment from Whittier College in Los Angeles. But when she was in 9th grade, living in Oak Park and attend- ing Sacramento High School, Sando- val never thought she’d even be able to attend college, and if she did, she’d have to stay close to home — her fami- ly simply couldn’t afford to send her to a university far away. “Coming from a very tradition- al, Mexican background, my parents didn’t have the advantage to go to col- lege,” Sandoval says. And she says they were upfront about her options. San- doval says she thought she’d be lucky to attend Sacramento State or a local community college, if she was able to go at all. PAVES THE WAY FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS TO ATTEND AND SUCCEED IN COLLEGE p h oto : co u rt e sy o f f u t u r e s ac r a m e n to 80 CAPITAL REGION CARES 2017 | comstocksmag.com M But when she was 14, in 2006, her school counselor told her about a new program called Future Sacramento (formerly known as Future Foundation of Sacramento). If she was accepted in their first class of students that year, Sandoval would be given a needs- based scholarship that would pay up to $5,000 a year. She would also re- ceive mentorship for the length of her education; help finding other scholar- ships, grants and funding; assistance with school paperwork and with find- ing lodging and paying for textbooks. Upon receiving her bachelor’s de- gree in 2014, Sandoval became Future Sacramento’s first student to complete the program and graduate college. “When students have the ability to overcome their obstacles, that’s when they succeed,” says Future Sacra- mento’s executive director, Elizabeth Marlow. She says the funding means more than just money to the students, it also “relieves a pressure and gives