The desire to make the world a better place—tikkun olam—runs deeply in the veins of Yolanda Anyon’s family. “We grew up with stories of my grandfather, who was a labor activist,” she says, “and I heard from my parents about their anti-war activities during the Viet Nam era. I learned that working toward justice was part of a struggle rooted in the Jewish tradition.”
Today, Yolanda carries on her family’s proud tradition. After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in ethnic studies that focused on civil rights, she worked with community-based organizations in the East Bay, helping to develop youth leadership and after-school programs, as well as a comprehensive health center at an inner-city high school in Oakland.
When Yolanda was accepted into the joint MSW/PhD program at the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley, the biggest challenge she faced was financing. She overcame this hurdle with the support of JFCS’ Financial Aid Center.
“I don’t know how I could have gotten through the MSW program without it,” says Yolanda, who has entered into the doctoral phase of her academic work. “There are few grants for master’s degree students. The JFCS grant and loan allowed me to survive and focus on my studies. Otherwise, I would have had to have taken on two jobs.
“The help from JFCS makes me feel that someone believes in me,” she continues, “that I’m doing something worthwhile.”
Taylor Epstein; 415-359-2463; TaylorE@jfcs.org