The Future Is Bright for College-Bound JFCS Scholarship Winners
  • Education
  • Financial Assistance
  • Youth

When Alex Ike got the call letting him know he’d been chosen to receive a scholarship through JFCS’ Financial Aid Center he almost fell out of his chair. He says, “I called my mother immediately, and she practically screamed … we were both ecstatic.” The same excitement and relief were palpable at the home of seventeen year old Simone Leibowitz after learning that she would also be a recipient of a $26,000 scholarship to be disbursed over four years.

Scholarship, Jewish, JFCS

Scholarship winners, Simone Leibowitz and Alex Ike

The JFCS Financial Aid Center’s Loans and Grants Committee reviewed applications from Bay Area high school seniors as part of a competitive process to award the Vivienne S. Camp Scholarship, a special grant funded by a generous donor to one male and one female student. Scholarship requirements included: academic excellence, being raised in a Jewish home with a strong focus on Jewish community involvement, acceptance to a California college, and a financial need.

Educational loans and grants are just one component of how JFCS prepares teens to succeed as young adults. JFCS’ YouthFirst provides innovative programming to support tweens and teens as they learn the necessary life skills to be active, community-minded citizens. Academic and social support, college preparation, paid internships, counseling, Holocaust education, and Jewish service learning are all integral ways kids get prepared to move forward into the next life steps of college and career planning.

The scholarship winners couldn’t have been more different in personality or academic aim, yet Michelle Lamphere, Director of JFCS’ Financial Aid Center, says, “Both Simone and Alex excelled academically, are deeply rooted in their Jewish communities, and are very focused on their career goals.”

This fall Simone will be attending Weber Honors College at San Diego State University. She plans to earn a BS in Accounting and pursue a career as a Certified Public Accountant conducting external audits. Simone is laser-focused on accounting because of her interest in finance and the job stability the field offers. She adds, “I love to travel and a job as an auditor will let me see the world.”

Simone’s mother is a two-time cancer survivor, and as a single mother raising two children she is the most inspiring figure in Simone’s life. Simone is an adoptee who was placed with her mother at 13 months old and she takes pride in being Jewish and of Chinese descent. She looks forward to joining the Hillel of San Diego Chapter and baking for their Challah for Hunger events which raise awareness for social justice issues.

Alex is headed to Sonoma State University where he wants to earn a BA in Music, with a concentration in Music Education, to pursue a career as a K-12 music teacher. Alex is a versatile musician (Jazz being his favorite genre), and he plays the double bass, piano, violin, and drums. He says, “I want to be an encouraging and fun music teacher who builds kids up and gives them the confidence to be their best.” Alex was a camper at Camp Tawonga, a Jewish summer camp in the Sierras, for seven years. Camp is where he says he learned a lot about Jewish values, which he tries to remember and integrate into his life every day. He will be back at Camp Tawonga this summer as a counselor.

JFCS’ Financial Aid Center is currently accepting loan and grant applications from qualified candidates now through October 31. Michelle Lamphere says that applicants should consider applying once they have been accepted or are currently enrolled in college, vocational training, or other accredited institution of higher learning.

In addition to providing scholarships and loans, JFCS’ Financial Aid Center offers workshops to educate families on how to locate appropriate scholarships and fill out Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms correctly.

“JFCS has helped hundreds of bright young adults like Alex and Simone,” says Michelle, “and I can’t wait to see where their educational pursuits will take them.”

Find out more about JFCS’ Youth Programs >

Partial funding for the JFCS scholarship program is provided by generous individual support, foundation grants, and named endowment funds.

If interested in contributing, please call Barbara Farber at 415-449-3858 or email:

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2016