- Financial Assistance
When Ashley Ashkinos was 12 years old, she longed to attend a Jewish entrepreneurial camp. Unfortunately, the tuition was not in her family’s budget, so Ashley decided to raise funds on her own. She sold lemonade, created a crowdfunding campaign, and quickly raised $2,500 within a few weeks.
Realizing that there may be other kids struggling to afford the camp too, Ashley continued her campaign and raised an additional $10,000, which she donated to award scholarships to other kids with financial needs.
Today, Ashley’s heart and fortitude are being recognized—this summer, she was selected as one of JFCS’ two 2021 Vivienne S. Camp College Scholarship winners, each to receive over $30,000 to attend college in the fall.
Putting Higher Education into Reach
The Vivienne S. Camp Scholarship is a special grant funded by a generous donor to two students each year. Scholarship requirements include academic excellence, a strong focus on Jewish community involvement, acceptance to a California college, and a financial need.
Dylan Leifer-Ives, the other outstanding student to receive this year’s Camp scholarship, explains his Jewish values in analogy to a coin: “On one side of the coin is an empty visage of the desert; on the other side is a beautiful waterfall,” Dylan says. “Just as there are two sides to a coin, there are two sides to being Jewish—on one side, there are the adversities, the oppression, and the obstacles that we have had to overcome. The other side represents freedom, hope, and how we then help others.”
Dylan sees it as his moral obligation to practice the principle of tikkun olam. He says, “I try my best to help others through their deserts; to do what I can to make the world a better place, and to never forget about the other side of the coin.”
Following Their Passions
Ashley is pursuing a degree in Game Design and Game Art at UC Santa Cruz, entering with an impressive 4.17 GPA from Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco.
Ashley’s outstanding gaming ability led her to become an Ambassador to Noxcrew (Minecraft creators), and to be selected as part of a Minecraft marketplace team called RASA studios, where she works as an artist/game designer. This year, Ashley also joined a high school Aerospace Flight Club that is designing the structure of a new ultra-light aircraft. She is looking forward to her passion becoming her career!
“The scholarship will really reduce the financial pressures on my family and will mean that I will end up with significantly fewer loans when I graduate,” says Ashley. “It’s incredible and a real honor that I was chosen for such an important scholarship.”
Dylan a self-described “geek who loves to learn,” is a graduate of Archie Williams High School, where he was part of the DaVinci program—a Small Learning Community (SLC) which focuses on project-based learning. Dylan took eight classes every year of high school, finishing with a 4.03 weighted GPA. His hard work and love of math and science are why Dylan is so excited to be attended Cal Poly’s School of Engineering this year.
“This scholarship will enable me to attain the college experience of my dreams,” Dylan says. “I am infinitely grateful—you all, without a doubt, have changed my life.”
Since 1850, JFCS’ Loans and Grants Program has been supported by generous individuals, foundations, the business community, and JFCS‘ Named Endowment Funds. Special Pandemic Crisis Recovery Funds are made possible by The Shmunis Family Revolving Loan Fund, Kathy Fields-Rayant & Garry Rayant, The Makagon Family Revolving Loan Fund, and The Alexander S. Foundation. Additional Pandemic Recovery Funds are needed. To find out more about how to help, please contact Barbara Farber at [email protected] or 415-449-3858.