- Financial Assistance
Isaac Davis-Silverstein admits that growing up in wealthy Marin County was, at times, a struggle—he often felt like he had so much less than others did. During his high school years, he was acutely aware of the extravagance around him. Soon, however, he began to realize that his experience was not a shortcoming, but rather a strength.
“Not having everything given to me as a child helped me learn to appreciate the things I do have,” Isaac explains. Isaac felt that he could empathize with people in a way that some of his peers could not, and he began to gravitate towards helping others.
Isaac excelled in school and regularly volunteered with JFCS to assemble holiday bags for seniors in need. He also participated in service learning and the summer internship program through JFCS’ YouthFirst program for teens.
With his impressive track record, it should not have been a surprise to Isaac when he received a call from JFCS to tell him he was one of two teens to win the prestigious Vivienne S. Camp Scholarship this year.
Students Achieve Their Dreams
Fulfilling our educational and vocational goals is one of life’s most empowering and impactful objectives. Each year, JFCS’ Financial Aid Center helps hundreds of students achieve their dreams by providing low-interest loans and scholarships that enable them to go to college.
The Vivienne S. Camp Scholarship, which Isaac was awarded along with classmate Tea Kaiser, is a special grant funded by a generous donor to one male and one female student each year. Scholarship requirements include academic excellence, a strong focus on Jewish community involvement, acceptance to a California college, and a financial need.
The sizable scholarship ($29,456 to each student, disbursed over four years) means that they can spend their time in college focused on their studies and pursuing their personal goals.
Turning Struggles into Strengths
Isaac feels guided by the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. As an incoming freshman at San Diego State University this year, he plans to focus his studies on science and his spare time in pursuit of social justice.
“Having the ability to spread forward-thinking ideals is equally as important as having them,” says Isaac. “Learning from my hardships and mistakes along the way has helped me to become the best person that I can be.”
Acknowledging the many sacrifices his family has made so he can go to college, Isaac is grateful for the opportunity he has ahead of him. “I’m very thankful for this scholarship through JFCS, which will help ease the financial burden for my family and for me, so I can focus on my studies.”
A Circle of Giving
Tea Kaiser, this year’s other recipient of the Viven S. Camp scholarship, was overjoyed when she got the call from JFCS’ Financial Aid Center. Tea is quick to emphasize that she plans to use this opportunity to create tools for social change—from filming documentaries to passing legislation—in college at UC Davis this fall.
Tea, who was raised by a single mother in Marin County, is driven by her passion and activism. She was a four-year member of YMCA’s Youth and Government: Issues and Activism Committee, and a student council class representative.
Though Jewish culture fascinated Tea as a child, she didn’t fully embrace Judaism until she held a summer internship through JFCS’ YouthFirst. Learning about Tzedakah and tikkum olam, Tea realized that these deeply held values were a bigger part of her than she’d realized.
Tea started volunteering for various non-profits, including the Daraja Academy, an organization that helps young, uneducated women from third-world countries get an education. She became the Founder and President of her high school’s Club Daraja, leading her club to raise over $10,000 each year so women in Kenya can attend high school.
“Not only was I able to help girls around the world, I got to show my peers how to fundraise and spread awareness of important issues like education inequality,” Tea says. Her dedication to helping others in need shapes Tea’s vision for life on campus—she plans to attend the campus Hillel, volunteer in the community, and bring students together around the causes they care about.
“Receiving the Vivian Camp Scholarship allows me to continue making an impact,” she says.
“Thank you, thank you to the JFCS community for this incredible gift.”
JFCS’ Financial Aid Center is dedicated to helping young people achieve their goals through educational loans and grants. The center is also providing hundreds of thousands of dollars in no-interest pandemic emergency loans to those who have been impacted by COVID-19.
Partial funding for the JFCS scholarship program is provided by generous individual support, foundation grants, and named endowment funds.