Success Stories

Thalia Jauregui – I want others to know that they can break the cycle.

thalia J

In high school I got thyroid cancer.  After an operation, it took months to recover.  But I wanted to keep moving forward.  I’d grown up in Oakland around gang violence.  In 8th grade I witnessed a murder.  I wanted something different for my life. Being a Great Expectations Scholar provided a path. Without East Bay College Fund I wouldn’t be on track to earning a college degree.  East Bay College Fund gave me the motivation I needed to go forward and give my family hope. Mentors are the … Read More »

Shavonnee Clark – I’ll return to Oakland to work with Teach for America.

Shavonnee Clark

"A big part of believing in myself is because so many others believed in me." I grew up in the flatlands of Oakland, raised by a single mother.  At 16, my brother and I found our father’s body in his home: he’d been murdered. This was life changing. Witnessing the devaluing of my father’s existence had a profound impact on me. I saw education as the way to be the change desperately needed in my community.  For the remainder of my high school career I worked hard academically to ensure … Read More »

Krsna Avila – I’ll be fighting for the betterment of all of our futures.

Krsna Avila

I do not believe in the words “give up.” Growing up, I didn’t think college was an option. I didn’t know anyone who’d been to college. It was when I applied for college that I discovered I was undocumented.  My parents had brought me from Mexico when I was months old; they never told me I was undocumented. I am American. I knew nothing about Mexico. I couldn’t get financial aid, but I couldn’t work either. Most scholarships are out of reach for undocumented students, but East Bay … Read More »

Kristal Raheem – Leading by example

Kristal Raheem Heart

Distinguishing herself as a club president and co-founder, leader, and activist at Sonoma State University, Kristal Raheem was recognized as the recipient of the "Scholar Standout for Leadership" award at East Bay College Fund's 2013 Winter Retreat. After conducting research on the retention and graduation rates of black students at SSU, Kristal founded Nu Beta Mu, a professional network that links black students, leaders, and organizations on campus. Nu Beta Mu is designed to keep black … Read More »

Jameil Butler – From Victim of Gun Violence to College Advisor and Role Model


College Advisor for East Bay College Fund, featured on KQED Perspectives: “Jameil Butler’s life was heading south until mentors showed him a better way.” I grew up in Oakland, in a community plagued by violence and crime. In the 11th grade, when I was a star football player, I was a victim of a drive-by shooting. I lost a kidney, along with the opportunity at obtaining a football scholarship. As a result I thought my chances of going to college were shot. But with the support of everyone … Read More »

Bersabel Woldemariam – From the Horrors of War to Pre-Med Student, Leader and Peer Mentor

Bersabel Woldemariam

Escaping an inevitable future as a soldier in war torn Eritrea, Bersabel fled to the US in 10th grade, connected with East Bay College Fund and is now helping her peers to succeed in college. She herself aspires to be a doctor. As a graduating senior majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California Davis, Bersabel Woldemariam is always on the go.  In the process of applying to medical schools for next year, we are proud to say that Bersabel is also the leader of … Read More »