Up Through Education Summit Participants
This is why we do what we do. With the right kind of help at the right time, lives change dramatically for the better. And the ripple effect can only be imagined. Please enjoy reading about a few of the many determined individuals we are honored to support.
ON THE ROAD to SUCCESS
When you first meet Shari Walker, you cannot help but smile. Between her bubbly personality and infectious laugh, it’s hard to believe that Shari’s journey in life has been so challenging. A native of Los Angeles, Shari couldn’t always rely on getting support from where we need it most: family. After suffering years of abuse, she was finally placed in the foster care system at the age of 15.
After high school Shari “aged out” of the foster care system and was out on her own. Determined to not end up as a statistic (80% of children who age out of foster care end up homeless), Shari successfully enrolled in college and began the next phase of her life. But living on her own without any support system was a daunting challenge.
But that’s when Shari found her way to United Friends of the Children (UFC) and two new mentors — Niki Williams and Stephanie Day Everett. Through UFC’s programs and her mentors’ inspired passion and commitment, Shari was able to get her life on track. Williams helped Shari focus on her transition out of foster care, while Everett taught Shari essential life skills. In 2017, Shari graduated from Cal State, Northridge, with a degree in African American Studies, with an emphasis in Social Science. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work at USC and is working part-time at All Ways Up, helping scholarship recipients navigate through the challenges they face as low-income, first-generation college students. Bringing things full circle, Shari is also interning at UFC to complete required hours for her Master's.
Shari has been invited to speak all over the country and has received numerous awards for her work with foster youth. She might be small, but her message is mighty!
“Shari has done all the right things in the face of unimaginable adversity. The goal of our foundation is to help people who are equally committed to help themselves and Shari exemplifiesthat,” said Greg Perlman, Founder of ALL WAYS UP. The possibilities for her life are endless.”
The BMYA began at Morningside High School in 2006 to address the alarming high-murder and dropout rates of black males at the school. The BMYA's year-long curriculum combines a community-based approach, research and basic academic support, to train students on how to improve community conditions. Youth are committed to turning their research into action and, as a result. Since 2006, the BMYA has worked with hundreds of youg men, achieving an incredible 100% high school graduation rate over the past two years.
ALL WAYS UP salutes the Social Justice Learning Institute and its innovative approach to improve the community. For more information about the Social Justice Learning Institute, please go to www.sjli.org.
LaIndia Santos-Phillips grew up in PK Management housing in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania. The schools in her neighborhood were under resourced and under-performing. But, LaIndia was given the opportunity to attend a high achieving middle school in New Jersey where she was placed in the gifted and talented program. She excelled in school and when she was 16, she traveled to the Dominican Republic as a volunteer with the Amigos de Las Americas. It was her experience there that sparked her interest in helping young women in developing countries access quality education.
LaIndia was first introduced to All Ways Up the summer before she started her-post secondary education at Widener University. She was one of the first recipients of an All Ways Up Scholarship and her first trip to Los Angeles for the annual leadership workshop was transformative. The Summit helped her gain the confidence and ambition to successfully navigate through college. LaIndia returned for the next three summers as a counselor and helped pay it forward for the younger students.
LaIndia excelled in her academics during college and was involved in a variety of clubs, honor societies, and Greek life. She left a lasting legacy at Widener, graduating summa cum lade. In the fall of 2018, LaIndia will continue her academic journey at the University of Pennsylvania, where she will be working towards her Masters of Science in International Education Development.
Meet Brockston Blount, a recent graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and a member of the All Ways Up Scholar class of 2018. Brockston grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and when he was selected as a scholar, he made his first trip to the west coast. Attending the All Ways Up Summit was a life changing experience for him. He was so thrilled to meet students from all over the country who had similar fears and questions about going to college. The Summit helped Brockston step out of his comfort zone and gave him some invaluable tools to navigate college. The scholarship he received from All Ways Up while he was in college provided Brockston with the means to pay for books, medical expenses and groceries.
Brockston graduated from college last spring with a degree in Computer Engineering. The networking skills he developed at the Summit, helped him secure internships throughout his college career, including GE Aviation, First Citizen’s Bank and IBM. He is currently working as a technical consultant at IBM in the Android Development Department creating android applications for clients. Congratulations, Brockston!