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$27,500 in College Scholarships Given to OC Bar Foundation Program Participants - May 20

COSTA MESA, Calif., May 11, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The 22 high school seniors graduating from the Higher Education Mentoring Program won't just be celebrating completion of the 18-month educational and cultural mentoring program for Hispanic, low-income, first generation Santa Ana college-bound students, they will be getting scholarships ranging from $1000-$1500 each plus a "college starter kit" with all dorm room supplies, bedding, backpack, and more valued at $570, at the Orange County Bar Foundation Higher Education Mentoring Program Graduation keynoted by the Honorable Francisco F. Firmat (ret.), May 20, 5-8pm, Chuck Jones Center, 3321 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa.

With over $1M in scholarships awarded since inception in 2002, 60 graduates of the program now holding BA or BS degrees, and another 90 currently in a 4-year institution, the Higher Education Mentoring Program is a success story serving an area with only a 21% rate of college attendance.

Says Chris Wesierski, OCBF 2015 Board President, "This year, one of our biggest scholarship funding sources discontinued funding new scholarships. To fill the funding gap, our board and our food and wine society members very generously stepped up so that students may continue to have a bright future ahead."

The $27,500 from the newly formed OCBF Youth Empowered for Success Scholarships are coming from many of the strongest leaders of the Orange County community directly including the M. Alim Malik secured Jackson DeMarco Tidus Peckenpaugh Kick Start Program scholarships, plus the support of individuals Gary and Carolyn McKitterick, Brain and Dianne Daucher, Mark and Cathy Erickson, Mark E. Minyard, Gregory and Ericka Rizio, Pat and Judy Ryan, Jim and James Skorheim, Eric Traut, Robert and Kristen Whalen, Cheryl Bame and Nathaniel Slavin, Steven and Angie Card, Timothy and Lyn Carlyle, Kenneth Curtis, Dennis and Mary Ghan, John and Susie Hurlbut, Collie and Monica James, Kyle and Cheryl Kawakami, Michael and Cindy Maguire, Donald Morrow and Judy Johnson, William and Theresa O'Hare, Jarritt and Erin Ruff, Alan and Maria Stearns, Jared and Teresa Toffer, Christopher and Maureen Wesierski, and Dean and Estee Zipser.

Says one scholarship applicant, Geovanna Medel, "I have always struggled with having to do homework from borrowed computers…this scholarship could help me pay for the tool I will be using most in college."

ABOUT THE ORANGE COUNTY BAR FOUNDATION: Keeping at-risk youth in school, healthy, and drug-free through education, counseling, mentoring, and family strengthening, OCBF supports healthy families and communities by addressing youth risk factors at an early age and by building the capacity of local service systems. Through longstanding partnerships that employ evidence-based practices, our experienced, bilingual staff promotes positive results, often giving youth a second chance. http://www.ocbarfoundation.org

ABOUT THE HIGHER EDUCATION MENTORING PROGRAM: Providing low-income Hispanic high school students with the academic, social, and financial support needed to graduate from high school and succeed in college, accomplished largely through the support of young professionals or college-student mentors. http://www.ocbarfoundation.org/programs/higher_education_mentoring_program.html

CONTACT: Jess Block Nerren, 909-706-8525, jess@feltenmedia.com

Source:Orange County Bar Foundation