Stanford University’s Youth Academic College Conference

Most Outstanding Philanthropic Program: Stanford University’s Youth Academic College Conference

Provide a detailed description of the philanthropic program and the population it served. Details MUST include: date of event, number of participants, program purpose (goals, objectives, etc.), use of resources (finances, community support, etc.), marketing techniques and evaluation processes.

Title: Youth Academic College Conference
Date: Feb. 18 to Feb 19
# of Participants: 32 High School Students & 20 Stanford Students

Goal: Provide high school students, most of whom are low-income and first generation students, with resources, mentorship, and exposure to the college environment in order to ensure a successful transition into college.
Resources: Worked with Stanford Admissions officers, Financial Aid Office advisers, and Questbridge ambassadors to host workshops. Recruited Stanford undergraduate and graduate students to be workshop leaders, panelists, mentors, and volunteers.
Marketing: Reached out to high school counselors via email, contacted program alumni (students who have attended the conference in previous years) to share with their classmates and peers.
Evaluation process: written feedback surveys at the end of the program.

What motivated the organization to host the philanthropic program? What efforts were used to motivate and involve the organization’s members?

The event began as a personal desire of a Stanford VSA alum to give back to her community and promote educational equity. Each year, Stanford VSA strives to expand and improve the program through increased outreach and updated resources. Our organization strives to support under-resourced communities by focusing on empowering and educating the youth in our local community, especially the Vietnamese-American youth. Many of the workshops were led by Stanford students and volunteers who were motivated by their own positive mentorship experiences and their desire to connect with and support high school students with whom they share similar backgrounds and experiences.

How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the cultural program?

Due to changes in institutional policies regarding events with minors, there were difficulties organizing a place for students to stay overnight. However, Stanford VSA regularly met with administration to solve these issues and eventually partnered with Okada, Stanford‘s Asian American themed dorm to host the students. Additionally, we received around 60 applications from high school students, but we could accommodate no more than 32 students because of a shortage of space and volunteer availability. Thus, a stricter selection process was implemented.

What was the outcome of the program in terms of goals met, successes, and failures?

This year, Stanford VSA added additional events to the program, such as a talk with Questbridge representatives, a stress management workshop, and attendance at a Stanford a cappella concert. Some of the previous Youth Academic College Conference attendees have also been admitted to Stanford and came back to help for this event. Several high school students from Sacramento, which is two hours by car from Stanford, attended the conference, which was unprecedented. Attendees stated in their feedback forms that they wished the conference had lasted longer.