Since the program’s inception in 2004, SFF has awarded $630,000 in college scholarships to Houston area youth. The Scholarship Celebration is our way of bringing the SFF family together to celebrate the accomplishments of our Scholars over the past year.
It is also a great way to bring our nominating partners together, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, KIPP Public Charter Schools, Pro-Vision Academy and YES Prep Public Schools, who we rely on greatly to connect us with the scholarship applicants.
Learn more about the value of our partners by the words of our Scholars in the following video:
This year’s celebration kicked off with a TopGolf competition. John Dyess, whose wife Frances serves on the SFF Scholarship Committee, took home the top honor with a score of 194 and his team, including Scholars Tashara Parker and Jordan Bonner, took home the team trophy with an average score of 91. Check out the photo gallery from the event HERE to see some awesome and not so awesome golf swings!
Each year at the Celebration, we honor a Boys & Girls Club staff member or volunteer who went above and beyond his or her duties in the past year to inspire youth. The award is named after Dr. Calvin Avant, who has mentored Steve since a young age and has spent his life giving back to and inspiring youth. The recipient this year is Donovan Jackson, Club Director Richmond-Rosenberg Boys & Girls Club.
Donovan has helped the Steve Francis Foundation with the scholarship program and our many holiday extravaganza events for many years. In this past year as Club Director, Donovan reached five times as many youth in the community as the prior year. Second year scholar Alex Goodwin, who has witnessed Donovan in action as his long-time mentee, read a very touching letter from Dr. Avant, including the recognition that Donovan “embodies a true passion in advancing the cause of helping young people to become awesome and successful men and women.” Perhaps the most inspirational message about Donovan came from the nominator, Larry Washington, who shared “So many time we go to work each day with the hope of making it through the day or to the end of the week. Donovan comes to work each day with the hope of impacting more young people just like Alex. I’m inspired by his passion, his unwavering effort and the fact that he does it day in and day out with a smile.” We were lucky to have three prior award winners in attendance as well showing their support: Ms. T from Spring Branch Club and Carol Freeman and Coach Stephens from the Johnny Mitchell Club.
It was quite an evening, capped off by the presentation of special gifts to four of our scholars who recently graduated and received their college degrees. Please read more about our graduates Grecia Arreola, Tiashana Edwards, Joshua Glover and Malcolm Simpson HERE.
To end the evening, we introduced our seven new scholars and provided them with a gift including a kite to remind them to Soar To New Heights. You may read about our fantastic class of 2015 Scholars Jordan Bonner, Brandon Olvera, Alondra Ortiz, Armando Ortiz and Sarah Richard from KIPP Public Charter Schools and Malachi Connor and Lyric Gonzalez from the Boys & Girls Clubs HERE.
It was a competitive and fun evening with our special guests, partners, Scholars, friends, and family members. We even learned a few things our scholars dislike doing during the icebreaker game, including yoga, sky diving, swimming, and cheering for the Texans (from a Cowboys fan!). Our Scholars are doing wonderful things in Houston and around the world. With the help of our extended partners and supporters, we look forward to next year’s Celebration and will keep pushing the SFF Family to Soar to New Heights!