October was a spectacular month for sports fans at Rocket Lawyer. First of all, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series (go Bumgarner!). But more importantly, we held our first annual Pongtoberfest: a month-long bracketed ping pong tournament amongst coworkers and archrivals — and a smashing success. The best part: we raised over $1,000 through entry fees for an amazing nonprofit organization, Next Generation Scholars!
Congratulations are owed to our beloved Kevin Lowe for winning the singles tournament, and also dominating the doubles tournament with his partner, Jay Mandal.
Kevin: “Small dogs bark the loudest. I’ll just let the scoreboard do the talking for me.
Jay: “Everyone else is playing for 2nd place.”
So why did we choose Next Generation Scholars?
In a nutshell, the goal of Next Generation Scholars is to alleviate poverty. They make it simple and affordable for underserved kids succeed, get a college education, and break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families — and that’s a mission we can get behind!
Kids in the program range from middle school through high school, and meet twice a week after school and on weekends where they learn good study habits, writing skills, and more. Seniors work on their college lists, applications, essays, and financial aid applications. There are volunteer tutors available in every subject as well. The kids spend an average of 8 hours per week at the “Scholar House” in class, getting help, or just hanging out with their friends. In the summer, NGS runs a 6-week Summer Academy where the students can take college level courses, like Epidemiology and Constitutional Law.
Because academic support is not enough to succeed, NGS covers other needs as well. Hundreds of meals are served every week, and there is a food pantry and “free store” where families can get clothes and other basic items. A social service coordinator supports issues like health care, housing, and immigration that can highjack a child’s ability to thrive. A clinical psychologist is on staff to take care of mental health for kids and their families, and volunteer lawyers run free clinics regularly throughout the year. On the fun side, NGS kids take trips to outdoor events, theater, speakers, slam poetry, and other cultural events.
Community involvement is especially important, so every child in the program is tasked with a “community uplift” project they create on their own. Some past and current projects include a community garden, free clothes and toy redistribution, domestic violence outreach and more. Almost every year, one or more NGS students wins the Heart of Marin or MLK Humanitarian award.
100% Success Rate
This all sounds good on paper, but the real proof of Next Generation Scholar’s success is in their numbers:
- 100% of NGS students gain acceptance to 4-year colleges
- 100% are awarded the financial aid they need to attend college
- 97% graduated in 4 years or are on track to.
Next Generation Scholars alumni are currently attending Stanford, U. Penn, Tufts University, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, American University, Brown University, and UC Berkeley.
In the past four years, Next Generation Scholars alumni have attended grad school at: Harvard School of Education, London School of Economics, Stanford Law School, and UCSF Medical School
The best part? Once students graduate from NGS, they never really leave. NGS helps them with internships, jobs, grad school applications, and just life in general.