Ana Maria Sauthoff wrote -
I wanted to take a moment of your time to talk to you about the amazing students I have the privilege to work with every day. Since you know me pretty well, you know my passion is to create educational opportunities for students, something I am dedicating my life to.
Here at SMART I work with low-income students starting in the 5th grade. We support our students academically, socially, and emotionally until they graduate from high school and successfully enroll in a 4 year university. They are placed in a private school during their middle school years, and receive a world-class education that they would not have had access to in their community.
We continue to support them in high school as well, providing college counseling and a variety of other supports to ensure that they are on the right path to a 4 year university. I specifically work with the 9th-12th grade students, making sure they complete their college applications, understand the college application process, have access to test prep and tutors, and take them on college tours - often the first time they set foot on a college campus. Most importantly, I work with them to discover their gifts and talents to figure out just how awesome they really are and who they can become when they grow up!
It is incredibly moving to see the empowerment, confidence, and tremendous social awareness that our students develop because of the experiences SMART is able to provide. More so, they return to their homes and communities with the expectation that they WILL go to college and that they have the tools to make that dream a reality.
These students truly are the next generation of leaders, understanding themselves and how our society works - and actively seeking ways to change the world and inspire those around them!
Nationwide, only 25% of low-income students enroll directly in a four-year college directly out of high school, and by age 24, only 8% of those students have earned a college degree. Together we can stop this trend and give low-income students the opportunity to thrive. SMART relies on funding from foundations and individuals like me and you! If you can help out by giving any amount, it will make the difference in the life of a deserving student and their family.
Every little bit counts. Whether it's $10 or $100, what matters is the act of giving, and supporting our communities that do not have access to an education that will break the cycle of poverty.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and happy holidays!
With love and gratitude,