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Nonprofit Spotlight: Cal-SOAP

South County Cal-SOAP Consortium

The California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) is a statewide program established in 1978, designed to increase the number of students attending college. This pre-college program serves elementary, middle, high school, and college students who are from low-income families, the first in their family to attend college, or from schools with low eligibility/college participation rates.

South County Cal-SOAP Consortium (SCCC) was established in October of 2003 by the current director Erin C. Gemar and serves four local school districts from Morgan Hill to as far south as Hollister; including families from Rebekah’s Children’s Services (RCS) in Gilroy, CA. Within the first year of the Project, SCCC expanded to 12 schools in 4 districts. In 2020, South County Cal-SOAP changed fiscal agents and joined the Rebekah Children’s Services family. SCCC staff provide college, career, and financial aid-related services on 20 school campuses, including the RCS Gilroy campus, where our new College Access Center is now located, and open to the community! While all students and families are welcome to access Cal-SOAP services, 11th and 12th graders are especially encouraged to utilize our office hours:

M: 12-5; T: 8-8; W-Sat: by appt.

The SCCC team currently offers empowering college access programs at strategic grade levels within the K-12 community. These programs and activities include:

  • College & Financial Aid Application Completion support (including Parent workshops)
  • In-Class and After School Academic Mentoring
  •  College & Career advisement for Middle and High school students
  • College Tours (both virtual & in-person
  • Summer Programs for 6th, 9th, and 12th graders
  • College: Making it Happen (CMIH), a college awareness program for 7th & 8th graders
  • I’m Going to College (IGTC), a pre-college awareness program for 5th grader
  • Employment opportunities for current college students

While serving underrepresented youth and hard-to-reach families, our team offers college knowledge, access, and pathways into the higher education systems. As a member of the Rebekah Children’s Services Family, we are committed to seeing all individuals in our community flourish, by building pathways to hope, happiness, and well-being. SCCC’s mission is to create educated communities one unrepresented student at a time.

2023 marks South County Cal-SOAP’s 20th year serving our South Bay community. It has been a tremendous honor to work with students, families, and educators throughout the past 20 years to help create a college-going culture in the schools we serve and serve their communities in a positive way.

In 2023, South County Cal-SOAP had 39 High School Seniors apply to our annual Scholarship. We are excited to announce the scholarship winners in May and will invite outstanding awardees to our annual AlumNight celebration on June 22nd, 2023 at Little Uvas Vineyard (LUV) Winery in San Martin. Our annual fundraiser will include mariachi music, food, wine, raffles, and a wine pull. All donations during our AlumNight event go towards next year’s scholarship fund.

We look forward to the next twenty years and hope to see our community members at AlumNight on June 22nd, 2023! (Tickets will be on sale in April!)

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