Feb. 23, 2017
A new scholarship will support high-need, undergraduate students from Santa Ana at Biola University. Named after Biola alumnus and KidWorks founder, Larry Acosta, the scholarship aims to make college affordable for students from low-income urban neighborhoods.
Aiming to restore at-risk neighborhoods one life at a time, Acosta, an Orange County resident, whom graduated with his Masters in Divinity from Biola in 1988, founded KidWorks in Santa Ana — a non-profit organization doing just that. The non-profit creates an atmosphere where kids in Santa Ana learn to build character strengths and educational skills that will positively impact their lives and in turn, impact the community.
KidWorks’ first student to obtain a master’s degree was Gabi Cova, whom obtained her undergraduate degree from Biola, and went on to complete a Master’s in Education from Biola. She now teaches and works at KidWorks in Santa Ana — home of the lowest performing schools in Orange County.
Part of Kidworks’ partnership plan is to maximize results by joining with key individuals, volunteers, churches, businesses, foundations and agencies in order to best serve the community. In partnering with Biola University, The Larry Acosta Scholarship hopes to meet the needs of candidates who also demonstrate community involvement in low-income and urban neighborhoods and that possess a financial need based on FAFSA results.
“KidWorks and Biola partnered to honor Larry’s contribution to both Biola and KidWorks, and to solidify the long-standing relationship between Biola and KidWorks,” said Steve Smith, KidWorks development director. “It fulfills one of our core values of providing quality education to at-risk students, while fulfilling two of Biola’s aspirations of increasing the diversity of their student body, and providing an affordable college education.”
KidWorks will partner with Biola to help identify low-income, ethnic minority, urban youth to qualify for the scholarship. To qualify they must meet those criteria, plus meet all of Biola’s academic qualifications. Scholarship nominees can come from KidWorks, Biola’s Admissions and Advancement departments, as well as other sources, but final decisions on award-winners will rest with Biola’s Financial Aid department.
Awards will initially range from $1,000 to $2,500. Funding for the restricted scholarship will come from a variety of sources of fundraising each year including KidWorks and Biola University. Biola will inaugurate the scholarship this Spring. The scholarship is a greatly anticipated accomplishment for both the local and Biola community it will serve.
KidWorks, founded in 1993, serves 330 kids daily and more than 1,000 family and community members each year offering “cradle-to-career” continuum of services from pre-school to college graduation. The organization offers tutoring, mentoring, Christian spiritual development, gang prevention, college prep, and health and fitness programs as well as offering adult classes that complement the grade their child is in, as they believe parents are the first educators and a strong home life will better prepare the child for success.
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