Student Success Stories

 

Denver Scholarship Fund: Re-Engagement Initiative Outreach Story for: My Degree Matters Colorado website

June 10, 2014

Student: Abraham Shimanga (2009 cohort)

Abraham Shimanga graduated from South High School in 2009.  Upon graduation he decided to attend Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSUP), and he also received the Denver Scholarship Foundation Scholarship (DSF). He attended CSUP from Fall 2009 to Spring 2011, but eventually had to leave college, as he could no longer afford to attend, which was linked directly to his academic performance.  As a result of failing grades, he was placed on academic suspension, making him ineligible for financial aid and the DSF Scholarship, and thus, he could no longer afford to attend college.  He immediately joined the workforce and has been working ever since to try and pay back what he still owes CSUP.

Fast-forward to Spring 2014, The Denver Scholarship Foundation launched the Re-Engagement Initiative, which includes phone, text, and email outreach to the 1200+ stopped-out DSF Scholars, in partnership with the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) at Community College of Denver (CCD), which has expertise in helping students re-enter college. On May 1, Abraham received a phone call from a DSF Volunteer named Jeremiah. Jeremiah discussed Abraham’s past college experience with him and his current barriers to returning. Jeremiah let Abraham know that DSF wants to see him finish his college degree and that we are here to support him. This simple act of receiving a phone call, of someone reaching out to him and caring, was the spark he needed!  With enthusiasm, Abraham told Jeremiah that he really wanted to return to college, but just didn’t know how. Jeremiah provided him with DSF’s and EOC’s resources and contact information.   Abraham thanked Jeremiah for the phone call and told him, "This was the best thing that has happened to me in 3 years!"

On May 7 Jeremiah followed up by calling the EOC. Lisa, an EOC advisor, spoke with Abraham over the phone about returning to college.  He told Lisa that he would like to return this coming Fall 2014, if possible;  "Of course, it's possible!” Lisa told him. ┬áHe made an appointment to meet with Lisa the following week.

On May 14 Abraham attended his appointment at the EOC, at which time he applied for admission at the Community College of Aurora (CCA) for the Fall 2014, filed his FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and researched institutional and external scholarship opportunities.  Lisa then provided him with supplementary resources to make the re-enrollment process less daunting: “Steps to Enrollment” workshop from CCA, how to request transcripts from CSU-P and how to have a CCA Advisor review them.

Abraham's new goal is to attend the Community College of Aurora, where he feels the smaller environment of a community college will provide him with more support.  He plans to major in Information Technology, while incorporating both Graphic Design and Photography. He will finish his prerequisite classes at CCA and then will transfer to a 4-year college to earn his Bachelor's degree.



Boundless Opportunity Scholar


Alice Boyle started college in 1978 and transferred to Regis University Spring 2009 after attending several colleges including Front Range Community College.  She completed her BA in Liberal Arts at Regis University in Spring 2014.  Not only did Ali graduate Magna Cum Laude, she was the Spring 2014 commencement benediction speaker.  She lives in Boulder and is a sign language interpreter for deaf children in the public school system.  She is grateful for three very influential people at Regis, Rene DeAnda, her advisor, and Jim Walsh and Tom Shugrue, CPS Affiliate Faculty.  Without them, she would not have finished her degree.  She is also very grateful to the Daniels Fund for their support of her education at Regis.