When Silvia Salguero was a student at Fairfax High School, she never envisioned the impact that one small scholarship would have on her life.
Salguero, a 2009 recipient of the West Hollywood Youth Scholarship, finished her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of California, Riverside last year, and is now working on her master’s degree in social work at the University of Southern California (USC).
During that time, she has served as an intern in former West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath’s office and today is a member of the city’s Women’s Advisory Board.
“I believe the Youth Scholarship created the start of my civic involvement before I even went off to college,” Salguero said. “I look back and see the girl that started this journey to the woman I am now, which means more than words can describe.”
The West Hollywood Youth Scholarship Program was established in 2007 to encourage and support high school seniors and recent GED recipients who are residents of West Hollywood to pursue their post-secondary education.
Recipients of the scholarships must perform at least 150 hours of community service and are awarded $1,500 to be used for any expenses associated with the pursuit of post-secondary education. Since its inception, 24 young adults – including Salguero – have received scholarships. While the program is sponsored by the City of West Hollywood, funding for the scholarships comes entirely from individual and community donations.
Salguero completed her community service hours through her school’s KIWIN’s club (also known as Key Club International at some schools).
“It was a club that really valued volunteering and service within communities,” she said. Salguero was involved in several direct service projects, and said “those were great times, but the most valuable was the opportunity to run for a club position. I think the whole process created the leadership instincts in me that I didn’t know I had. That was the start of wanting to become more invested in my service to others. It was a valuable experience and I would recommend any student to look at their school to see if there is a club there.”
Salguero has continued to look for ways to give back to her community, and specifically, to her city.
“I met many people at City Hall who continue to be a great support to me to this day. I went away for four years, but attended different (city) events and programs when I had the opportunity. Before I graduated at UC Riverside, I decided to apply to be on the Women’s Advisory Board since I wanted to become more involved in order to give back,” she said. “The board has definitely opened new doors in my life and has shown me that my work on the board is more connected to my education than I knew. In my master’s program for social work, we learn about policy and what an impact it has to social services and communities. I have had the chance to learn about it in a classroom and see the process hands-on.”
The City of West Hollywood is currently accepting applications for the 2014 scholarships. Applications and guidelines are available online and at West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer. Applications are due by April 30. For more information, contact Corey Roskin at (323) 848-6403 or email@example.com.