By Abigail Vidrio (She/Her)
This year, Central Valley Scholars is proud to announce that we are offering a scholarship for students with disabilities!
We define a disability as a condition that impairs(limits) an individual when performing certain activities and/or affects their interactions with their surrounding environment in their day to day life. The conditions include but are not limited to:
The award is one of four scholarships in all of the Central Valley designed to help students who have disabilities in our communities (the other three being the Judy Weigman Scholarship, the Milah Dwight Endowed Scholarship for Women, and the CalTrans District 6 Disability Advisory Committee Scholarship).
With this scholarship, we hope to give students with disabilities the space to share their experience with their physical and or mental disability, highlight the challenges they have overcome or are overcoming, and discover the beauty behind their own stories.
We created this scholarship because there is an undeniable lack of representation and accessible resources for students with disabilities in the Central Valley. Despite there being scholarships for students with disabilities open to all students in the state of California and the U.S., the Central Valley lacks its own set of scholarships for students with disabilities. Although many students in the Central Valley are qualified for these awards, the high volume of applicants make it more difficult for students in the Central Valley to be selected for these awards.
Central Valley Scholars thus aims to ensure our scholarship is accessible to as many students in the Central Valley as possible. In keeping with this spirit, we only have one requirement for this scholarship: being a student with a disability from the Central Valley.
We hope that our scholarship for students with disabilities incentivizes students to pursue their educational goals despite the barriers they face due to their disability. The cost of pursuing higher education is high enough as it is, but can be a bigger burden to an individual with a disability as they might have to pay additional out-of-pocket costs for accommodations and or healthcare expenses. While we are committed to helping alleviate some of these financial burdens as best we can, know that there are resources out there to help in issues beyond monetary-including those provided by us!
When speaking with Jennifer, a current high school student who identifies as a disabled individual, on the topic she stated, “I am beyond happy that this scholarship is being offered to serve our community of students here in the Central Valley. It is amazing seeing more representation and conversations regarding the disabled community because it is helping educate others, fight stigmas, and it highlights us as students who are also capable of succeeding in higher education.”
Program Highlights: New Advances for People with Disabilities and Easter Seals Central California
Two organizations that are doing commendable work with individuals with disabilities are NAPD and Easterseals Central California. They provide services to individuals with disabilities and their families to enhance the quality of life through resources, support and advocacy.
For over 40 years, NAPD - New Advances for People with Disabilities, has been providing activities, programs, and resources to individuals of all ages with a range of disabilities. From high school groups to programs for senior citizens, NAPD is constantly hosting activity-based programs and classes for individuals to take part in. Despite the pandemic, NAPD continues to provide amazing services and programs via Zoom, to continue meeting their client’s needs
Easterseals Central California aims to provide services, education, and advocacy for individuals with autism and other disabilities. They provide a range of services for all individuals with disabilities of all ages, from infants to seniors and veterans. Some of the services include summer camps, mental health services, educational services, and recreational activities. They work towards empowering participants to build up the courage to live their life as freely as possible. These are only a few of the many amazing organizations in the Central Valley that are committed to serving individuals with disabilities. They are providing resources and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to thrive and create spaces for themselves in their own communities
For more information about our disability scholarship please visit: https://www.centralvalleyscholars.org/scholarships
For more information about the other disability scholarship listed please visit:
About The Author
Abigail Vidrio (She/Her)
Abigail was raised in Orange Cove, California and graduated from UCLA in 2019 where she earned her bachlors in Biology with a minor in Chicanx studies. Passionate about pursuing a career in medicine to address health disparities in the Central Valley Abigail’s goal is to become a primary care physician to advocate for patients' health. Being a first generation college student and woman of color pursuing a career in STEM Abigail quickly became aware of the educational disparities present in her community as she was not as prepared as her peers to excel in the rigorous college courses. Thanks to countless resources at UCLA, Abigail was able to succeed and since then has been working towards helping other students prepare for higher education. Her continuous passion for helping others pursue higher education has led her to work in various schools in the LA area as a tutor and themtor.