In light of Black History Month, Central Valley Scholars would like to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions which Black individuals have made to both our organization and communities. We are greatly indebted to Black folk, both in and out of the Central Valley, who have paved the way for this organization to be possible.
Additionally, we would like to recognize that there are certain societal and racial barriers which still restrict many Black folk from achieving their goals. Because these barriers extend into the realm of education, Central Valley Scholars would like to reinforce that we are, and have always been committed to, serving the Black community the best that we can through our various educational resources.
One such resource which we provide to Black students is the Black Themtorship Program. The identity-based program aims to amend the underrepresentation of Black students in higher education by assisting Black students with their college applications through the help of a Black “Themtor.” The themtor is tasked with conducting one-on-one online counseling sessions with students in order to assist with college applications, as well as any other college-related documents or financial aid forms.
As the Black Themtorship Program is conducted online, Central Valley Scholars is committed to providing Black students with laptop computers should technology be a barrier in receiving these services.
Furthermore, Central Valley Scholars always aims to listen to and understand the experiences of its Black students. One way in which we are doing so is through our Black Student Survey.
The survey is aimed at understanding the motivations behind students’ desires to attend higher education. The answers to this survey will be utilized in an undergraduate research project which will be completed later in the year.
As an organization, we are also committed to starting a Black Student Scholarship for Black students who are in need of financial assistance for their collegiate endeavors. Undoubtedly, college can be monetarily inaccessible for many individuals, and we hope that this scholarship can help alleviate some of that financial burden.
In the future, Central Valley Scholars hopes to continue listening to Black students, and, upon doing so, also plans on providing additional resources to aid their success. We hope to continue celebrating Black students, helping them achieve their short-term and long-term goals and committing to upholding their financial and educational well-being.
About The Author
Rafael Franco Flores (He/Him)
Rafael Franco was raised in the small farming town of Kerman, CA, where he resided until graduating from Kerman High School in 2016. Thereafter, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a double-bachelor’s in English and History at the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA), graduating with Departmental Honors in English, Cum Laude latin honors, and Phi Beta Kappa membership. While at UCLA, Rafael developed a passion for critical theory and Romantic literature, and hopes to continue studying these fields at the graduate level. In the past, Rafael interned for UCLA’s student newspaper, The Daily Bruin. He hopes to use his past experience in journalism as an editor for Central Valley Scholars in hopes of creating valuable resources for students in the Central Valley.