DRDFS Impact Report

 

Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars has been helping local students for more than 30 years

 

Have you seen our recent Impact Report? Take a look inside to learn more about the history of our program, the impact of Next Level Scholars throughout the region, our students, and the supporters who make it all possible.

January 2021 Next Level Scholars Program Update

 

For the first time, the Next Level Scholars (NLS) program launched an all-virtual plan for students. The priority of the NLS program is to provide the best possible support to students as they prepare for success in life after high school. In order to achieve this, the program pivoted to introduce new features.

 

Tutor.com

The newest support being offered to students this school year is online tutoring. With the use of a tutoring platform called Tutor.com, we can make sure that our students are receiving more targeted academic support.

 

Student user works on a math problem live with a Tutor.

 

In addition to personalized 24/7 online access to qualified subject-matter tutors, Tutor.com covers more than 60 major subjects, builds confidence in students, and is completely free for each student in the NLS program to use. With help from Eagles for Children, we were able cover some of the cost of this program with grant funding.

“Tutor.com has been such a helpful resource. It has been helping me get my homework done. You can choose from a voice chat or typing chat. While you are getting help from a tutor you can ask as many questions as you want and they will try to answer them in the best way! I’m glad that Next Level Scholars offers this help to us.”

                             – Omimah Y., Next Level Scholar

 

Virtual Campus Visits

Visiting college campuses is a major element of the NLS program and student experience. In a typical school year, students visit about eight campuses throughout Southeast Michigan from trade schools to community colleges, and four-year universities. While on these visits, students begin to visualize themselves belonging on a college campus. They are able to interact with admissions professionals, see the classrooms, learn about majors, and get a feel for the difference between large schools and small schools.

Because these visits are so crucial to students as they begin to make decisions about their futures, the NLS program worked with colleges this school year to continue bringing value to students. Virtual campus tours provide a unique look at colleges during a time when large in-person group tours aren’t possible. Recently, the NLS program took students on a virtual visit to Michigan State University.

 

Pictured here is an interactive google slide where students can click on the images to watch staff videos, read and watch alumni Q&As, and hear from campus admissions.

 

Because we know that not all students are the same, we also used a traditional classroom model in Google Classroom which outlined the steps that students needed to complete in order to get the whole campus visit experience. Students were able to connect through pre-recorded videos and chats in the classroom, which they really enjoyed.

 

Inspiring Students

I think my favorite part of the campus visit was the 360 tours. While it wasn’t the same as being able to go there and experience the campus first-hand, I still got an idea for how living on campus may be. It encouraged me.”

                                           – Cameron C., Next Level Scholar

“Thank you for giving me a chance to see the MSU campus. I really appreciate it!!”

                                  – Richard V., Next Level Scholar

 

These student quotes reflect that, with the shift to virtual programming, we’ve remained consistent and impactful. Similar to what students experience during in-person campus visits, Cameron C. reflected that seeing the dorms and really getting a feel for campus was his favorite part of the virtual experience. This is exactly what our program (in person or virtual) is designed to do. These visits turn on a lightbulb and ignite a sense of belonging in post-secondary education for our students. Richard V. expresses something we hear from students regularly; thank you messages. Our students let us know how appreciative they are of the NLS program & how we’ve adapted to help them during changing times. We will continue to do everything we can to help inspire and prepare students to succeed in life after high school.

DRDFS Alumni Network Goes Virtual

 

In 2020, social gatherings transitioned into virtual gatherings, and the Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars (DRDFS) Alumni Network stuck together through this change. Growing larger with each graduating class, the students of the Alumni Network turn to each other for support and a sense of community. They have embraced virtual events including trivia, a holiday party, mental health and wellness discussions, and other planned activities.

 

Alumni Trivia Night

Trivia nights offer alumni a great opportunity for competition and for learning something new in the process. Students attending post-secondary institutions throughout the State of Michigan, and even out of state, were excited to log in and play a few rounds of trivia with friends and familiar faces. The alumni network, made up of students from all different backgrounds and majors, has a wealth of information on all different topics, making for an interesting and fun game.

 

Alumni Holiday Party

In December, DRDFS hosted the annual Alumni Holiday Party! Our first-ever virtual holiday gathering included a round of festive trivia, a gingerbread house decorating competition, and a special presentation focusing on mental health and wellness.

Alumni spent the beginning of the evening sharing with one another where they are in their post-secondary journeys. Students from college freshmen all the way up to college graduates joined the virtual party. Each attendee received a special package in the mail containing everything they would need to enjoy the virtual gathering, including a build-your-own gingerbread house kit.

 

The annual gingerbread house competition commenced as usual, and alumni were excited to share their creations. The houses were judged, and the winning entry was the House of Karebears (pictured left).

 

As a change of pace, this year’s holiday party included a mental health and wellness conversation, led by a professional Wellness Coordinator from Eastern Michigan University. Alumni were able to learn and ask questions about mental wellness, managing stress while in college, healthy eating habits, fitness, and more. The post-secondary experience completely transformed in 2020, and as a result, students had to change the way they learn and study. With so many changes to their routines, the wellness conversation helped provide clarity and solutions to the stressors that many have been experiencing.

 

Remaining engaged in virtual events helps our Alumni to stay in touch with one another. Moreover, it reinforces the importance of this vast network of support available to them as they work towards completing a post-secondary degree. We look forward to hosting more creative, fun, and educational virtual gatherings for our Alumni throughout 2021 and beyond.

8th Annual (Virtual) Celebration Luncheon

 

Join Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars at our first-ever virtual Celebration Luncheon. The next-best thing to gathering in person is gathering safely online from the comfort of your home or office! We’re excited to livestream a great program for you. Access the event online and watch for exclusive updates from our students and partner high schools. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for event registration information!

 

WHAT

Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars 8th Annual Celebration Luncheon

WHEN

Thursday, March 18, 2021

12:00 – 1:00 PM

WHERE

The event will take place virtually via livestream

Visit DRDFS.org/VirtualCL/ to register!

DETAILS

Featuring for the first time ever, a special video that showcases ALL 13 Partner High Schools!

Emceed by Paul W. Smith, Host of The Paul W. Smith Show on News/Talk 760 WJR

SPONSORSHIP

For event sponsorship information, click here or email Lindsey Pavlov at lpavlov@drdfs.org.

 

REGISTER NOW

 

Become a Sponsor!

Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars is proud to provide academic support and resources to more than 350 local students each year. All of this is made possible by our sponsors, who have remained committed to helping local students succeed in life after high school. Our sponsorship booklet outlines what sponsors can do to help advance our shared mission: Helping local students prepare for life after high school, through scholarships and academic support, to enable post-secondary success.

The students we serve today are the future entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, and business leaders of our communities. Each sponsorship has a lasting impact on all of our students, and on the future of Southeast Michigan.

Click the button below to view our full sponsorship booklet, and learn more about how you can change the lives of local students!

Download our Sponsorship Booklet!

30th Anniversary Letter from President William C. Young

 

Friends,

When my neighbors and I first gathered in 1990 to discuss helping local students access higher education, we knew there would be many people who shared our passion. With the help of more and more friends and community members each year, we have been able to inspire and prepare nearly 1,000 students to achieve their dreams. Today, we serve more than 360 student participants annually.

Over the last 30 years, I have seen our program grow from one partner high school, to 13 partner high schools reaching across five counties in Southeast Michigan. During that time, our organization has transformed from a grassroots effort to help students realize their potential, to a college access, success and scholarship program. I feel proud to look back at our humble beginning, knowing how much we’ve accomplished together.

This school year, we were forced to transform again, and fast. When schools everywhere began to close their doors to protect students from COVID-19, we knew we needed to adapt to continue to serve students. In just a short time, we were able to provide access to virtual resources, increase one-on-one assistance and advising, and work more closely with partner high school to make sure students had the support they needed to succeed.

It is important that our students feel supported during times of change. We are dedicated to providing students with the resources and programming they need to succeed and remain on the path to higher education whether they are studying from home or from their classrooms. I know we will continue to grow and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of education and college access, and I’m looking forward to another 30 years of success.

 

Warm regards,

William C. Young

President

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