Volunteer Story: Rebecca Adams

With a mother in academia, Rebecca Adams grew up in a home that stressed the importance of school in providing personal growth and a promising future. As an adult, she is committed to leveraging a life of learning by opening doors to educational opportunities for underprivileged youth. Her volunteer work at First Graduate guides students to be the first college graduates in their families. In her two years there, she has been a mock interviewer for students applying to private high schools and a college application essay coach.

“My parents both attended colleges, and they both advised me. Not everyone has that, so it’s a real disadvantage. The system is not fair. And if I can provide a little practical support to someone to help them get into college and start to close that gap, I want to do that,” says Rebecca.

Learning about students is what Rebecca likes best about volunteering; their challenges enable her to put her own life into perspective: “A lot of them have experienced a lot of hardship and they are so resilient, talented, and motivated. So they really inspire me.” Even a conversation in which a student has a different idea for a college application essay warrants its rewards. As both share their thoughts, she steers the discussion toward an agreement, and ultimately mentors and students connect.

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Alumni Spotlight: Kara Chen

Kara Chen is a San Francisco resident who dedicated herself early in life to the pursuit of an education and a bright future. Motivated and hard working, she strove to make her immigrant parents proud by seizing every opportunity for a higher education. Kara attended Marina Middle School and Washington High School (both in SFUSD).