Ventura College Foundation Distributes Over $670,000 In Scholarships

The Ventura College Foundation presented 439 scholarships for the 2023-24 academic year totaling $670,406 during its 34th Annual Scholarship Awards ceremony on May 18 at the Ventura College Athletic Center.

Of the 235 scholarship recipients, many received multiple scholarships with an average amount of $2,417 for continuing students and $3,557 for students transferring to four-year universities in the Fall. At minimum, each student received a $1,000 scholarship.

Scholarship recipients come from all different backgrounds with different education and career goals.

Three-scholarship recipient Mea Ann Alanes, 26, was born in the Philippines. A first-generation college student, she will attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, this year, pursuing a double major in Sociology and Anthropology. A single mother and former foster youth, she has overcome her share of challenges, including food and housing insecurity.

“My mission and passion are to improve the health of our low-income families, single mothers, and financially insecure students,” says Alanes. ”These scholarships will provide me with the breathing room and stress-free environment that I need to focus on my academics.”

“Scholarships are critical for students in their ability to continue their education,” says Nicole Kreutz, incoming chair of the Ventura College Foundation board of directors. “Scholarship funds help offset tuition, books costs, and other expenses. Every amount helps.”

For Richard Clark, 36, his college journey began after seven years in the U.S. Army and then as a personal trainer. He enrolled at Ventura College, thinking he might study physical therapy. “I needed to add credits, so I took a criminal justice course and loved it,” says Clark. “That changed everything.” Clark will transfer this year to CLU, majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Cyber Security. He hopes to intern with the FBI.

The GI Bill will pay some of Clark’s tuition costs, and his two scholarships (including a Ventura College Foundation Veterans Scholarship) will cover other expenses. “After being away in the Army for so long, I thought it was too late to return to school,” says Clark. “Ventura College is amazing, especially the Veterans Resource Center. Staff helped me select which classes to take and showed me all the available financial support.”

Jimmy Flores, 23, grew up in a tight-knit Latino community in Santa Paula. He attended Santa Paula High School. “Soccer is a big deal in town, and I was fortunate to be on the school’s team,” says Flores. “After graduation, I didn’t want to disconnect right away, so I began volunteering as an assistant coach. I found that I enjoy teaching and encouraging teenagers. It’s very rewarding.”

Flores plans to become a physical education high school teacher and coach. He will be attending Cal State Northridge in the Fall, majoring in Kinesiology with a Physical Education emphasis. He is the first in his family to attend a four-year university. “My volunteer coaching takes away from the number of hours I can work. The scholarship will allow me to focus on my education and coaching goals.”

“The drive to succeed shown by our scholarship recipients is truly inspiring,” says Kreutz. “We know they will make a positive impact in their fields.”

The Ventura College Foundation is grateful for the continuing support of scholarship event sponsors. They include Edison International, Miracle Mile Advisors, Searle Creative, Bank of the Sierra, Ohana Pet Hospital, Trinity Wheeler Photography, HZ Main Events Design & Consulting, DJ’s Catering, LetzChat, and L&T Catering.