Girls Inc. Celebrates College Students

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Special to the Indy by OCSocialScene

Girls Inc. of Orange County National Scholars: Diana Avila, Brisma Corona, Jessica Neri, Guadalupe Pulido, Maribel Maldonado.  — Photos by Ann Chatillon
Girls Inc. of Orange County National Scholars: Diana Avila, Brisma Corona, Jessica Neri, Guadalupe Pulido, Maribel Maldonado.
— Photos by Ann Chatillon

Girls Inc. of Orange County—the non-profit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold—hosted its 3rd annual College Shower luncheon with 150 guests on Saturday, June 15.

The purpose of the event was to provide high school graduates who have completed Girls Inc. programming with all the things they’ll need for a successful first year of college, including school supplies, dorm room bedding and other necessities.

In addition to receiving a care package containing all of these goods, each of the thirty-nine girls was also paired with a one-on-one mentor based on their intended major and college in order to provide an extra support system as they make the transition from high school. All of the girls selected to participate in the luncheon are among the first generation of their families to pursue higher education.

“The College Shower event is one of the most rewarding days for us as an agency,” said Lucy Santana-Ornelas, CEO of Girls Inc. of Orange County. “Seeing these girls break through barriers and go on to colleges and universities across the country not only changes the life of that individual girl, but that of her family and the entire community as well.

The event also celebrated four girls who won scholarships from the Girls Inc. national organization in New York City. Winners included Diana Avila ($20,000), attending Cal Poly Pomona as a computer hardware engineering major; Jessica Neri ($20,000), attending Cal State Fullerton as a biology/child development major; Guadalupe Pulido ($20,000), attending UC Santa Barbara as a social work major; and Brisma Corona ($5,000), attending San Diego State University as a psychology major.

Maribel Maldonado, the first ever recipient of the local Nick Reed Scholarship Fund, was also honored with a $2,500 scholarship and will be attending Cal Poly Pomona as an animal science major in the fall. All five winners are graduating seniors at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa.

The College Shower luncheon was created to address the fact that 85 percent of the girls served through Girls Inc. programming live at or below the poverty line. Providing dorm room supplies and other college necessities can be a real hardship for these families with graduates heading off to college. Since the event’s inception, 71 girls have been able to participate in the “showering.”

Nancy Altobello and Lindsay Livana
Nancy Altobello and Lindsay Livana
Lisa McKee (Women for Girls Leadership/event committee member), and her Mentee Brisma Corona, SDSU
Lisa McKee (Women for Girls Leadership/event committee member), and her Mentee Brisma Corona, SDSU
Paula Sanchez happily opens some of the supplies she will take with her to college.
Paula Sanchez happily opens some of the supplies she will take with her to college.
Jessica Neri, Gianna Drake-Kerrison (Girls Inc. Board President) and her son Dee Kerrison
Jessica Neri, Gianna Drake-Kerrison (Girls Inc. Board President) and her son Dee Kerrison
Natalie Camacho, Adriana Evaristo, Lizbeth Martinez
Natalie Camacho, Adriana Evaristo, Lizbeth Martinez

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