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January 2017
Student Support Funds
provide safety net
for financial emergencies  
     Notebooks with images of the American Sign Language alphabet inspired Katelyn Mandel and her friends at Anne Fox Elementary School to memorize signs and practice communicating with one another in the intriguing new language. It also began a dream for the 2014 Schaumburg High School graduate to one day become an interpreter for the deaf. 
     Now a junior at Columbia College in Chicago majoring in American Sign Language, Katelyn credits that school notebook, and  Excel Beyond 211 Dollars for Scholars┬«   and its 
Katelyn Mandel
Student Support Funds, with helping her toward that long-nurtured goal. 
     "EB211 has highly skilled mentors and they are invaluable," says Donna Epton, retired College and Career Counselor at Schaumburg High School and founding board member of EB211. "But even with good mentoring, we still encounter significant financial limitations and challenges." 
     Also referred to as "Just in Time Grants," Student Support Funds were established two years ago to help EB211 mentees with unexpected academic expenses. Requests for grants were immediate because these   low-income, high-performing students' financial needs were great. 
      "We started this fund in January 2015, and between December and August that year we had six requests from mentees in the EB211 Class of 2014. We were able to honor all, at least in part," explains Kathy Carroll, EB211 secretary and retired counselor and special education teacher at Palatine High School. "We've helped fund everything from online books (with an average cost of $100), to $89 for an access code to online exams, to $50 for a criminal background check (a requirement for education majors)." 
    Because these first-generation college students are on strict budgets and do not have excess funds for unbudgeted expenses, we currently have provided 40 students with these grants.
     Student Support Funds are limited to $250 a semester per student, and each expense must be verified. Board members want funds to be as equally distributed as possible, so students are asked to research the most inexpensive way to purchase or rent materials first, which helps students learn how to budget and become resourceful. 
     It appears that EB211 students are learning those lessons quickly. When Katelyn couldn't afford one textbook, she read it in the library at night. But libraries eventually close for the day, so Katelyn requested funds to purchase that elusive textbook. Now a junior, Katelyn has learned to navigate the system expertly and borrows books through Illinois' inter-university loan system. 
     "I'm able to attend Columbia because I'm on scholarship and receive help from EB211, but I'm also learning some nifty ways to access materials without spending money," says Katelyn, who works about 30 hours at Panda Express on campus while carrying 15 credits. 
     "Using the inter-university book loan system is something I can do to save money. It's not something that makes my life easier, but it is helping me get an education. Knowing I might be able to receive help from EB211's Student Support Fund is tremendously helpful." 
     Katelyn is not alone. One nursing student was required by her professor to purchase a $169 textbook, an expense so intimidating she contemplated dropping her food plan to pay for it. A grant from the Student Support funds provided emergency funding so this highly successful student could purchase the book...and eat.
     Another nursing student, now in her third year at Harper College, hadn't budgeted for equipment required of nursing students. EB211's Student Support Funds provided $100 for a uniform, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and gait belt. 
     "Some of these kids would never get through school without these grants," says Donna Epton. "When things get tough financially, we want to be able to provide some support. This fund says to our students, 'You're not alone.'"  

Mission Statement
Excel Beyond 211 Dollars for Scholars is dedicated to mentoring, advising, and supporting youth determined to excel through college graduation and beyond.

Our Board Members
Jeff Butzen

Kathy Carroll

Miriam Castro

Donna Epton

Martell Halloran

Bob Ingraham

Kathy Millin

Sue Quinlan

Nancy Robb
Pat Stack

You are receiving this Newsletter because you are either a donor; mentee; mentor; volunteer; supporter; District 211 employee; retiree or community member; or family or friend of a Board member.  We hope you enjoy learning about our not-for-profit organization.  

If you are not interested in receiving future editions, please unsubscribe at the bottom of this Newsletter.

Mentoring Matters!
College students and their mentors who are members of Excel Beyond 211 recently completed surveys asking about their EB211 experiences. Here are some excerpts from comments made on those surveys:

" EB211 is a lifeline to me. Being a               first-generation college student is pretty scary, but this program - and especially my mentor [Liz Arreola] - have helped me and eased my mind in the process. "
~Jhared J., EB211 Class of 16, 
DePaul University
" EB211 is a chance to go through the college experience with the help of a mentor [Martie Lennon] who has gone through the experience already. "
~Sofia B., EB211 Class of 16, 
Purdue University
" EB211 for me is a way I can have a mentor [John Carroll] to help guide me through college. It is a way that can help me open many more doors for my future. EB211 is like a second family for me, and I am truly grateful to be part of this group. It means much more to me than words can explain. "
 ~Leslie M., EB211 Class of 16, 
Harper College
" To me, EB211 grants me support and opportunities that perhaps I would not have found anywhere else as a first-generation college student. "  
~Anahi L., EB211 Class of 16, 
Harper College
" EB211 is very important and a good opportunity for me. My mentor [Gerald Fitzgerald] has helped a  ton, even assisting me land a caddie job."
~Memo G., EB211 Class of 16,
Harper College

     Do you shop on Amazon? If so, have you considered signing up for AmazonSmile? When you register our organization on AmazonSmile, Amazon will provide us with .5% of your purchase price every time your shop. 
     The good news is that it costs nothing to sign up, and once you have, you will automatically be donating to a good cause every time you order something on Amazon.
      Click on this AmazonSmile link and choose Scholarship America, Inc. Palatine, IL. Scholarship America is the name of our umbrella organization, so please make sure you choose the Palatine option as there are hundreds of other affiliates around the country, many who also use this as a fundraiser.
     Thank you for in advance for helping us to provide scholarships and Student Support Funds for our mentees when you shop at Amazon. It makes us smile!

Excel Beyond 211 Dollars for Scholars | eb211dollarsforscholars@gmail.com

1750 S. Roselle Road, Palatine, IL  60067  | (224) 653-6200