CASA of Santa Cruz County awards Transition-Age Youth (TAY) and non-minor Dependents funding to help with their transition into living on their own. We offer both academic scholarships and the CASA Independent Fund for those youth who qualify.
The CASA Independent Award offers support to foster youth, 18 years and older, who are transitioning out of Dependency Care and need assistance. Homelessness is a very real danger for these young people living in poverty, and our Independence Fund is there to help them get on their feet.
The CASA Scholarship Fund offers awards to current or former foster youth who are attending college, vocational training, or other accredited educational pursuits. These renewable awards are in the amount of $500 or $1000. While tuition and dorm fees are usually covered by the student’s financial aid package from the school, youth need extra resources to not just survive in college but thrive.
Here are some excerpts from recent award recipients’ essays to illustrate how the funds help them feel supported:
“With the scholarship, I was able to continue to save my personal money to buy my current car. As mentioned before, my previous car, although reliable, did have its minor breakdowns and constant repairs. So, being able to have a reliable, newer car has made everything much easier and stress free. Getting to and from school has been much easier and I feel much safer driving. I no longer need to worry about my car breaking down or losing control due to old car parts, and I have a better security system. Also, the Grammarly subscription improved the quality of my college papers. I’ve received perfect score grades. In summary, receiving the CASA scholarship contributed to my educational success in many ways. Although I have fully applied for financial aid, I will still be needing help with gas, possibly books and school supplies, car maintenance, personal care items, and food.”
- Cal State Student
“... the casa Scholarship has contributed to my education, it helped me secure housing in the transition of aging out of the system at 25 years old while pressuring (sic) my education. Which was the biggest relief, it gave me hope I’m able to be a full time mother, attend school & working while I focused on my education. I felt like this semester has taught me to ask for help when needed, I'm so used to doing everything alone by myself, it's okay to ask.“
- Cabrillo Student
“I want to make a good income but still be around my family so I applied for an insurance work from home job and got hired but I have to get my insurance license which is online classes, do the state exam, and be background checked. With the vocational scholarship I feel like it could really help me get started with my new job and the expenses of the classes. The whole process takes about two months or less and once I have completed and passed the state exam and background check I can begin working for the insurance agency that hired me.”
-Vocational Program Student
“I will be able to reach new heights in this career I've created for myself by being able to pay for essentials like internet, equipment & supplies while also being able to preemptively prepare for my next semester in school by purchasing school supplies, possible textbooks & situate my means of transportation! "
-City College Student
We are so proud of these youths as they follow their dreams and believe in a bright future for themselves.