Peninsula college fund helps students get a leg up on learning 

Charles Schmuck is the founder of Peninsula College Fund, which provides up to 15 first-generation college students with $12,000 for four years to a university of their choosing and provides them with mentors as well as training. On Saturday, the foundation honored its 15 newest members and five who recently graduated from college.

What is the fund trying to do? Our major goal is to assist minority, first-generation students who have strong financial needs to successfully work their way through and graduate from college.

Why offer scholarships and mentors for college kids? When we originally started, we didn’t have the training component, but when we spoke with college counselors, they told us we really need to focus on kids who are minorities and have less than a 4.0 GPA who do have other family or neighbors who have gone to college, and offer them assistance.

So why mentoring? A mentor can provide a real-world experience and can provide perspective, and be a sounding board for these kids who have no one to turn to.

How many students apply? That’s the problem. In the last two years, we had 175 students apply and we were only able to hand out 33 scholarships. ... I’d love to be able to give 30-plus scholarships a year.

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