Envisioned by former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and managed by the San José Public Library and San José Public Library Foundation, ASPIRES is an innovative program designed to reduce financial and informational barriers disadvantaged students face in accessing college. ASPIRES leverages technology and financial incentives in the form of micro-scholarships for first-generation college-going students at select schools in San José. Students in the program earn up to $5,000 to support their post-secondary educational goals as they complete important tasks connected to college and career readiness. ASPIRES, to date, has engaged 2,129 students, distributed $ 579, 950 scholar dollars, and involved 10 key programmatic partners in these early effort.
After a successful pilot phase, the San José Public Library (Library) and Foundation (SJPLF) sought an established youth development organization to assume leadership, provide continuity, and ensure growth of ASPIRES. The Library and SJPLF reviewed the qualifications of potential partners and determined that BGCSV is the ideal partner to continue the progress being made to advance educational opportunities for students in need. Founded in 1944, BGCSV offers best-in-class afterschool and summer enrichment programs primarily for low income, at-risk Santa Clara County youth ages 6-18 years. BGCSV serves approximately 6,000 regular members at 40 locations in San Jose, Antioch, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and Hollister.
The Library and SJPLF are tasking BGCSV to continue ASPIRES’s investment in the education and future of youth through program management, enhanced program delivery, comprehensive student support, and expert guidance & mentorship opportunities, to encourage full scholarship disbursement. Existing partnerships with local community organizations and leaders will further enable BGCSV to achieve this vision.
BGCSV is eager to add ASPIRES to our youth-development efforts. BGCSV looks forward to working with the San Jose Public Library and San Jose Public Library Foundation through this transition to ensure that the incredible work that has gone into building this program serves as a catalyst for future growth and impact on the lives of students and their families. With gratitude and admiration for the astounding investment that has been made in the creation of ASPIRES, BGCSV is committed to continuing the important work of helping students overcome obstacles and build a future of opportunity and success.
Meet the Students: