This is a story of three siblings, and starts with our President, Edward Swan.
The eldest of the three, Edward was a natural-born leader and a willing caregiver to his two younger sisters, Nichole and Erin during their childhood together. As happens often in fragmented homes, a lack of resources forced them to rely on each other; this forged their tight, unbreakable bond. That bond has helped guide them through life and has become a permanent fixture of support, guidance, and love.
College was thought to be a distant, unattainable dream for these three. Undeterred at the age of 32, Edward would decide to head to college and break down that barrier, becoming the first in his family to do so. He earned a BA in anthropology from CSU Monterey Bay and, later, a graduate degree in teaching from the University of Southern California; though the degrees bare his name, they represent generational growth and upward mobility for the entirety of this close-knit family.
For Nichole and Erin, it was critically important to commemorate Edward's academic accolades. The two sisters struggled with ideas that would truly reflect their big brother's inspirational and selfless nature. Then the lightbulb went on: with the help of close family and friends, they created the inaugural Swan Start Scholarship. In a matter of weeks, the sisters raised $1,000 and the Swan Start Scholarship Program was born.
Edward may have been the inspiration for the program, but SSSP is not the celebration of any one person's accomplishments. SSSP is about providing a start for others to pursue their passion and chase their dreams. It is an opportunity that should be widespread and grants accessibility towards that which should be universal: higher education as a human right. We hope to provide some of the financial aid and mentorship that is necessary for the development of future leaders, who can one day know this to be true.
Our mission is to create a collaborative network of diverse stakeholders invested in advocating for higher education as a human right.
Our vision is to empower young adults with mentorship, professional networks, financial assistance, and other resources essential to success in academia, based on need.
Our purpose is to provide scholarships to deserving students who intend to pursue a course of study that aims to serve the community through advocacy.