By Meleseini Lotoaniu, MVLA Scholar majoring in English at UC Davis, September 30, 2022
One of MVLA Scholars’ long-time traditions for welcoming new Scholars is a gift basket, distributed at the New Scholar Training meeting each July. The gift baskets help mitigate costs for students and are a fun way for Scholars to get excited about their first year of college. The type of gift baskets Scholars receive depend on whether or not they are leaving home or commuting. Scholars moving into a college dorm receive a duffel bag filled with dorm essentials including new bed sheets, towels, and a shower caddy. Scholars commuting to college from home receive a backpack filled with school supplies, a gift card, and a water bottle.
Gift baskets have historically been funded by community members, in partnership with MVLA Scholars. However, in 2021, MVLA Scholars was approached by two local families who wanted to create a fundraiser for families who could not afford new supplies and materials for college. Eventually, they created a non-profit organization called Room for Success that purchases and packages these beautiful gift baskets. Room for Success is now an active participant in the Gift Basket program with MVLA Scholars.
The Gift Basket program is a special touch helping MVLA Scholars’ local, first generation students succeed in college.