(PRESS RELEASE) Local Nonprofit Empowers Students To Aspire Higher

Akash Patel, Founder and Executive Director
(P) 562.413.6452
(E): akash@aspiringamericans.org

Local Nonprofit Empowers Students To Aspire Higher
OU Graduate Raises $20,000 For Undocumented Students

(Oklahoma City) – Feb. 25, 2015 – Nine out of 10 undocumented high school students will not attend or graduate from college. Aspiring Americans, a local nonprofit founded by OU graduate Akash Patel, aims to ensure that all students regardless of national origin have an opportunity to succeed.

In partnership with Aspiring Americans, the OU Alumni Association and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) hosted an appreciation benefit on February 11th to showcase the success of the new nonprofit as well as the achievements of the students they serve. The event raised $20,000 in donations and in-kind contributions for Aspiring Americans, providing the funds for future grants and scholarships.

The banquet also honored Aspiring Americans’ very first scholarship recipient, Zaira Estrada, who is now at OU studying Microbiology and plans to pursue a career in cancer research. “This event was a huge success in helping the community understand why this mission matters,” explained Zaira. “Aspiring Americans gives hope to students like me that our future is in our own hands, a message that so many students need to hear.”

Since its founding one year ago, Aspiring Americans has awarded two college scholarships and seven DACA grants to students throughout the Oklahoma City metro area. Additionally, the nonprofit has trained over 800 educators and served 400 families, with active plans to expand to other districts.

Aspiring Americans awarded DACA grants to the following students:
• Carolina Dueñez, Classen School of Advanced Studies
• Miguel Solis, U.S. Grant High School
• Kenia Hernandez, Classen School of Advanced Studies
• Norma Lopez, recent graduate of Capitol Hill High School
• Nancy Jurado, Santa Fe South High School
• Ariadna Cano, Dove Science Academy

Aspiring Americans is a fiscally sponsored project of Communities Foundation of Oklahoma that invests in all aspiring Americans who are dedicated and passionate about bettering themselves and their communities. Aspiring Americans provides college scholarships for students who do not qualify for state or federal assistance, grants for immigration applications of Oklahoma students, and educational presentations that focus on resources for immigrant students and families.

For more information on Aspiring Americans’ events and programs, please contact Akash Patel at akash@aspiringamericans.org or 562.413.6452, or visit aspiringamericans.org.