In order to support the programs of East Palo Alto Academy (EPAA), East Palo Alto Academy Foundation (EPAAF) works with organizations that share its vision: helping youth from low-income communities transform their lives through education.
The Peery Foundation is one of EPAAF’s strongest partners in achieving this goal. In 2014, Peery began supporting EPAA’s summer school program after learning that credit deficiencies were keeping high school students from graduation. This support helped us give our students a chance to get back on track and move on to higher education. Peery began providing unrestricted support to the school in 2016, when Amika Guillaume became principal; they had immense faith in her visionary leadership after partnering with her for ten years at a public K-8 school in East Palo Alto where she had previously served as principal. The Foundation’s “grantee-centric” approach has been incredibly helpful for us at EPAAF, and we are happy to have a deeply collaborative partner that values the work we do in the community.
“We want to honor the real work that’s happening in the community … [We are honoring] the expertise that already exists,” Nora Razón, Local Portfolio Manager, added.
Over the past few years, our partnership with Peery has been focused on improving the academic rigor and college preparedness of our students. This focus stems from both our shared belief that higher education can help close the opportunity gap in our community, and our commitment to helping prepare students for life after high school. Peery’s support was instrumental in the establishment of our school’s College and Career Center, where students can access a range of opportunities: meeting with college reps, visiting college campuses, connecting with community service projects, receiving support with applications for paid internships and other programs that allow them to explore career pathways, and much more. The Foundation has also supported our Student and Family Support Grants, which are grants that can be used to cover basic necessities and safety net services for EPAA families, DACA renewal fees for students, and high-impact professional development trainings for our teachers.
Reflecting on her long partnership with the Peery Foundation, Amika Guillaume, EPAA principal says:
Like Amika, we are grateful for the Peery Foundation’s commitment to the education of East Palo Alto’s youth. In the coming years, we look forward to continuing to work together to empower more students to succeed in high school and beyond.