First Tee Innovators Forum in SJ – Nancy Rivera Awarded $10,000 scholarship!

First Tee – Silicon Valley participant Nancy Rivera represented First Tee — Silicon Valley exceptionally when she attended the 2021 Innovators Forum in San Jose, CA. Nancy’s continued effort in her community and in her school were large factors into getting accepted to participate and her project gained her a $10,000 scholarship towards continuing her education.

The First Tee Innovators Forum empowered selected First Tee teens to develop a meaningful service project in their communities focusing on raising awareness on global issues focusing on education, health, and sustainability. Twenty-six participants were selected from across the country and had the opportunity to learn from global industry leaders through interactive workshops and small group breakout sessions.

“FTSV was very pleased to have the FT Innovators Forum here in Silicon Valley giving the outstanding participants who attended from around the country a taste of Silicon Valley.” said First Tee – Silicon Valley CEO and President, George Maxe. “That included the inspirational keynote address of Frank Carbajal, the founder of Silicon Valley Leadership Summit at EsTiempo LLC. Frank is an accomplished author and thought leader who spoke to the participants about culture, leadership and performance as well as his upbringing in East San Jose.”

As a result of group workshops and motivating speeches by Frank and others, Nancy narrowed in on her project, which will provide resources to promote and explain higher education in low income and undocumented communities.

“As a first generation in my family to go college and graduate high school, I have faced challenges such as understanding the college application process, college requirements, and federal documents/financial options,” said Nancy. “Being able to have mentors in First Tee and taking the FTSV Educational Ace project has definitely helped me through this difficult and foreign process. I know others in my position are not exposed to the same opportunities or guidance, which led me to think that everyone should have a support system or a place where they are able to go and receive this help for free. For my family and I, it was not just the higher educational process that was challenging or was unknown, but navigating this space in a foreign language that made it that much more challenging, and is why I want to provide this help in Spanish.”

“I want to provide different workshops that can help with the college application process like filling out FAFSA, or preparing for the common application process, or discussing financial options. Many schools do not offer this information and specifically do not offer it in Spanish which is what I would like to change. I want to break down stereotypes and would like our families to see higher education as being possible. I have already started reserving meeting spaces, thanks to my school, to host several of these workshops and hope to have my project up a running by March of 2022. I have had a great go-to team (which is one of the Eagle core life lessons) and I now want to be a go-to person for others in need.”

Her leadership and project work helped her be selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship towards continuing her education! According to Director of Events at First Tee HQ, Brandon Luna, “Nancy is an incredible representation of First Tee! We have great confidence in her project she developed in San Jose and know she has a bright future ahead of her.”  

The Innovators Forum is one of several national opportunities provided by First Tee Headquarters to inspire and equip teens on a deeper level as they progress through the program and toward higher education opportunities. Congratulations Nancy on a well-deserved honor! We are very proud of her and of her actions to make this world a better place for all!

To apply for the national opportunities, one must progress through our program to the advance levels of our program. To find out more about our national opportunities, please visit our youth opportunity page.