As school wraps up for another year, many graduating students are beginning to dive into and develop their future goals and plans. This is especially true for Rubin For Kids scholars who will be gearing up to attend Madison College with the help of the program that has been active for almost three decades. A scholarship ceremony celebrating this year’s scholars will take place at Madison College Goodman South Campus tonight, 5-7 p.m.
Rubin For Kids started in 1995 in honor of Peter Rubin who worked in juvenile justice as a means to provide support for students who need extra financial support to attend Madison College. Peter’s wife, Barbara Rubin, and his son, James Rubin, continue the work along with a team of other volunteer administrators who have maintained a consistent focus on putting the needs of the students first.
Areli Estrada, who sits on the scholarship award committee for Rubin For Kids, spoke to how impactful the scholarship program has been for students, and explained how much of a difference the money can make.
“It has to be a post-high school, graduating student planning to attend Madison College,” Estrada said. “Once they start the semester, the student gets a check, and it’s unrestricted. It could be used for school supplies, it could be used towards tuition, or it could be used for buying a laptop. Rubin for Kids also provides smaller support.”
Rubin’s legacy is a piece of his drive to provide opportunities for Madison youth by building a network of adults in their life to uplift them. Rubin For Kids looks for and helps foster a commitment to further education in scholars who may already have other responsibilities that make that path more difficult.
“How does a 16-year-old high school student navigate through that system?” asked Estrada. “At that age, there’s so much going on in the brain of a teenager trying to figure out their identity alone. Then maybe already having a lot of financial hardships at home or maybe being at risk of losing shelter, there are a lot of things. If they’re in high school, how does that student stay engaged, knowing that they have all these barriers to overcome?”
Rubin For Kids has seen successful before and it will continue to be an important part of young scholars’ lives who may not have planned on a college degree prior. One such story of success is Robert Mendoza, who after graduating with the scholarship in 2019, went on to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) after graduating from Madison College. Estrada was not only proud to celebrate students like Mendoza, but was also excited to imagine the opportunity future scholars will have.
“Rubin for Kids’ programs are both achievement-centered and need-based,” Estrada assured. “I think it’s of so much value to know that there’s a financial resource out there for our youth, our post-high school students. If they have that ultimate goal to go to Madison College, they can submit an application. Their school counselor nominates the student, we review the application and based on that need, the majority of the students that submit an application get a scholarship.”
While Rubin For Kids runs at almost no cost from the wonderful work of volunteers, there is also a great need for support so that students can continue to be provided with meaningful care and resources. Estrada said those who wish to support the organization can do so by either volunteering their time or supporting the scholarship financially.
To learn more about Rubin For Kids, and to volunteer or donate, visit their website here.