Community Programs

Providing Opportunity

The REACH Youth Scholarship Program has provided college funds to high school students over the past 22 years who have overcome adversity to excel in academics and sports. Each year, Santa Clara County high school seniors are nominated for the program, which stands for Recognizing Excellence, Adversity, Courage and Hard Work.

The nominees and scholarship winners for 2019 were honored at the REACH Awards Breakfast, co-chaired by Ronnie Lott and Brandi Chastain, on Friday May 2 at the San Jose Marriott.

The 2019 REACH Youth Scholarship Recipients are:

  • Devyn Lopez, Overfelt High School

  • Glen Falconio, Los Gatos High School

  • Yuuki Okazaki, Santa Teresa High School

  • Kyle Yu, Saratoga High School

  • Christopher Mansilla, Eastside College Preparatory School

  • Vanessa Burgos. Latino College Preparatory School

Read more: “Six Clara County High School Seniors Awarded REACH Youth Scholarships

View photos from the 2019 REACH Breakfast: Betsy King Photography



Only Santa Clara County high schools may nominate students for the award, with a maximum of five nominees per school. Nominees must then complete an essay and student information form.

Nominees must:

  • Be high school seniors and Santa Clara County resident or student,
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA,
  • Participate in at least one sanctioned high school athletic activity,
  • Demonstrate community involvement,
  • Show the ability to overcome adversity or obstacles to reach his or her goals.

For consideration, each nominee is required to write an essay of one to three pages based on his or her experiences. The essay should focus on the obstacles they have overcome and how sports have helped them achieve their goals. Essays will be judged on content.


My name is Bailey Thayer and I was the recipient of the 2016 Reach Youth scholarship award. The Reach Youth Scholarship has provided me with opportunities I would have never been able to pursue before. This scholarship award not only exemplifies the accomplishments of a student-athlete, but most importantly the road of adversity they face. I first experienced adversity at the age of seven. My little sister was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of three. She and cancer fought a hard battle, but unfortunately she passed away after a year. Not soon after, my older brother was diagnosed with the same form of brain cancer at the age of fourteen. My family and I came together as my brother went through excruciating treatments and surgeries. After two years of fighting, my brother passed away at the age of sixteen. At this point in life, I used my difficult life experiences to influence and better the lives of others. My family and I started a non-profit organization called, Have Faith Be Strong, which focuses on the support of families who have a child with cancer. While running track and field and playing football and basketball in high school, the loss of my brother and sister fueled me to become the best student-athlete I could be. Through the assistance of the Reach Youth Scholarship, I am able to live the legacy of my brother and sister while running track and field as a decathlete at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I am forever thankful for this organization. Without REACH, students like myself would not have the opportunity to follow their dreams through a higher education.

Bailey Thayer, 2016 REACH Youth Scholarship Award Recipient

For more information, please call Carrie Benjamin at (408) 288-2936.


Stories of Success


2019 REACH – Devyn Lopez


2019 REACH – Yuuki Okazaki


2018 REACH – Raquel Boales


2018 REACH – Carter Hawkins


2018 REACH – Sirena Gonzales


2018 REACH – Belle Strawn


2018 REACH – Frank Polisso




2017 REACH – Andrew Romero










2016 REACH – Carly Polisso


2016 REACH – Nick Murtha




2016 REACH – Eddie McCartney




2016 REACH – Alexei van Klaveren