Finding a Way to Lend A Helping Hand

Recipient and CVW writer Lorianne Bodnar received a scholarship from the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Making the presentation were director Ken Biermann, left, and president Mike Riley.


The pandemic has changed many things but it has not changed how valuable scholarships are to college-bound students, even if they are only traveling as far as their own living room. Despite transitioning to virtual classes at the college level, the one constant was ­and is – students and parents still have a lot of costs to pay in order to attend college.

Local organizations that support students in the Glendale Unified School District have traditionally been very generous with their scholarship support but the pandemic has made it difficult for some of those organizations to raise the needed funds to cover the scholarship awards.

Fundraisers are the lifeblood of organizations like the Crescenta Valley Town Council and because the COVID-19 pandemic kept everyone at home those fundraising opportunities were closed. Many of the organizations had to  ask supporters to dig a little deeper and many organizations had to think outside the box in order to raise needed funds.

The Crescenta Valley Town Council has a scholarship program that has supported students for many years. Because of the pandemic, councilmembers were concerned this last school year about how they would be able raise funds to support students.

“We were [able] to give the scholarships because we got a grant,” said Ted Yu, CVTC alternate member.

The council was able to find a grant supported by Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and will be awarding six students scholarships at this month’s virtual CVTC meeting on Oct. 21.

Yu said although they were notified they had been awarded the grant there was a bit of a delay in receiving the funds. Councilmembers are happy now that they will be able to support students and are grateful that Supervisor Barger was able to support the scholarship program.

The Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce is another organization that has an established scholarship program and its board members were very concerned about their ability to fund this past year’s scholarship program.

“It has been an interesting year for the Chamber,” said Steve Pierce, executive director of the CVCOC.

The Chamber, like other organizations, had all of its events canceled in 2020 into early 2021. Its board members knew they wanted to continue to present scholarships so they reached out to longtime supporters, including J’s Maintenance, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, the YMCA of the Foothills and many others, for financial support.

Pierce added the board members were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic and generous support received from corporate and individual supporters.

“We had great community support,” he said. “And we didn’t have a lot of expenses this year.”

Since the fundraising events, which have a cost to host, were canceled the Chamber saved the money that normally would be earmarked for those events.

As life slowly began to return to normal the Chamber held a successful fundraiser at Ocean View Bar and Grill; the owners of the restaurant donated a portion of the proceeds made that night. Recently the Chamber was able to hold its annual golf tournament and, again, was overwhelmed by the community’s generosity. In the end they were able to award 11 student scholarships.

Other organizations like Kiwanis of La Cañada, the Kiwanis of Glendale, the Crescenta Valley Lions Club, Prom Plus and many others were all able to support students via scholarships thanks to the generosity of the community, their club members and Supervisor Barger.

Merriam-Webster describes “scholarship” as a “grant-in-aid to a student” but it means so much more. When a grant comes from a scholarship, especially given by hometown organizations, it means that students can move forward in their college/university, trade school or school of life knowing they will be and have been supported by their community.

To support scholarships for CVTC and CVCOC, make checks out to the organization with “scholarship” written in the memo. Mail donations to the CVTC to PO Box 8676, La Crescenta, California 91224. Mail donations for CVCOC to 3131 Foothill Blvd. Suite D, La Crescenta, California 91214.

To support scholarships for Prom Plus visit; for Kiwanis La Cañada visit; for Kiwanis of Glendale visit; and for Crescenta Valley Lions Club visit

Local high schools have lists of scholarships that are offered to students. For information on specific scholarships visit the individual school’s website.