President // If Given A Chance
Philanthropy in Napa Valley
If Given A Chance (IGAC) identifies high school students faced with formidable social, family, medical, and economic challenges, and provides them with mentoring and financial assistance to support their efforts in completing a college degree or vocational training program. Allison Haley, Napa County’s District Attorney and president of IGAC, has served more than a decade on the IGAC board. “IGAC supports students in breaking cycles of abuse, overcoming addiction, leaving gangs, managing physical and emotional dis- abilities, and overcoming poverty,” said Haley. “The Napa County visionaries who established IGAC 25 years ago understood the profound impact of post high school education, especially college, on life skills, emotional balance, professional advancement, annual income, and family stability. They also understood that high school students whose lives had been turned upside down by financial hardship, mental and physical abuse, poor life choices, and an unstable home environment were least likely to have an opportunity to pursue either a college education or vocational training program. This vulnerable group of students represents the focus of all we do at IGAC. We are dedicated to finding vulnerable students who have the drive and resilience to further their education in college or vocational training.”
The program begins during a students’ junior year of high school with mentoring, counseling, financial assistance for college entrance exams, application fees and deposits, and training on how to prepare for applying to a college or a vocational training program. The program then continues throughout his/her undergraduate college years.
“In its 25 years, IGAC has served more than 380 youth,” said Haley, who lives in Napa County with her husband Mark and seven-year-old daughter Fiona. “Through case management, award criteria, requirements, community support, expectations, and advocacy, we assist young people growing into responsible, caring, community connected, and positive members of society. Our organization has demonstrated successful outcomes with alumni reaching pinnacles of success in their careers, which range from police and probation officers to filmmakers, attorney’s experts in infection control, entrepreneurs, marketing executives, and more. IGAC has proven that changing even one life can change the world.”
Said Kimberly, an IGAC recent college graduate, “IGAC connected me to resources and community members of Napa who want to see me succeed. That impacted not only me but my family. It broke the cycle of poverty. My younger brothers and I accessed resources that were available to us because I learned how to ask for help. Now college is a natural transition from high school for my brothers. I learned no matter what, we can make it work.”
“When you have even one caring adult in a child’s life, it changes the trajectory of their future, with positive, healthy outcomes,” said Haley.
Article By: Fran Miller