27th Annual Howard T. Collins Memorial Scholarship Awards Ceremony Inspires and Gifts Gratitude


    Balancing school, jobs and family, many of Eden's residents have been steadfast in their commitment to higher education, be it through a trade school, an undergraduate or master's degree. Many are the first in their family to pursue a college education.

    Eden Housing celebrated the academic accomplishments of 38 inspiring residents at our 27th Annual Howard T. Collins Memorial Scholarship Awards. These funds will assist residents as they attend Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles and UC Merced; University of Southern California, CSU East Bay, CSU Fullerton and CSU Monterey Bay; San Francisco State, San Diego State and San Jose State, as well as many local community colleges.

    Since the program's inception in 1993, Eden Housing has awarded more than 500 scholarships to many deserving residents. The scholarship program was created to honor Howard T. Collins, an active, dedicated member of the Eden Housing Board of Directors who believed in education and opportunity for all. The mild weather was ideal for the outdoor ceremony as the supportive audience listened to speakers share their inspiring stories beneath an arch of green and white balloons. Two top scholarship winners addressed the crowd.


    Sommer (above) of Savannah Apartments in West Sacramento shared how living at Eden gave her stability when she needed it most going into her tough junior year of high school. "I will always be motivated to work my hardest and succeed. Because I know about those who never even get the chance to try," she wrote in her application. Sommer is in her first semester at Stanford University this fall to study Engineering with a sub-plan in Product Design and a minor in Cultural Anthropology.


    Geraldo (above) of 801 Alma Family Apartments in Palo Alto pumped up the crowd with an inspiring speech about sticking to one's goals. In his application, he wrote that before coming to Eden housing, his family moved around a lot, but once they were approved for Eden their lives improved dramatically. They now had more space and lived in a family-friendly neighborhood.  "The affordability of the rent gave my parents more days off from work, enabling more family time together," he said. "We're definitely a closer-knit family since being here." Geraldo is in a post-baccalaureate program with plans to become a medical doctor.


    It was a poignant moment when a representative from Hayward area Assembly member Bill Quirk's office, Carolina Salazar Herrera (above), stood  up to speak about her families' struggles living in their car and how she now advocates for the unsheltered and affordable housing. 

    Chase volunteers (pictured below) ran arts and crafts in the employee breakroom, where children and family members made congratulatory posters for the awardees. Chase volunteers also helped distribute backpacks stuffed with school supplies, donated by Workday, to each awardee and helped set up and clean up the event. Eden is very grateful for their extra hands which helped ensure the event ran smoothly.


    The scholarship committee, comprised of Eden Housing Board of Directors, staff, and community partners, had tough decisions to make while carefully evaluating the 41 completed applications. The recipients, residing at 28 Eden Housing properties across eleven counties in California, provided compelling essays describing their educational and career goals, personal life stories, letters of recommendation, and education-based financial needs. The stories told in each application are a testament to the positive effects a safe home and services-supported community can have on an individual's success.

    More than twelve representatives from the California State Assembly, State Senate, and US House of Representatives sent their congratulations in the form of certificates of appreciation to their local recipient which was also presented at the ceremony.   

    Many thanks to all of our residents, volunteers and friends as well as our event sponsor, Union Bank, for making our 27th scholarship year a huge success.​

    To see all of our pictures click here.​


eden housing does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, or any other arbitrary basis.