Projected to impact 5,000 students in northern California, the Ford
Driving Dreams Tour delivers scholarships and motivational activities
to San Jose students.
Former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez, a Stockton native, inspires high
school students with his story of resiliency through a 12-year pursuit
of his STEM career.
The Ford Driving Dreams Tour expands to the West Coast and includes
middle school students for the first time in the U.S.
SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thousands of students today learned why completing high school improves
their chances for later success, part of the message delivered by Ford
Motor Company’s innovative Ford Driving Dreams tour at its first-ever
stop in northern California. (Click
here for B-roll footage)
Ford Motor Company Fund, the company’s philanthropic arm, kicked off the
Ford Driving Dreams Tour in San Jose at an inspirational pep rally in
Yerba Buena High School. The tour is slated to impact 5,000 northern
California students in schools with high Latino concentrations. Designed
to motivate high school students to complete high school on time and
pursue higher education, the program will also engage middle school
students for the first time in the U.S.
“We are committed to playing an active role in the community, helping
level the playing field for students that want to succeed but lack the
resources to do so,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund
and Community Services, at the kick-off event in Yerba Buena High School
today. “With our local efforts through the Ford Driving Dreams Tour and
the Palo Alto Research and Innovation Center, we continue to focus on
education and innovation as our top priorities.”
The Ford Driving Dreams Tour presented a motivational pep rally, essay
contest, and scholarships to high school students in four San Jose
public schools. It is part of a long-term northern California community
investment launched by Ford and its dealers in June.
Former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez and nationally recognized
empowerment speaker Roy Juarez, Jr., whose powerful story was featured
in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Extraordinary Teens, kicked off the
program at a pep rally at Yerba Buena High School. It will be followed
by motivational rallies at Andrew Hill High School, James Lick High
School, and William C. Overfelt High School. All four schools are part
of the East Side Union High School District. In partnership with the
U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), the California Tour will
have impacted 4,000 high school students and 1,000 middle school
To underscore the importance of STEM careers, former NASA astronaut Jose
Hernandez spoke to the high school students, inspiring the youth to
develop an indomitable spirit when pursuing their dreams. A Stockton
native, Hernandez experienced spaceflight in a NASA mission and spent 13
days in orbit.
“I first got my dream as I hoed a row of sugar beets in a California
field with my parents,” said former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez. “It
took 12 tries to achieve my dream of becoming an astronaut. I am proof
that with a good education, solid work ethic, and the right resources,
any student’s dream – a dream that others may turn down the first 11
times – becomes a goal that can be fulfilled.”
In partnership with local Boys & Girls Clubs, approximately 1,000
students from local middle schools will participate in an essay contest
which encourages them to reflect on their studies and future careers.
The essay contest will be open to the middle school students that attend
the Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley, Fresno County, Marin and
Southern Sonoma Counties, Monterey County, and Greater Sacramento.
Prizes include gift cards and iPads.
The Ford Driving Dreams Tour was designed by Ford Motor Company Fund to
help Latino youth graduate on time and pursue higher education. Launched
in 2012, the program has reached more than 30,000 students in Chicago,
Indiana, Florida, Texas, and, most recently, Panama. Ford Driving Dreams
initiatives, including the Tour, have delivered more than $3 million in
educational resources such as scholarships, college preparedness,
tutoring programs, parental engagement, and motivational activities.
The $1 million investment in northern California includes education and
community programs. This investment is part of Ford Fund’s Operation
Better World initiative. Launched in 2008, the Operation Better World
framework enables Ford Fund dealers and other groups to collaborate on a
strategic approach to philanthropy and more effectively meet community
needs. Ford’s latest investments in northern California brings the total
community investment amount to more than $4.5 million over the last 10
Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company,
invests more than $8 million a year in scholarships and other education
initiatives. In addition to Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Fund educational
programs include Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning,
Ford College Community Challenge and the Ford STEAM Lab.
About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community
and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community
life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 65 years with
ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is
free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development
and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and
impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through
Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning and other
inspiring programs that enhance high school learning and provide college
scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists
more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local
projects that strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives in
more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit http://community.ford.com.
For news releases, related materials and high-resolution photos and
video, visit www.media.ford.com.
for Ford Motor Company Fund
Jossie Flor Sapunar