Our Story

Breaking the cycle of poverty one student at a time.

This is the mission of JOYA Scholars. And education is the key.

The Garnet Neighborhood in the City of Fullerton, CA is made up of five small blocks where more than 1,200 low-income children from working class immigrant families make their home. This neighborhood, in the middle of one of the wealthiest counties in the country, was marked by one startling statistic: There had been no college graduates to emerge from the Garnet Neighborhood in over a decade.


valeria-chapman-signIn 2014, JOYA Scholar Valeria Sosa became Garnet’s first college graduate, completing a bachelor’s degree in political science from Chapman University in just three years. She is currently attending Western State College of Law.

When JOYA Scholars began in 2009, not a single high school student from Garnet aside from Valeria was eligible for a four-year university. Today, there are students enrolled at University of California Irvine, University of California Riverside, and California State University Fullerton. Even more students from the program attend local colleges planning to transfer to four-year universities.

By supporting students through one-on-one mentoring, academic tutoring, educational workshops, parent academy, campus visits, SAT prep, JOYA Scholars comes alongside junior high and high school students to fill a relational and knowledgeable gap for students and their families for whom the school can be a confusing and intimidating process to navigate.

Our students rely on the generous support of individuals, corporations, churches, and foundations. It is only with your involvement that students and their families from the Garnet Neighborhood can aspire to college, be nurtured by loving and supportive mentoring, and have access to the best in educational and life-skills training so that each student can reach their goals and be successful.

Join us in our commitment to inspire and prepare students from families of low-income communities in Fullerton to succeed through higher education.

JOYA Scholars is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Federal Tax ID: 30-0560345