Meet this year's Freedom Writer Scholars!
And help us raise our last $1,000!
Steven Chhem's family came to Long Beach, California as refugees, fleeing the Cambodian Genocide amongst thousands of other Cambodians. The city of Long Beach is currently home to the largest Cambodian population outside of South East Asia. As a single mother of four children, Mrs. Chhem does everything she can to care for her kids, but was never able to receive a high school education. Growing up, Steven (pictured above) recalls his mother picking up aluminum cans and glass bottles while walking him to school, in hopes of selling them to a recycling center, and doing labor-intensive jobs. 
Every morning before school Steven, a Wilson High senior, wakes up early to go to work in his school’s cafeteria. When Steven was a sophomore, Mrs. Chhem was diagnosed with five hemorrhages in her brain, so he helps care, cook, and provide for his mother and siblings. He says, "Throughout my life my mother has been the most influential person to me... Watching her struggle inspired me to strive for the best. Her outlook on life changed my perspective of the world. I now appreciate and view my life in a different way- with an open mind and a generous heart." Living his life with a spirit of generosity, Steven enjoys volunteering at the Veteran's Hospital and participating in initiatives to help the homeless. 
Despite his alcoholic father passing away a few days before Steven’s thirteenth birthday and his mother’s illness, Steven has remained dedicated to his studies and participates in school activities that foster his creative side. One of his fondest memories from school is the first time he performed in the Wilson Dance Show. Regardless of his family’s struggles, they all showed up to support Steven, filling him with a sense of pride and the realization that he could succeed with their love and encouragement.
The Freedom Writers Foundation is ecstatic to have Steven as one of our nine 2015 Freedom Writer Scholars. It is our mission to honor his perseverance by granting him a scholarship and providing support throughout his academic endeavors. Steven aspires to pursue a degree in Accounting and Business Administration and become an Accountant. He believes that through hard work and commitment, he will become successful and independent. 
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The Freedom Writers Foundation awards scholarships each year to first-generation high school graduates who have achieved academic excellence despite being disadvantaged. The Freedom Writer Scholars have overcome adversities such as homelessness, inner-city crime, poverty, and broken homes in order to pursue a college education.
Scholarships are merit-based with heavy need-based considerations. Our scholarships go towards college tuition, books, supplies, and other educational expenses. All of our scholarship recipients have demonstrated remarkable academic promise despite considerable odds. The scholarship program was originally created to help the Freedom Writers attend college, and now the Freedom Writers are paying it forward to the next generation. We are proud to announce that this year we are awarding our 100th scholarship.
It is a philanthropic priority to ensure that high school seniors can take full advantage of their potential for success and have the opportunity to receive a higher education, regardless of their financial means. Scholarships are key. Therefore, 100% of your tax-deductible donations will go directly to this year's deserving scholarship recipients. Help us raise our last $1000! You can securely donate online today or mail a check to:
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Freedom Writers Foundation
c/o Scholarship
PO Box 41505
Long Beach, CA 90853
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Congratulations to all the 2015 Freedom Writer Scholars, pictured above!
2015 Scholars
Marley Abbott
Amanda Aceituno
Karina Araujo
Steven Chhem
Heidi Dinkler
2015 Scholars
Khan Mandozai
Kevin Saenz
Amanda Yin
Keyilah Zimmerman

About the program

The Scholarship Program was initially developed to provide full financial support to the Original Freedom Writers to attend college. Today, many have moved on to pursue masters and doctoral degrees. 

The Freedom Writers are still devoted to education and civil rights. They feel obligated to pay it forward. Therefore, the Freedom Writers continue the scholarship program for first-generation high school graduates from Woodrow Wilson High School, the Freedom Writers' alma mater. 

For more information about our Freedom Writer Scholars program, please contact us