It is a unique program that offers financial incentives for students. Until earlier this year, students earned paychecks for their grades each month.
That same amount was saved and matched as a scholarship once the student graduated from high school.
To date, SOY's Scholarship Program has had 100% of its students go on to college, according to Executive Director Trevor Murphy.
He shared thank-you notes from SOY alumni who are in college. I was blown away by their accomplishments, including a student pursuing a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a young woman who is pre-med. Most of them are the first generation in their family to go to college.
"Our college-ready component has transformed how our community thinks about college," Trevor said as he described his students' success.
In addition to providing the scholarships and well-rounded programs, students are taken on college tours each year to experience campuses and expand their horizons.
In the thank-you notes, several students shared that the college trip to Stanford, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara and beyond was the first time they had been past Los Angeles.
One student commented that meeting SOY alumni studying on those campuses helped him believe that he could be successful in college, too. Trevor said that a lot of his executive effort in the past several years has been around moving students past high school to college, to helping kids through community college and into four-year schools.
"They go away and we celebrate," he said. "They are having success."
But the ability to help support that success is in jeopardy.
This past spring, the funding that had supported the program for the last 17 years was discontinued. The SOY staff has gotten creative in making adjustments from paying students in cash to a point system so they are still saving up for their scholarships.