Seal Beach couple wants to help students ‘Soar for Change’

Nonprofit to award scholarships to help kids make an impact

Seal Beach residents Shaun and Amanda Shuck recently launched SoarforChange, a nonprofit that awards college scholarships and offers recipients mentorship and support. Photo by Jeannette Andruss

A remarkable thing happened as Seal Beach residents Shaun and Amanda Shuck made the 20-hour long drive from Colorado to California in June.

SoarforChange, the Shuck’s recently launched nonprofit, was born.

SoarforChange will give $10,000 college scholarships to children from underserved communities. The couple donated $10,000 to sponsor its first student.

“We’re passionate about kids and passionate about giving back,” Amanda explained.

The Shucks have lived in Seal Beach for about four years and have two young children. Both Amanda and Shaun work in sales for technology companies.

In an interview last week outside the couple’s Old Town home, their excitement was palpable. You could feel their smiles beaming through their face masks, enthusiastic about the chance to help young people attain a college degree and make a positive impact in their own communities.

Shaun and Amanda said they always talked about creating a scholarship program. But it wasn’t until they were making their way home from visiting Amanda’s family in Colorado this summer that the current events of the coronavirus pandemic, the resulting economic crisis and the protests against racial inequality inspired them to make it a reality.

“We realized that the underlying person that is impacted by all of these situations is the kids in underserved communities,” Shaun said.

As the Shucks explain it, SoarforChange will offer kids more than a financial boost.

“I don’t want to just give money but I want to make a change,” Shaun said. “These kids will go out and make change themselves.”

As part of the scholarship application process, students must pitch an idea for a “Passion Project” that answers two questions: 1) What does continued education mean to you? 2) What will you do to make an impact in your community while continuing your education?

“The Passion Project is meant to showcase the skills of the incredible young women and men that SOARforCHANGE is looking to support,” the website reads.

Each recipient of the two-year-long SoarforChange scholarship is required to maintain a positive academic standing at their chosen accredited school, commit to a community service program, and participate in the nonprofit’s mentorship program.

Shaun said he’s been mentoring students since he was in elementary school growing up in Huntington Beach. When his career brought him to Denver, he volunteered with Denver Kids, a nonprofit that supports students in the Denver Public School System.

Shaun formed a strong bond with his Denver Kids mentee and his family. Shaun helped his mentee with homework, they went to football games and attended church together. The families are still close to this day.

That positive experience led the Shucks to partner with Denver Kids as they launch SoarforChange. The first scholarship recipients will be selected from the Denver area.

The Shucks hope to eventually offer SoarForChange scholarships to students right here in Southern California.

SoarforChange is looking for others to donate to the cause and to sponsor students in its first year. The goal is to have enough money to offer three scholarships to be awarded in April 2021.

While sponsoring a few students may seem small, Amanda explained the effect a SoarForChange scholarship recipient can have is limitless. “You think of how big an impact you’re making and the fact that these kids are going to be paying it forward for years to come.”

Officially launched less than two weeks ago, SoarForChange has already raised around $15,000 which includes one relative that committed to sponsoring a student.

“I can’t explain how amazing this feels,” Shaun wrote in a text message on Tuesday with the news of the sponsorship. His enthusiasm was bursting through the screen. “Is it scholarship award time yet? The anticipation for these kids is going to drive Amanda and me bonkers!”

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