CSFP’s dedicated staff strives to make quality education financially accessible to children in Philadelphia. Meet one of the people behind the scholarships: SVP of Scholarship and Program Operations, Julie Raiken.
Julie has been with CSFP since 2004 and has helped thousands of children access schools that they love. We sat down with Julie to hear what she has to say after 15 years of leading the program team.
Q: What keeps you interested in CSFP? Do you have a personal connection to our mission?
A: Early on in my career in social services, I realized the importance of empowering people. To me, CSFP is about empowering families to secure the best possible education for their children. Since becoming a parent, I feel more and more connected to CSFP’s mission. Making sure that my own children get the best education possible is so incredibly important to me. I firmly believe that every parent should have that opportunity and a choice, no matter what zip code they live in.
Q: What motivates you?
A: In one word – families. Our families are dedicated and so grateful for the opportunity that we offer to them. Empowering them to know that they have options is something I feel good about every day when I come to work.
Q: What is a “quality education?”
A: I think everyone could give you a different answer to this question. To me, it is an education that allows an individual child to reach their highest potential by giving them a safe place to learn, thrive and succeed.
Q: What’s the one piece of advice you would give to a Philadelphia parent who wants their child to receive quality education?
A: First, Apply to CSFP’s scholarship lottery. The application is free, easy, and can change your child’s life. Second, exercise your choice! Philadelphia is a city with many options. There are great schools in every category – public, charter and private. CSFP can help you afford private school if that is one of the choices you are considering.
Q: What’s the one piece of advice you would give to a CSFP student?
A: Work hard, be open to learning new things, and learn from your mistakes.