Exciting updates

We are bringing you some more success stories from Paly's Class of 2016 Rise Together Education graduates, who have benefited from donations from our RTE community. In this newsletter, we are featuring our recent graduate, Sammy Vasquez and soon to be graduate, Dami Bolarinwa. 

Our website has just been completely redone into a beautiful, sleek modern one! Even more exciting, the time and know-how of this update was generously donated by one of our terrific RTE graduates, Samuel “Sammy” Vasquez. Read below for more about Sammy and the amazing energy and dedication he is pouring back into RTE. 

Be sure to check out videos of RTE students on our website!

...Join us for a pizza night at Pizza My Heart on 10/28. See below...

Celebrating MORE college graduates!


Sammy Vasquez, Paly Class of 2016

Samuel Vasquez recently graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in visual communications and design. Though he started out as a mathematics major, he eventually realized that he wanted to go into a more creative field and chose Visual Communication Design as his major. During his time at SFSU, Sammy completed numerous interactive media projects, including redesigning a website for San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery. As a student, he also worked as a freelancer at LightGrid, a lighting-based technology startup. After graduating, LightGrid hired him as a lead designer for a new software project. He is excited to get more involved with RTE as the first alumni leader on the board, and he hopes to improve the experience for future RTE participants. In addition to creating a new RTE website, Sammy, along with fellow RTE graduate Stephanie Estrada, felt passionate about the need to create an alumni mentorship program.  Sammy explained that, "The world is changing rapidly. With the overnight popularity of virtual classes, due to the ever-changing world, college is no longer the same as it was ten or even five years ago. My hope is that having a younger, more relatable mentor will allow the mentee to be more comfortable and open with them."


Dami Bolarinwa, Paly Class of 2016

Oluwadamilola “Dami” Bolarinwa will graduate from Notre Dame de Namur University in December 2020 with a degree in Computer Science and is currently the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Pet Vision Technology. Bolarinwa attended Notre Dame on a soccer scholarship, a sport he also played at Paly, describing it as a “crazy, eye-opening time,” that allowed him to build the self-motivation he needed to focus on school and beyond. Founded with his classmates, his company, Pet Vision, aims to better connect pet owners with their pets by using artificial intelligence technology. After graduating from college this winter, Dami hopes to continue growing Pet Vision into a profitable business, and to further pursue other business ideas using his Computer Science degree. Dami is grateful to RTE for giving him the foundation, help, and support system he needed to start working toward his goals. RTE made life full of options,” Dami explained. “The scholarship that got me into college allowed me to focus less on working to pay for school and more on focusing on what I was passionate about [Pet Vision], and they stood by whatever I chose to pursue.”


Thanks to Pizza My Heart!

Pizza My Heart Fundraiser 10/28

Please put in an alert in your calendar! Pizza My Heart is supporting us by providing 30% of the proceeds from meal orders on October 28th between 4 to 9 pm. You MUST state the name Rise Together Education with your order. This applies to all online on Pizza My Heart’s website or phone orders (650)327-9400 for the University Ave location only.

Thank you for believing in us! 

Paly's Rise Together Education is a volunteer run, nonprofit organization. We need your financial gift to provide scholarships for socio-economically disadvantaged Paly students. One scholarship for a four-year college student is $2,500 per year and $500 per year for a community college student. As you can see with Sammy and Dami, these scholarships are a great investment in the future for these Paly graduates and the Paly community. Please consider a recurring monthly donation via PayPal. We also accept checks and Venmo. Volunteers are always welcome! 

As always, thank you for your support!


Dawn Billman

President, Board of Directors