“We are proud that If Given a Chance has contributed so much to the community for the past 25 years. This inaugural essay contest gives students the chance to show how they would do the same,” said Allison Haley, IGAC board president, and Napa County district attorney. “We were inspired to create this contest by the many IGAC alumni who, after being assisted by IGAC with their education, are involved in many ways in helping Napa County. They see it as a way to pay it forward.”

Judges for the contest are: Lenore Hirsch, a former teacher, and principal; Elaine John, Queen of the Valley Foundation CEO, former English literature teacher; Laura Lopez Ledesma, JD, advocate for immigrant rights and social justice; Karen Nagano, artist, poet, social activist, and healer; Harris Nussbaum, former teacher, student adviser; Travis Stanley, CEO, Napa Chamber of Commerce and Mandisa Amber Wood, MA, MFA, dancer, educator, a teacher at Napa Valley College and food justice advocate

If Given A Chance identifies Napa County high school students who have overcome extraordinary challenges and who have demonstrated a commitment to continuing their education and helps them succeed on their positive path. IGAC helps students regain their sense of self-worth, emotional balance, and independent living skills through mentoring, life-skills training, and financial assistance. IGAC provides ongoing support as these students navigate the challenges of obtaining a college degree or completing a vocational training program.

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