Pay It Forward Scholarship & Mentoring Program
“Their commitment to help and be of service to each other, their family, and their community is unparalleled,” writes Jessica Carter, Director of the Pay It Forward Scholarship & Mentoring Program, about twin brothers Gurman and Gurtaj Grewal. Gurman and Gurtaj began their educational career in the Pay It Forward Scholarship & Mentoring Program at California State University, Monterey Bay this year, inspired by their older twin sisters Charn and Chand. Carter adds: “The Grewal siblings consistently help and support each other, excel in their academics while helping at their father’s store, and regularly give back to their community through their volunteer work and mentoring. They are humble, kind, and a pleasure to work with.”
The Pay It Forward Scholarship & Mentoring Program is a support and accountability program that ensures first-generation college students succeed. The program provides scholarship awards, life skills, mentoring, and accountability structures that increase the graduation and career placement success.
Elder sister, Charn Grewal (middle) acknowledges that the familial support they all have for each other has created the foundation for their success, and the Pay It Forward Program provided the opportunity. “My siblings and I support each other through love and empathy for one another. We are the children of immigrants from Punjab, India who came here with nothing but gave us everything.” The greatest lesson that Ms. Charn Grewal learned from the Pay It Forward Program was how to ask for help: A challenge that the majority of
first-generation college students face. “This program taught me the value of mentorship and how to get past the fear of actively seeking help, and how getting help does not make you inferior. It taught me how valuable it is to learn from others’ experiences and mistakes.”
The Pay It Forward Scholarship & Mentoring Program provides a $20,000 four-year scholarship at California State University, Monterey Bay, to local Monterey County, first-generation college students through private funds. Each scholar is mentored by a community leader who helps the student navigate the challenges of college life. “Learning from my mentor and reflecting on my own experiences truly helped me grow as an individual. To this day, as a resident physician, I actively seek mentorship opportunities so I can continue to learn and grow in all aspects of my life,” says Ms. Charn Grewal. Former Pay It Forward Program Director, Tim McCarthy, adds that the sisters have always exemplified strong core values and remained warm and gracious to all around them. “Each was totally committed to their family and to their shared goal of becoming medical doctors.”
Since the Pay It Forward Scholarship and Mentoring Program’s inception in 2008, 3.5 million dollars has been raised for scholarships, and more than 170 community leaders have served as mentors.
Brothers Gurman and Gurtaj Grewal are preparing for their second year at CSUMB with the Pay It Forward Program, and older sisters, Charn and Chand, have since graduated through the Pay It Forward Program at CSUMB, graduated from medical school, and are now in their first year of residency.
To learn more about the Pay It Forward Scholarship & Mentoring Program, visit firstteemontereycounty.org/pif. To help first-generation scholars like Charn, Chand, Gurman, and Gurtaj achieve their goals, make a donation or become a mentor today.