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Located on Catalina Island in Southern California.

What is SCIF?

SCIF is a program that readies Catalina Island students for the academic, social, and emotional rigors of college. Our members will attest to the fact that SCIF is not just about getting accepted into a fit college, but is just as much about learning how to survive off the island and all that it encompasses from social graces to dealing with beauracricies.

Getting our kids into fit and affordable colleges is hard work, but it really is just the tip of the iceberg. Once SCIF students are in college, we continue to offer support whether it be with financial aid, roommate, emotional, and even transportation issues. By their junior year in college we offer in-services and guidance with internships and career planning. In their senior year we help put our students in touch with potential employers or help with graduate school research and applications. We work hard to make sure our SCIF students have the support they need to graduate college and obtain professional employment.

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Why College?

  • On average, a person with a 4 year college degree makes $1,000,000 more in their lifetime than someone without a college degree.
  • On average, within 6 months of graduation a person with a 4 year college degree will make $12,000 more per year than his/her peers without a 4 year college degree.
  • During the recession college grads had a far lower unemployment rate than people with some college or no college.

Many Mantras

On this website you will see many of our mantras. We use them relentlessly. Actually, we try to do a bit of brainwashing with them. For some reason or another the two mottos that get said over and over again are “do what you need to do so you can do what you want to do” and “opportunities are not obligations.” We are sure the SCIF kids get tired of hearing those. Yet it is always fun to listen to them discuss things in another context and use these mottos. Many of their scholarship applications incorporate at least one mantra, and after reading them we really feel as if our kids are armed for success.

For our full list of mantras click here.


Small Economies

Small economies are small changes we can make in our lives to save money without interrupting our lifestyles. For each group of students, small economies can come in many forms. We ask our SCIF students and their families to utilize the art of small economies as a means of saving money for college.

Many times we ask them to write how much they saved and how they saved it. Some examples were: buying one cookie instead of two cookies at school, renting movies instead of attending them, or saving change instead of spending it. Instead of buying it, their parents made coffee at home or brought their lunch to work. On average each student saves around $300. For some that is a semesters worth of books.


Santa Catalina island is located approximately 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles County. At it’s farthest points, the island is about 22 miles long and 8 miles wide. There is only one city, Avalon, with one K-12 school. About 3,700 people live in Avalon, which only takes up about 3 square miles of the entire island. The city is a resort community, and the islanders depend on tourism. This means that all residents are expected to be hospitable and welcoming to visitors. Kids start working at a young age in order to support their families, while also attending school. 


Getting through the year is not easy. We are a community that supports each other. SCIF and AVID are not islands unto themselves. We are just a part of the village that is helping to raise our island kids to become successful and contributing adults.

Strong Relationships with Colleges

We aren’t the only ones that believe in SCIF students’ potential. While they might not have access to all the bells and whistles of the preparatory schools over town, they are obtaining the same college acceptances and scholarships. Most of the small liberal arts colleges across the country love our students. Being raised on an island that weans its children on hospitality is an asset that colleges wish to invest in. Being raised on an island that is isolated from the large infrastructures means we are an all hands on deck society. The colleges find this to be an asset as well. There are no big department stores, no Walmart; we are an island that must make due by thinking outside the box. This type of problem solving is a huge asset on a college campus. Many of our students have held full time summer employment since they hit double digits. Their work ethic and experience is another asset on college campuses. Our island kids often gain access to colleges that have academic entrance means that are above where our kids are yet they accept our students and offer them scholarships as if they were top scholars.

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Before SCIF our college retention rate was nothing to brag about. Our AVID students managed college life much better, but not all students can participate in AVID. SCIF is open to all island students who want to attend college. Both SCIF and AVID share similar goals. We want to improve our students’ odds of success off the island as college students. It might be easy to get into SCIF but it is not easy to remain in SCIF. We demand a lot and we despise excuses. Our kids will undoubtedly act their age and we understand this, but our job is to help them get back on track each time they go astray. Success in SCIF is not based on GPA. A good GPA helps, but it is not the means to the end. Success in SCIF is derived from a year’s worth of hard work that results in personal growth. At SCIF we do not measure the end result we measure the distance from origin to completion. Those who grow the most do the best.

Growth doesn’t mean they have been angels. Undoubtably they have had their share of “teenageness.” Growth does mean courage. The kids who have grown the most not only had the courage to be honest about their mishaps, flaws, and teenage behaviors, but they also had the courage to practice different ways to set things right and put themselves on the right course for success. This makes us proud!

The Pledge

Prior to receiving their SCIF scholarships, all students are required to sign the following pledge:

We pledge to pay it forward to our families, our community, and the institutions that have invested in us. 

La Promesa

Todos de los estudiantes necesitan firmar este promesa:

Los miembros del SCIF seguiran honrando la “cadena de favores” hacia sus familias, comunidad, e instituciones quines han invertido en ellos.