UAV to offer full scholarships to VIDA graduates

UAV hands off a full scholarship certificate, which will go to one lucky graduate of the VIDA program. (L to R) Palmdale Sheriff’s Captain Bobby Denham, Lancaster Sheriff’s Caption Bob Jonsen, Sgt. Steve Sylvies, UAV co-founders Sandra and Marco Johnson.

LANCASTER – The University of the Antelope Valley announced Thursday it will be granting a full-ride bachelor degree scholarship every year to one lucky graduate of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Vital Intervention and Directional Alternatives (VIDA) Program.

VIDA is a 16-week program for “at risk” youth, ages 11 to17, which integrates counseling, physical fitness and community service to curb criminal behavior through positive reinforcement.

“This program is what will help these kids to develop their courage, their pride and the confidence that they need to be productive in our community,” said UAV co-founder Sandra Johnson. “We’re honored that we can be a small part of making that happen.”

UAV co-founder Sandra Johnson speaks at a press conference Thursday to announce UAV’s partnership with the VIDA program.

The partnership between VIDA and UAV was the idea of Sgt. Steve Sylvies of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station, who felt that graduates of the intervention program should have a direct route to pursuing higher education.

“What we wanted to do is give them something to strive for, something to look forward to after their graduation,” said Sylvies.

Sylvies said the first recipient for the full UAV scholarship could be chosen as soon as next month, from VIDA’s graduating class in December. This recipient could then begin attending UAV, on scholarship, as soon as January 2012, when the semester begins.

Recipients of the UAV scholarship will be chosen by VIDA staff based on several criteria, including how well they progress through the VIDA program, schoolwork and progress reports, how well they interact with classmates and teachers, and how well they interact with family members.

“When the parents meet with the [VIDA] staff, they are going to provide feedback. Are they seeing a change in their child’s behavior?” Sylvies said. “An all around change is what we are striving for, not just ‘I can follow the rules at school,’ but we want them to interact better with their family.”

One VIDA graduate will be selected for the UAV scholarship each year. However, the university has committed itself to aiding all VIDA graduates.

“They will be showing them how to access scholarships, grants and all these other programs to help them,” said Sylvies. “Even if they didn’t win the scholarship, they can still utilize all other aspects out there to help them get into the university.”

“We can design many different ways so that these students can continue their education,” said Johnson. “We’re just starting this relationship and we can get very creative.”

There are two VIDA sites in the Antelope Valley, one in Palmdale and one in Lancaster. The sites are staffed by deputies from the Community Oriented Policing Services Bureau, as well as one deputy each from Lancaster and Palmdale Stations.

For more information on the VIDA program, visit

  7 comments for “UAV to offer full scholarships to VIDA graduates

  1. S. Parker
    November 18, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Eric, what are you doing to assist at risk youth? I can bet that the answer is NOTHING! That means you should not criticize those who are trying to help! I think this is a noble effort by UAV and I can’t believe that someone can find fault with giving a full scholarship to a disadvantaged youth who otherwise would not have such an opportunity. It is YOU who should be ASHAMED!!!

    • Eric Moore
      November 18, 2011 at 4:25 am

      Ok, how many of you will be sending your kids there? will you allow your child or granschild load up on student loans to earn a degree from UAV? this is a for PROFIT SCHOOL lets not loose site of that FACT, if these guys are looking for an opportunity to change thier lifes then give them a REAL CHANCE, I sure hope other alternatives are being offer to these kids, the stories I’ve heard from former UAV students are not pretty, tons of debt and no jobs. I had no parents growing up, for that reason I relate to children in the same situation, in the past I have open my house to emergency foster care for troubled teenagers, I don’t really go around telling people I did this or I did that, it feels wrong to me, that is not important, what is important is that these kids are giving a REAL CHANCE and are not taken advantage by this for PROFIT SCHOOL, maybe me bring this up will give people pause and re-think this hole thing, that is OK get mad at me, just keep in mind that this kids are TRUSTING YOU TO DO RIGHT BY THEM.

    • Maureen (formally known as sea hag)
      November 18, 2011 at 10:21 am

      WE ARE GIVING THESE KIDS A SCHOLARSHIP! Sandra and hubby are making millions. You do realize it’s us paying for this, right Mr. Parker?
      U of AV’s student body is over 85% government grants. Not parents. US!
      Your tax dollars are paying for this. It’s always nice when those making a fortune cut the peons off a chunk, but don’t get confused as to where the cash is coming from. And when a kid in my house, who graduated over 2 years ago, and has had NO help from these folks in finding a job as a Pharmaceutical Tech called about the $2,000 pay out to employers for hiring their graduates, he was told to get that elusive job, and THEN give them a call! Not much help at all.

      • Maureen (formally known as sea hag)
        November 18, 2011 at 10:23 am

        As far as the “University” crap is concerned, It would be the same as me changing my name to Doctor. Doesn’t make me one!

  2. Eric Moore
    November 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    The UAV should be ashamed of themselves, they now have access to these kids, and get creative with their financing? this is a for profit two bit so called university, they are going to leave these kids with big students loans, a two bit degree and no job, and who is making the money? this is sickening taking advantage of these kids like this and VIDA is willing to put thier reputation on line, I have a questions for the people from VIDA, would you allow your child or grandchild to put themselves in debt to attend this so called (I can’t say it) univeristy?

    • Tasha
      November 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      all you do on this site is bitch, bitch and bitch some more. dont you get tired of bitching? or are you just a fountain of bitchery?

      • Matt S
        November 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

        Really Eric. You should only say Positive things. After all, they dress really nice. They must have lots of self respect!

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