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November 17, 2022 26 min

Vineyard Team’s Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship provides multi-year, higher education investments in the children of vineyard and winery workers on California’s Central Coast based on academic excellence, financial need, and community involvement. The majority of awardees are first-generation college students. This funding supports students and their families in achieving their dreams of successful graduation from a trade, or two- or four-year school to pursue a professional career.

Vineyard Team’s Executive Director, Beth Vukmanic, and milti-year scholarship recipient and Assistant Grower Relations Representative at Justin Winery, Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza talk about how the scholarship impacted her education and career trajectory through not only financial aide but industry connections. Evelyn gives her advice on how to succeed in college to new students and Beth shares how to apply for funding.

First-generation students have more barriers when it comes to attaining higher education – they cannot ask their parents how to navigate the system, budgets are often tight, and they can feel guilty for leaving their families. As a community, we can band together to better the future of the next generation. Multi-year recipient Alberto Gonzales says, "I am proud of breaking the cycle and being the change in my family as the first generation to go to college."

You can give the gift of higher education to students like Evelyn and Alberto this GivingTuesday. Our goal is to raise $75,000 by November 29, 2022. You’ll be doing more than just donating — your kindness will make it possible for working families to send their children to two-year colleges, four-year universities, and trade schools.


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Craig Macmillan  0:00 

And today our guests are Beth Vukmanic, she's executive director of vineyard team and Evelyn Alvarez Mendoza. She is assistant grower relations representative with Justin Winery. Today we're going to talk about the Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship. Beth, would you tell us a little bit about how that came about? What it is what it does, and that kind of thing with the background is?


Beth Vukmanic  0:22 

I would love to, but one of ours Memorial Scholarship is to benefit the children of vineyard and winery workers. For anybody who has been a fan of this podcast. You know, we talk about sustainable winegrowing. And a lot of the times that focuses on the planet part of it. So we're talking about soils and pests and irrigation, but people are our most valuable resource. And this scholarship program is a way for us to give back to the people who helped us make a wonderful industry.


Craig Macmillan  0:50 

Who was Juan Nevarez?


Beth Vukmanic  0:52 

Juan Nevarez was a winegrower, who started out in the Paso Robles area, he moved here to the United States as a teenager, I believe he was just 16 years old. He didn't speak any English. And he just learned everything from the ground up. He was a very, I guess you'd probably call it a gritty soul, he would always put in the time and effort to try to teach himself. So if somebody was putting in irrigation lines, he would go over and ask them questions. Or if somebody was planting vines, he would go in and ask questions about why they made that choice. And he over time really developed a successful management company called Nevarez Farm Labor, he helped establish a lot of notable vineyards, including Justin in the Paso Robles area of Calif

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