A Long Beach High School junior, intent on honoring her late mother's courage and perseverance, created a scholarship fund to help her classmates.
Brooke Yellin, 17, initiated the Geri E. Yellin Scholarship Foundation and began fundraising less than a week after her mother died in February 2018. The $500 scholarship is issued annually to a Long Beach student who has overcome obstacles in his or her life and values education as Brooke's mother did.
She has raised about $3,000 for the foundation by selling bracelets, lanyards and silicone phone wallets — all incorporating her mother's favorite color: purple. She also solicits donations through the crowdfunding platform GoFundMe.
"My mom was so determined and willing," said Brooke, adding that she hopes to expand the scholarship to other local school districts. "Through all the trauma, she still worked her butt off every day."
Geri Yellin, 47, was born with only 5 percent of her oxygen going to her brain, and doctors did not expect her to live for more than two weeks, Brooke said. Though she also was born with a heart condition and was diagnosed with dyslexia, she successfully graduated high school and attended college.
Brooke is a member of the varsity soccer team and is manager of the cheerleading team. In addition, she is involved in the peer leadership program and assists special needs students in her school.