In 2002, Ronald Simon and his children formed a family foundation and established the Simon Scholars Program. A child of immigrants, Ron had achieved the American dream through his hard work in building a successful manufacturing company. Wanting to give back to the community, the Simon family decided their mission was to assist students with difficult life and economic circumstances.
As the Simon Scholars Program evolved, Dr. Kathy Abels, realized that financial aid alone was not sufficient to address the challenges faced by the Scholars. In 2005, Dr. Abels, using her background as a Clinical Psychologist, began conceptualizing and implementing a new approach for the Simon Scholars Program.
“Having been born to immigrant parents, I have always deeply appreciated the opportunities afforded to me by living in America. To give back in a meaningful way, I decided to establish a foundation, which led to the creation of the Simon Scholars Program, a unique scholarship program beginning in high school and continuing through four years of college. We focus on students who come from difficult life and economic circumstances and yet are determined to overcome the many adversities and obstacles facing them. It has been deeply gratifying to see firsthand the life-altering power of engaging, supporting and nurturing these students who come from all walks of life and ethnicities as they pursue their dream of achieving the American dream of independence and self-sufficiency.”
– Ronald M. Simon, Founder
Dr. Kathy Simon Abels, Ph.D.
Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Abels graduated summa cum laude from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University’s California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) in Los Angeles, and served clients in her private practice for nearly two decades while raising her three children.
Utilizing her background in Psychology, Dr. Abels evolved the Simon Scholars Program into what it is today: an intensive, college-prep support initiative that aims to help high school students overcome adversity and develop into college-educated leaders who are actively engaged in their communities.
Dr. Abels has been honored by the NAACP for her contribution to the Atlanta, Georgia community. In addition, the Simon Scholars Program was recognized by the National Scholarship Providers Association as the “Independent Scholarship Provider of the Year”.