Student Spreads Inspiration and Support in Mother’s Memory

Student Spreads Inspiration and Support in Mother’s Memory photo
Perseverance, strength and empathy are words that many staff members and students at Long Beach High School use to describe junior Brooke Yellin. Since the devastating loss of her mother in February of 2018, this noble and generous student has found solace in helping others. Less than one week after her mother passed unexpectedly, Brooke began fundraising and initiated the Geri E. Yellin Scholarship Fund. Just a few months later, her determination was evidenced in her first $500 scholarship presentation to a graduating senior.

Brooke has raised funds through the sale of bracelets, lanyards and silicone phone wallets – all of which incorporate her mother’s favorite color, purple. Over the first day and a half she had raised over $800. To date, she has single-handedly garnered approximately $3,000 in proceeds for the scholarship that continues her mother Geri’s legacy.

Now an annual award in its second year, the character-based scholarship is bestowed upon a Long Beach High School student who has overcome obstacles in his or her life and values education as Brooke’s mother had done. Geri Yellin was born with 5% of her oxygen going to her brain, and doctors did not expect her to live for more than two weeks. She was later diagnosed with dyslexia and worked hard to succeed in school. She never gave up, graduating high school and attending college. She greatly valued her education and instilled this appreciation in her daughter. She was dedicated to helping others through her work in child day cares and nursing homes. 

Brooke shares her mother’s philanthropic spirit – in addition to singlehandedly developing the scholarship, which she hopes to eventually expand to other districts and communities, she strives to make a difference throughout the high school. She volunteers with special-needs students, has been involved in peer leadership programs and provided inspiring presentations to ninth grade health classes. A soccer athlete and cheerleading team manager, she also regularly stays after school to assist with unified sports opportunities for Life Skills students and is interested in a future career as an adaptive physical education teacher. 

“Brooke is a quiet leader. She follows her own lead and sets a great example for others,” said Assistant Principal Dr. Francine Newman.

“My mom was so determined and willing,” Brooke said. “She knew the one thing she needed to finish was school – so this award is for someone who has faced obstacles and persevered. There are so many who go through the worst and can come out best.” 

Brooke runs a Go Fund Me page and Instagram dedicated to the Geri E. Yellin Scholarship Fund. She is currently involved in the selection process for a deserving award recipient, who will be honored at this year’s Senior Scholarship Ceremony on May 30.