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Commercial Department: Helping Hands: Joe Vera Seminars: November 2006


Helping Hands: Joe Vera Seminars

Each month, Helping Hands features a mortgage professional or group that has volunteered to lend a hand to others in need

Name Joe Vera, Joe Vera Seminars1106_helpinghands_com

Project Working with the University of California’s California Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (C.A.M.P.)

Site Southern California

Background In 1971, Vera started reaching out to students who were having academic difficulties or financial challenges with their education. His work with students — who’ve been from 12 to 24 years old — continues with the help from his family and his company.

Vera and his family have helped some students go “from straight F’s to straight A’s,” he says.

They also have helped some students secure financial aid for college and helped others explore further education options.

How Vera and his family got involved with C.A.M.P. after meeting its director, Kika Friend, at the University of California at Irvine seven years ago.

C.A.M.P.’s primary goal is to increase the number of bachelor’s degrees granted to minority students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the University of California. All high school students in California can compete for a seat in the program, Vera says.

The Veras and Friend have helped one another over the years. Friend has provided tutors for the students with whom the Veras work, and the Veras have helped C.A.M.P.’s efforts.

Why “This has been a personal endeavor that we have now interlaced with our daily business,” Vera says.

Examples Vera says his outreach takes other forms, as well.

After learning of 30 high school sophomore and juniors excelling in computer science — despite not owning computers — Vera, his family and his company donated more than 100 computers to C.A.M.P.’s students.

Friend also told Vera about a student who sought post-graduate work after his family encountered illness and job loss. Vera called the California Institute of Technology on the student’s behalf, and Friend worked to find a scholarship with a fellowship. They succeeded, Vera says, and the student is now working toward master’s and doctorate degrees.

Try it To learn about ways to help students in your area, call Vera at (949) 472-2340 or Friend at (949) 824-2363.

To share your company’s story, e-mail


Ivanna C. Sukkar was an editor at Scotsman Guide. For questions on this article, call (800) 297-6061 or e-mail

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