2013 Assist-A-Grad Scholarship Foundation, Inc.

The Matt Garcia Foundation Scholarship  "Keep the Dream Alive"

 Sponsored eleven graduates of the Class of 2013

Fairfield - Suisun - Travis Community fully appreciates this generous support of our youth

The Matt Garcia Foundation sponsors of the LEGACY Program. Featured here are 2 of our board members: Dwight Lundy(20) is our youngest board member Vince Guisande is also a board member


After-school program offers support to struggling youths

By Heather Ah San | Daily Republic | March 8, 2013


FAIRFIELD — Paula Vargas and Shawna Serpas know that middle school can be a tough time for many students. Vargas and Serpas see evidence of this every day as teachers at Green Valley Middle School.


Students from all walks of life are dealing with academic, social and familial pressures at this age, Vargas and Serpas said.


Article continued...

College student Dwight Lundy speaks to kids in the Legacy after school program at Green Valley Middle School. Lundy volunteers with the Legacy program and helps students keep up with their academics and offers tutoring when necessary. Photo Credits: Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic


The Matt Garcia Foundation would like to sincerely thank Valero for their continued support!


Valero has helped to build a recording studio in the PAL Matt Garcia Youth Center and to purchase 20 computers for the Matt Garcia Learning Center.

"Thank you Valero for all that you do to help our young people."


On Monday September 1, 2008 we had our regular staff meeting at my former day job, Archway Recovery Services. I informed the Executive Director Julie Lake that at the top of my “To Do List” was to contact Fairfield City Councilmembers John Mraz and Matt Garcia about helping us with our fundraising gala in October. I told Julie I would call both of them the following day.

The next morning I went on my daily walk and upon returning home, picked up the Daily Republic on my front porch. I couldn’t make out what the headline on the front page said because the paper was folded, but I knew it was a big deal because of the unusually large size of the font.

I don’t think I can accurately describe my shock and horror when I unfolded the paper and read “Councilman Garcia shot.” I staggered into the house, told my wife, and burst into tears. We got down on our knees and prayed.

After taking my daughter to school in a daze and heading to work, I called John Mraz who confirmed the situation was grave. Like many people I held on to the belief that even though his injury was devastating, if anyone could beat the odds it was Matt.

When the news came on the internet that Garcia was brain dead, I was on the phone with my brother Kelvin and cried and cried. I left work and later joined equally devastated Fairfielders in front of the Council chambers for a vigil. 

I don’t want to give the impression that I was a longtime friend of Garcia’s because I was not. But whether you knew him for a long time or bought into his infectious optimism when he ran for City Council at the tender age of 21, isn’t the point. Matt Garcia had the unique ability to make everyone feel like they were his special friend.

Kelvin had met with him for lunch when he was a candidate and conveyed to me that “the kid is the real deal.” He said he had never met anyone with as much charismatic as Matt and especially in someone so young. I was won over upon meeting him and when he pulled a miraculous upset in the election, I was elated.

I hope no one thinks I’m trying to put too fine a point on it, but I wasn’t born when John F. Kennedy was shot. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed when I was 4. So their assasinations and the enormity of the loss had no effect on me.

I’m certainly not trying to suggest that what Councilman Garcia accomplished in a short time in a mid-sized California city is comparable to JFK or MLK’s achievements.

But his murder and the senseless theft of promise, the incomprehensible shattering of future dreams, and the seeming extinguishing of the refreshing breeze of hopeful optimism that his election ushered in is comparable. At least it is for me.

Matt Garcia’s example touched me. Keeping his dream alive is not just a slogan nor is it just about the fundraising events that are put on periodically, fine as they are. What it means to me is that I keep foremost in my mind and in my actions that I love this city. It means that I will always strive to be a blessing and not a burden on my community.

Lastly, Matt Garcia and I shared a common faith in Jesus Christ. Although I never got a chance to call him that tragic day last September, I know a day is coming when I’ll see him again.


During a staff meeting at my job on Labor Day, I told my co-workers that the first thing on my agenda for the following day was to call Councilmen John 
Mraz and Matt Garcia because they were both helping us with a project.

The next morning I got the awful, heartbreaking news and could not believe it. I wept, then got down on my knees with my wife and prayed.

My brother Kelvin's 'The Other Side' column Thursday really covered the bases on how I felt about Matt Garcia. I feel cheated out of witnessing his future greatness. I feel disillusioned. Most of all, I feel overwhelming sadness.

I really didn't know what to write this week before talking to retired Solano County employee Pat Renfro, who volunteers at the jails. She told me of an inmate who had written a letter the day after Matt was shot. I liked what I read and decided to share it as yet another example that although Matt Garcia may be gone, the hope that was his hallmark lives on.

Here's the letter:

I have decided to fast and hold a vigil today. I desire my prayers to be answered, not just for me but for my whole community. Matt Garcia, our city councilman, was shot yesterday. He was an outstanding young man who stood up for what he believed in and what was right.

He helped this community take huge steps forward in helping curb youth violence and gave hope to troubled kids. For him to be killed darkens the Cinderella story which had (become) his life.

From the encounters I had with Matt, I knew him as a stand-up guy, reasonable and fun-loving. He quickly turned into a hero of mine as he stepped out into the community to say, 'Enough is enough.' He was anti-gang and anti-violence and stood for peace, unity, reform and reaching out to touch and change lives.

Personally, my life pales in comparison. With years of incarceration behind me, I grew up as a misguided youth, exactly the type of kid Matt sought to save. He was 22; I am 22. This whole situation makes me look retrospectively on my life and the destruction and turmoil which consumed me. So many years wasted and so many lies believed.

I decided to change my life a few years back and renounce all my old ways of thinking and behaving and try something new. To see this horrible situation unfold reaffirms what Matt worked to stop: youth violence. It still doesn't make sense to me. The violence must stop.

Sitting in a cell makes me question my status in life -- not just in God's eyes, but others' eyes also. Who am I? God says I'm his son. To the community I'm an outcast. But I know who I am now and what I believe in. I know my visions, hopes and dreams. I know no matter what anyone thinks, my time isn't over, it's just begun.

We all need to look at our lives and evaluate ourselves. Are we living for something worthwhile? My heart and prayers go out to Matt's family and to everyone he touched in the community. I stand in faith knowing his time isn't over but has just begun.

GARCIA WAS LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE - By Kelvin Wade : September 04, 2008

The death of Councilman Matt Garcia is a nightmare for his family, his friends and the community. How could we be saying goodbye to one of our most enthusiastic, warm, dynamic young leaders?

I've always tried to give readers more light than heat in this column but I can't make any promises in light of the killing of Matt Garcia. I'm angry.

I'm desk-trashing, wall-punching, profanity-spewing angry that an inspirational young leader was cut down by some cowardly punk. A worthless human being has taken the life of a priceless one. I've found myself hoping that police find the perpetrator armed and have to take him out. If the attack was gang-related, I've caught myself deriving satisfaction out of street justice being done to the assailant. What Fairfield jury would convict someone who punished Matt's killer?

But taking a step back, I know that an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. I know that to hope for street justice just increases the violence on our streets and raises the possibility of more innocents being caught in the crossfire. I know that it only perpetuates an endless cycle of violence. I know that hate in my heart only harms me, not the person who did this.

And I also know what Matt Garcia stood for.

When I first met Matt last year, expecting to find some narcissistic kid playing City Council candidate, boy, was I mistaken. Over sandwiches at Joe's Buffet, I was convinced that not only was I sitting with the next Fairfield City Council member, but I was sitting with a future Mayor, Congressman, the sky was the limit.

A month or so ago, after having lunch with Councilmen John Mraz and Matt Garcia, my brother Tony and I hung around outside the Blue Frog talking about Garcia. We were both so impressed with his energy, his focus and his skill set. Garcia was lightning in a bottle. You could tell he was going places.

Matt's smile was infectious. He had a way of making you feel like you were his closest friend. And he used that charm to bring people together.

It's a tragedy when any innocent person is the victim of a violent crime. However, in Matt's case the pain is made that much more acute because he had dedicated his life to fighting the very thing that took his. He wanted to build a safe Fairfield for everyone and wanted to raise his own children here.

While this horror has galvanized us, we must act. Fairfield has to crackdown on violence. If that means opening our wallets for more cops, organizing citizen patrols, and participating in Neighborhood Watch, residents must partner with the police to fight crime.

The community has lost so much potential this week. Just last week, Matt wrote the following on his Myspace page: 'I have been thinking about my life and it is not complete, but it is getting there. I thought about the things I have accomplished over the years; it has truly been a blessing. It just shows people when you put your mind to something you can make it happen. I still haven't accomplished everything, but I am working toward it and I believe if it is God's will, it will happen.'

It hurts so deeply and feels like hope itself has died. But as my brother Tony told me on Tuesday, 'Matt has inspired too many people to let hope die. But hope took a beating today.'

It's up to us to continue Matt's work. Peace.