Graduating seniors from across Los Angeles were feeling the buzz of excitement for College Signing Day last week! More than a dozen YPI students joined Former First Lady Michelle Obama and their LAUSD peers at UCLA on May 1 for the official College Signing Day event in Los Angeles—one of 2,500 event held nationwide to celebrate college-bound high school seniors as part of the Reach Higher Initiative.
Vivian is the College & Career Manager for our AmeriCorps program. Born in Cairo, Egypt (German is actually her first language!), Vivian grew up all over Southern California. She shares a bit about her experience at YPI over the last yer and a half. This is her interview.
Ana is a senior at Miguel Contreras Learning Complex who ran the full LA Marathon for #TeamYPI! She shares a bit about herself, growing up in El Salvador, life in Los Angeles as a high school student, and pursuing higher education after graduation. This is her inspiring story.
Briana Erhard is the Food & Nutrition Coordinator for YPI’s Health + Wellness Department. This year she is running the full LA Marathon for #TeamYPI and our Promise Scholars.
Vanessa Montano, Assistant Director of EXL, has been with YPI for 13 years and she continues to be inspired to develop enrichment programs for youth that are fun, educational and memorable.
My name is Jonathan and I’m a kid who has grown up on the outskirts of the San Fernando Valley. My parents are from developing countries and migrated to the United States undocumented.
My name is Jackie Garcia and I’m 18 years old. I come from a pretty big family—my Mom, my Dad and three sisters. We speak Spanish and English at home. My parents are both immigrants and they’ve been here for a very long time.
“My favorite part of the program is watching families engaged in their child’s education. A lot of our families come from limited education and limited resources. Just the fact that they know the importance of education and that they know they are their child’s first teacher is wonderful to me. And we are helping them to be the best first teacher they can be.”
Ilene Garcia, a teenage student at the STEM Academy in Hollywood, drew loud cheers when she spoke of her experience growing up poor in Los Angeles. Born to a single mother who has worked as a janitor in the city for two decades, Garcia said her family has been forced to move at least five times in recent years while struggling to cover rent.
One benefit of this 3-year long relationship we’ve had with YPI is the relationship that we’ve been able to build with service providers through the Promise Neighborhood initiative and at the FamilySource Center. Because they are the ones out that are out there interfacing with the community all day long every single day. And so what that means is that so many people are getting legal services that they wouldn’t have gotten if they hadn’t come through YPI.