"I want to go to college because I want to be somebody," explained high school junior Alexandra.
Alexandra is one of 15 students residing at the Ramona Gardens public housing community in Boyle Heights who will be receiving intensive college prep workshops. The high school students will also be getting case management services to assist them in their path toward higher education.
This is made possible through the Housing Authority's partnership with the College Board. The first workshop took place on Tuesday, February 21, at the Ramona Gardens Boys and Girls Club. The topic was "College & Career Readiness Through A-G". The two college prep advisors from USC's University Relations team explained the A-G 15 course requirements for admissions to University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU).
The advisors separated the middle school and high school students in order to provide each of them with targeted information for their grade level. For example, the middle school students learned about what to look forward to and how to prepare for high school.
These sessions include in-person workshops for academic preparation/enrichment, SAT practice sessions utilizing the Khan Academy program, college planning, and admissions guidance. The advisors will also lead on-site and online office hours.
Supporting students' higher education is a part of HACLA's goal to ensure that youth are provided opportunities to realize their potential to become self-sufficient, productive adults. The agency will expand its effort to guide public housing students through a $452,000 federal grant. The Project SOAR (Students + Opportunities + Achievements = Results) grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will allow HACLA to coordinate efforts with partner organizations to serve students ages 15-20. Education Navigators will assist with the completion of the U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, as well as conduct financial literacy and college readiness workshops.
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