2015 Grants Challenge

C5LA Alumni Support and College Persistence Program

C5LA serves kids at high risk for school dropout due to poverty, precarious living circumstances, and prevalence of gangs in their neighborhoods. Our 5-year program of leadership camps, college/career prep, and service learning helps students realize their true potential. C5LA gets at-risk youth to college; however, many are unable to stay the course. Funding from LA2050 will enable C5LA to implement college retention initiatives for this vulnerable population to persist and succeed in college.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following LEARN metrics?​

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to LEARN.

Making LA the best place to learn means that every high school student will graduate and be college and career ready. Making LA the best place to learn means turning current statistics upside down: during the 2013-2014 school year, 15,990 students in LA County dropped out of school. Of these students, an overwhelming 88% (14,089) were from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds (California Department of Education Reporting Office).

At C5LA, we are beating these odds at an astounding rate. For the past 15 years, 100% of our students have graduated high school and for the past 3 years, 100% of our students have gone to college or another post-secondary opportunity.

The purpose of C5LA is to serve students most at-risk for dropping out of school by providing them with hope for the future, life-changing experiences, and the skills needed to not only graduate high school, but to succeed in college and beyond. We are doing this with our innovative, outcome driven programming based on the belief that a comprehensive multi-year experience is vital in supporting this vulnerable population. Our success has been great with getting students to enter college, now we need to make sure they stay there, succeed, and complete their degree.

Nationwide, nearly one-third of college students drop out before their second year. Many factors contribute to the decision to drop out of college, including financial strain, stress, lack of engagement, and academic struggles, but having support from adults and peers can help students overcome these adversities.

We are confident that our program prepares youth well for many of the challenges they will face in college and beyond. Unfortunately, due to our limited resources and the intensive nature of our regular programming, we have not yet been able to systematically support and track the outcomes of C5LA alumni.

Funding from LA2050 will support a natural expansion of our core programming to offer greater support to our alumni throughout their college experience. Supporting C5LA graduates through the sometimes difficult transition to college will improve the likelihood of graduating from college and achieving success as adults.

To better support college persistence, we aim to implement the following initiatives in 2015-2016:

- Create a C5LA Grad 1st Year College Boot Camp

- Cultivate Strategic Partnerships with College Retention Experts

- Enhance Data Collection

- Expand Social Media Outreach

- Alumni

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Through the program expansion, we expect C5LA graduates to achieve an 80% first-year college persistence rate.

Specific information we plan to track includes:

• Matriculation data (four-year, two-year, vocational or career)

• Year over year college persistence rates

• Participation in school groups and on-campus programs

• Participation in C5LA events and Boot Camp sessions

• C5LA peer-to-peer collaborations

• Alumni association participation and attendance

• Social media engagement

• Challenges or issues interfering with college success and degree completion

Our process for tracking student data over time will include: oneone engagement with C5LA alumni, instituting a quarterly check-in process (during the five-year, pre-college program students do monthly check-ins), and a quarterly newsletter. Our success in building a robust evaluation initiative and college support program is contingent upon having dedicated staff who can coordinate these efforts consistently

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support