2018 Grants Challenge
🎉 Finalist

Mentoring College Success with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater LA

Big Brothers Big Sisters of LA’s College P.A.C. Program (Preparation, Access, Completion) provides underserved youth with mentoring support to finish high school, graduate college, and start careers.


Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

We are proposing an expansion of our College Preparation, Access, Completion (PAC) program to provide all our youth mentees with an umbrella of resources and support to promote success at not only gaining entry to college, but in developing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to both graduate and start careers. This activation will also enable us to expand our collaborations with other organizations to share resources and best practices on college success to greatly magnify our impact.

Which of the LEARN metrics will your activation impact?​

College and community college completion rates

College matriculation rates

Youth unemployment and underemployment

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?​

LA is the best place to CREATE

LA is the best place to CONNECT

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

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?​

Trainings and/or in-person engagements

Encourage businesses to change practices

Influence individual behavior

Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Increase donations to organizations and causes

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to LEARN?​

We live in an increasingly segregated Los Angeles where youth of color are not benefitting from the advantages of our growing economy. Measure of America’s “Portrait of Los Angeles” estimated that life expectancy would increase by 1.5 years, murder rates would fall by 9%, and the voting rate would increase by 10% if every Angeleno graduated from high school. LA is now a majority Latino community- yet more than three in ten young Latino immigrants aren’t enrolled in school of any kind.

Our College PAC program launched as a pilot in the Fall of 2016 with a focus on 150 Juniors and Seniors in high school and 55 first year college students. Our pilot was particularly directed at first generation college bound youth of color, including many undocumented students. The core of the pilot program provides professionally supported mentorships to assist students with graduating high school, applying for college, and in persisting through the first year of postsecondary education. By facilitating a positive relationship that provides social, emotional, and academic support for youth, we can help them overcome the significant barriers holding them back from a college success.

For high school students preparing to attend college, the College PAC program team also provides supplementary workshops and materials to address common gaps in knowledge and skills of underserved youth, their families, and mentors. The College PAC program produced extremely promising results: 100% of the Littles receiving support from the program graduated high school and matriculated to a 2 or 4 year college and 100% of the mentees enrolled in college persisted through their first year of school. College PAC students in high school also improved their SAT scores by 119 points on average. In partnership with the LA Mayor’s Office, starting in 2018 all college youth in the program will also be eligible for paid internships at major entertainment corporations in fields such as tech, business development, and production as part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s efforts to diversify the industry.

With a LA2050 partnership, we will have the staff resources to support college and career preparation and training for one-to-one mentoring of youth as early as 2nd grade that continues through college completion. This will directly impact 6000+ youth/mentors/families in our programs. Our current College PAC Coordinator will focus on developing the curriculum to support all mentors, mentees, and families. She will also focus on building upon our partnerships with the Mayor’s Office and the California Community Foundation’s Young Men of Color (YMOC) Initiative to share our resources and promote mentorship as a crucial component of college and career prep across the region.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to LEARN​

BBBSLA serves 1800 youth ages 6-22 throughout LA County. 95% of the children or youth impacted by our programs are youth of color. Approximately 70% served by our programs live under the federal poverty line and 80% live in households earning less than a living wage for LA County.

Our activation engages youth, their families, and their mentors with the professional support of our staff to directly provide college and career resources and training yearly to over 6,000 Angelenos. In addition, the network of organizations and corporations with whom we collaborate to activate change play a crucial role in our success. Local partners include Comcast NBCUniversal, Sony, Paramount, Union Bank, the Mayor’s Office, California Community Foundation, and others. Our partners provide the access to amazing mentors, college and career prep, and the opportunity to share best practices across the region. For example, our College PAC newsletter is already a monthly resource we share with other non-profits and can reach well over 100,000 youth and community stakeholders through our current collaborators.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

BBBSLA already tracks high school graduation, college matriculation, and college persistence rates for all the youth in College PAC. As part of our new partnership to provide paid internship opportunities to the youth in our programs, we will also be tracking placement and employment outcomes.

To refine and improve our College PAC efforts, program evaluation is ongoing through our Progress Tracking System. The Progress Tracking System tracks quantitative and qualitative data from BBBSLA’s proprietary Agency Management System (collected quarterly), QuestionPro surveys and reports (collected bi-annually), SAT score data, and CALynx, a service provided by the California Futures Foundation to track college outcomes (collected annually). BBBSLA looks at all data collectively on an annual basis as part of developing its Annual Report. Evaluation is conducted by BBBSLA’s Grants Manager, Keith Mataya, and Yvette Sanchez, the College PAC Coordinator. Findings include evaluation of mentoring match success, college success indicators (knowledge of the college process, financial aid literacy, and college experience), standardized test prep scores, and college continuation rates.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In five years, we hope this activation not only dramatically improves the educational outcomes of all of our mentees, but that our efforts continue to assist other organizations working on college success in Los Angeles. We also are leading efforts with other Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates around the country to expand mentoring to support college age youth.

No single institution or organization in Los Angeles can make significant progress on improving key education metrics on its own. We have already worked diligently to partner with others to magnify our impact. Support from LA2050 will provide us with the opportunity to grow our capacity and share our successes and resources with other organizations. Over the next five years, we believe the lessons we have learned, and continue to learn, can play a crucial role in the work with our partners on moving the needle on education outcomes for all youth in our community.