Mayor Eric Garcetti at Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA. Photo by Gus Ugalde.

A program focused on helping students from low-income neighborhoods gain admittance to California State University Los Angeles was unveiled Nov. 1 at the Weingart East L.A. YMCA in Boyle Heights.

The Achieve LA college-readiness partnership is a collaboration between Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, YMCA Metropolitan Los Angeles and Cal State L.A. The program works with students that are part of the Cradle to Career Success Initiative at four Southland YMCAs.

Mayor Eric Garcetti at Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA. Photo by Gus Ugalde.

Garcetti was on hand to personally introduce the program before a packed room that included several students from the KIPP LA Prep elementary school next door to the Weingart YMCA’s main facility on Whittier Boulevard.

The mayor directly addressed the students telling them that they were the future, and that the best way to thrive in life was to earn a college degree – in whatever field they were interested in.

He also lauded both Cal State L.A. and the YMCA for their efforts in promoting and implementing programs to help local students.

“Cal State L.A. is number one in social mobility in the United States of America. They beat Harvard, they beat Princeton, they beat Stanford, they beat UCLA, USC and Berkeley,” said Garcetti.

He also said the Metropolitan LA YMCA is “the best run Y in the country.”

The four YMCA locations are East L.A. Weingart, Crenshaw Family, Southeast-Rio Vista and the Weingart Wellness & Aquatic Center.

The Cradle to Career Success program, created in 2014, was the catalyst for the unprecedented Achieve LA partnership and was designed to extend resources to improve academic performance to the most underserved and under-resourced neighborhoods in L.A.

“This is the first partnership of its kind,” said Mark Helm, YMCA Metropolitan LA Chair.

Sitting alongside Helm was YMCA Metropolitan LA CEO Alan C. Hostrup, California Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, Cal State LA Executive Vice President Jose A. Gómez, and Garcetti.

Santiago urged students to “go a step further” to earn their college degree after high school.

Garcetti, who is a Boyle Heights native, said all students, no matter their socio-economic status, deserve access to higher education.

“We believe a child growing up in Boyle Heights or South L.A. should have the same access to programs that those in Brentwood or Encino have,” he said.

Under the new partnership, Cradle to Success students are guaranteed admittance to Cal State LA with a minimum 2.0 GPA as long as they complete their A through G courses –a graduation requirement for all high school students

Admittance will begin in Fall 2019 for students graduating from high school in 2018. Some students who graduated in 2017 will also be eligible for this program.

Parents who are interested in enrolling their children in the Achieve LA program can do so at any of the four participating YMCAs.

Cal State L.A. will provide support to facilitate student entry into the program, and admittance to the university through a network of CSULA student volunteers and the university Recruitment and Outreach Office.

Garcetti urged students and parents to take advantage of the program to help themselves and their families.

“When you go to college, you will make history for yourselves and your families,” said Garcetti.

Watch video of press conference/Courtesy WELA YMCA:

Achieve LA from WELA YMCA on Vimeo.

Gus Ugalde

Gus Ugalde is a print journalist and Boyle Heights native. He is a graduate of both Salesian High School and East Los Angeles College. With writing as his passion, he has had over 500 stories published...

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