My name is Jacki Cisneros, and I am the Founder and President Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera, a nonprofit organization with one mission— to have at least one child in every Pico Rivera home earn a college degree.
I grew up in Pico Rivera, and attended local schools. My roots run deep in this community, as my mother and father grew up here, and attended El Rancho High School along with my aunts and uncles. My grandfather, Frank Terrazas, served as mayor and councilman of Pico Rivera , and I have always had a deep love and appreciation for the people of this community.
My husband Gilbert and I made Pico Rivera our home for many years, and always knew the importance of a college education. We wanted to do something to help the students of this city, and that is why we created Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera. Currently, we provide several college access programs free of charge to help our students become better prepared for their higher education.
Unfortunately, many first-generation college-bound students are not familiar with the opportunities available to help guide and support their goal of being accepted and graduating from college. Some may be apprehensive about the test taking or application process, or have misinformation about financial aid, academic expectations and campus activities.
Also, students coming from families with a lack of a college-bound tradition in the home typically share challenges that make it more difficult to earn a college degree. The common thread includes less academic preparation before college, economic challenges and a lack of overall understanding about the long term impact a college degree has on a successful career path. Combining the pressures of cultural differences, and/or expectations to help support the family’s financial needs, these young and vulnerable students can be pulled in a variety of difficult directions, which may prevent them from becoming involved in their new campus life, or getting academic support early on.
Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera is committed to providing your children with the information and support that will bridge the gap between thinking about college and actually stepping on to a campus that first day of their freshman year. Yet, we can’t do this alone.
We need all of our families, community leaders, local businesses and educators on board. We are asking for your support in any way you can give it: attend meetings, promote the Generation First Degree-Pico Rivera cause, follow us on social media, stand behind our students and educators, and volunteer or donate.
Together we can help future generations of residents achieve their goal of a obtaining a college degree and inspiring others in our Pico Rivera community.