Meet Yvette Torres, Be A Leader Foundation Coordinator

Welcome back to all our students. My name is Yvette Torres and I am the High School Coordinator for Be A Leader Foundation- Pico Rivera. I am a First Generation College Graduate from the University of California, Irvine with a BA in Education Studies and Psychology and Social Behavior.

As the first person in my family to pursue a college degree, I was completely lost in the transition from high school to college and had to figure out how to navigate the system on my own. I was not sure of what classes to take, where to go ask for help, what loans to accept, or the importance of internships and networking during college.

If it wasn’t for the amazing support from my high school teachers, I would not have been able to graduate from UCI and find my passion in helping First Generation Students achieve a higher education.

As the High School Coordinator for Be A Leader, I am given the opportunity to help students, with stories very similar to my own, explore the different options of higher education. Most importantly, I serve as a mentor during the transition from high school to college.

I run the Be A Leader Club, where we help foster a college going environment at ERHS. I also work closely with our Senior Boot Camp Students to assist them with the college application process, financial aid, and helping them make their final decision of where to go to college.

This year, I am excited to start our Be A Leader Alumni Support Group as we reach out to our Be A Leader graduates on their journey through college, to offer mentorship, so they do not feel lost in their transition into college.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with G1DPR and Be A Leader to help students reach their goals and work toward G1DPR’s mission of having a college degree in every home.

I’m amazed by the support that students and alumni are given through all the programs that G1DPR sponsors. It’s great to work with an organization that understands the importance of helping students go to college, but ultimately ensuring they finish their education and succeed.


Meet Michelle Sandoval, Be A Leader’s New Project Manager

This month we caught up with Michelle Sandoval, Be A Leader’s new Project Manager, for an introductory Q&A.

We’re excited to welcome Michelle as part of our G1DPR family and look forward to all of our students and parents meeting her.

What is your new role with Be A Leader and G1DPR?

I am the newest Project Manager for the Be A Leader Foundation- Pico Rivera. I am responsible for overseeing the curriculum development for the Senior students in our group, to assist them in achieving their fullest potential as they complete the college application process. Additionally, my role implements and executes college-focused activities that expand into the community, such as college visits, workshops and panels.

Tell us about your background: Where did you grow up and where did you go to high school & college?

I am the proud daughter of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrant parents, born and raised in a small town located in the heart of the Coachella Valley. I completed high school at Desert Hot Springs High School and, as the first college graduate in my family, received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, with a minor in Communication, from Stanford University.

What was your college application process and college experience like? Who guided you?

The experience for me was very much like throwing a dart at a bullseye, while blindfolded. Although I was valedictorian of my class and had challenged myself extensively – for example, I had completed two courses at UC-Riverside as a Junior in high school, my position as a daughter of immigrants whose first language was Spanish, meant that I counted on my parents for the moral support to get through the college application process but was very much on my own when it came to completing the forms themselves. The guidance I received came in the form of the “can do” attitude that my parents instilled in me, which ultimately allowed for me to succeed in researching and informing myself as much about the process as I could.

What inspires you to help Be A Leader/G1DPR students be successful – what do you want our students and parents to know about the support they can receive?

The application process was one of the most stressful periods for me in my academic career. I had done everything that I possibly could to demonstrate the kind of competitive student I was; however, I felt so alone. I want my students to know that I have been there, my parents have been there, and that they do not have to do it alone just because I did. It takes a village for a child to succeed. And, we are the village that is going to support their family throughout the college process.

What are your goals for Be A Leader this first semester?

My goals are to strengthen and empower the participating Senior Boot Camp students in preparation for their college applications. Also, I would like to increase the mentorship role that the Senior students play in the lives of the underclassmen Be A Leader Club members through educational activities and visibility within the community.

What message would you like to extend to our G1DPR family – students, parents, & community?

We CAN do it. Not alone, but together. ¡Juntos podemos!

 


The Skills to Succeed

By: Daisy Del Real

It was a great privilege and honor being part of Generation First Degree- Pico Rivera(G1DPR) programs: Be A Leader and The College Blueprint. These college bound workshops enabled me to grow both personally and professionally by helping me develop valuable skills that will help me in achieving my desired career. G1DPR is a great opportunity for first generation college students to reach academic success by preparing and ensuring a smooth transition to college.

By being part of G1DPR, I was able to develop interpersonal skills and learn how to network, which are important skills to have as a college student. I have found these skills to be an essential part of college, not only as a way of ensuring academic success but also as a way of making college a fun experience.

I am currently an undergraduate student at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). I am majoring in Biology and my ultimate goal is to work in the medical field.

With the skills that G1DPR helped me develop, I’ve become a better and stronger student. Now, I’m that student that seeks help and signs up for and attends teacher’s office hours, as well as many other helpful programs that are offered on campus, such as supplemental instruction.

Networking and interpersonal skills have been my asset as I make my way through college. I am extremely grateful to have had such a wonderful opportunity of being part of G1DPR. I am thankful to Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros for their wonderful educational campaign because with it, they are enforcing the importance of going to college and making the transition from high school to college a smooth one for all the students in Pico Rivera homes. This has made all the difference.