Opportunities are Knocking

When Gilbert and I started Generation 1st Degree-Pico Rivera five years ago, we were committed to bringing in resources to prepare and inspire El Rancho students to reach for a higher education. We’re just as committed to this mission as we were in 2013 and are encouraged when we hear other celebrities and entrepreneurs also committed to first-generation students, including DACA students.

In January, we applauded and thanked Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, for donating a $33 million dollar scholarship grant to TheDream.US, which helps highly motivated DREAMers graduate from college. The Cisneros Foundation has been long-time supporters of the Bezos’ friends Henry Munoz and Don Graham, co-founders of TheDream.US. As you can imagine, we are beyond thrilled that this grant will give thousands of undocumented immigrant graduates of US high schools with DACA status the opportunity to go to college.

The Bezos donation affirms that the work we are doing–starting with the Kindergarten book giveaway all the way to the Generation 1st Degree programs at El Rancho High School–are a true need not only in the community of Pico Rivera, but across the nation. We 100% care about our students’ college pathway. Not only do we worry about making sure they have the resources and mentorships to guide each student to college, but the support they need to help them succeed once they get there.


Jacki Cisneros at Generation First Degree Pico Rivera’s “A Day in Space” in 2017.

When I think of G1DPR, one of the things that makes Gilbert and I proud is the network of current members and alums the G1DPR program is building. When I talk to former students or when we feature them in our newsletter or social media, it feels so great to know that future G1DPR students–those who are juniors in high school and younger–will have a large body of G1DPR graduates to reach out to for advice and encouragement. As a community, we can achieve a college degree in EVERY Pico Rivera home, regardless of income, immigration status or if you’re the first in your family to head to college. I know many of our senior students are researching and applying for scholarships. Keep up the good work! There is opportunity waiting to help each and every one of you get to college.

Jacki Cisneros