LOS ANGELES —Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and county Supervisor Hilda L. Solis joined Cal State Los Angeles and YMCA officials Nov. 9 to introduce a new higher education pathway program to community leaders in Southeast Los Angeles.
Achieve LA is a partnership between Cal State Los Angeles and the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles. The initiative will leverage existing Cradle to Career Success Initiative programs at four YMCA locations to inform youth about the college admissions process and prepare them to enroll at a university.
Youth who participate in the initiative—the first of its kind at any YMCA — and meet minimum university requirements will be guaranteed admission to Cal State L.A.
Rendon and Solis stood alongside Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino and YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles Executive Vice President and Chief Mission Advancement Officer Victor Dominguez as they announced the initiative to a packed room of the Southeast Los Angeles Transportation Summit: Critical Choices Ahead.
Rendon spoke about the importance of working together to provide resources to the Southeast Los Angeles community, a historically underserved area.
“I believe that our communities have the potential to be an economic and cultural hub and that a shared identity as ‘the Southeast’ is the best way to increase that influence and that success,” Rendon said.
Solis lauded and encouraged efforts of community partners to invest in and empower the region. She noted Cal State L.A.’s success in providing higher education opportunities to the communities it serves.
“My first and foremost priority is that we work together on issues that impact our families: economic development, employment, good jobs, career ladders,” Solis said. “And thank goodness that Cal State L.A. is going to talk about what they’re doing to help make those investments in our young people.”
Covino thanked Rendon and Solis for being strong advocates for education and supporting Achieve LA.
“Together, we will produce more students who will climb the ladder of success, step into a brighter future and really make a difference in the world,” Covino said. “Thank you very much for helping us make that possible.”
The Nov. 9 Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative event was held in Commerce and hosted by organizations including the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. and the California Community Foundation.
Achieve LA will be offered at the Southeast-Rio Vista YMCA in Maywood, Weingart YMCA Wellness and Aquatic Center in South Los Angeles, Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA and the Crenshaw Family YMCA, areas included in Rendon’s 63rd Assembly District and Solis’ First Supervisorial District.
“Achieve LA is the first YMCA partnership in the country that will eliminate the barrier of access to a four-year institution of higher learning for thousands of children and teens who might otherwise not have had a chance,” Dominguez told the gathering. “We are infusing into our Y culture a love and deep commitment to education that is an investment in every child now and in the future of Los Angeles for us all.”
Under the initiative, Cal State LA students will mentor and advise youth in the YMCA programs. The students are part of the university’s #IServeLA initiative, which provides thousands of volunteers who serve community-based organizations across Los Angeles.
“Achieve LA is about dreams — the dreams of our community, the dreams of our youth and the dreams of our families,” Cal State LA Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez said. “Working with our elected leaders and the YMCA family, we will make those dreams a reality through higher education.”