Navigating the road to higher education can be an exciting, yet often confusing task, especially for those who are the first generation their families to head off to college. Friends is here to help the youth in Watts discover the opportunities available to them by working with them to plan out their high school years in order to maximize their choices.
Friends Mentor Program pairs students with adult mentors who partner together with the following goals in mind:
To increase students’ awareness of the postsecondary options that they have;
To improve student college application essays;
To enable students to understand their financial situation and the difference between a grant and a loan;
To find the resources necessary to help with paying for college;
To help students understand the demands and culture of college life.
Throughout the school year, the teens receive help and are directed toward professional guidance with college preparation. College planning events are held throughout the year. An alarmingly low 3.2% of young adults in South Central Los Angeles hold a college degree. Our teens are beating these low expectations. Their bright futures make them the best role others in the Watts community.
Kimberly fondly remembers her time in the Literacy Center and as a Friends’ scholarship recipient. Good grades and making her parents proud were always priorities to her, yet when it came time to apply for college, the process seemed daunting. Friends’ Mentor, Laurie, gave Kimberly the much needed guidance and support to help navigate the process. “She gave me the push I needed.” They formulated a plan and plotted a road map to college together. “It’s empowering to have people who believe in you and are rooting for you to succeed.” Kimberly is now attending UCLA, enjoying her life on the Westwood campus.
Martin recently graduated from Santa Clara University. He double majored in Public Health and Environmental Studies. While in school, he worked for Santa Clara University's Environmental Studies/Sciences and Public health Science departments as a Research Associate conducting research concerning Nicaraguan Agriculture and Food Access and Air Pollution Monitoring/Pollution Mitigation in low income neighborhoods surrounding San José elementary/middle schools.
His short term plans upon his graduation are to work
in either a hospital setting or within a county level public health department as an analyst or some sort of program specialist/consultant. After that he plans to return to graduate school (courtesy of Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship) and attain a duel degree, Masters in Public Health,[ MPH (Health Management and Policy Focus)] and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with the intention of one day becoming a healthcare manager of some sort and a future policy writer/analyst.
"Being a part of Friends Programs was more than a source of income to pay for my high school tuition (via the Friends High School Scholarship). It served as a vital development resource and academic support in my growth as a student. By participating as a tutor in the Friends of St. Lawrence Literacy Program and in the Mentoring Program, I developed relationships, learned how to become a mentor myself, and was able to give back to a community that has given me so much."
Francisco graduated from Santa Clara University in June 2017 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Ethnic Studies. He is currently working at the District Office of Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán as her Staff Assistant. He plans is to stay with the Congresswoman as long as possible in order to learn everything he can as he surrounds himself with many people who have become mentors. His desire is to go to graduate school to get a Masters in Public Administration or Urban Planning.
Francisco was a Friends High School Scholarship Recipient and participant in the Mentor Program. He credits his Friends mentor, Eileen, for helping him discover the determination he needed to do exceptional work. Francisco also tutored at the Literacy Center for two years.
"Friends of St. Lawrence has been one of the most important organizations in my life. I attended Stanford and Harvard for their high school summer college courses program. I was only able to receive this unique experience because Friends of St. Lawrence helped me raise the money needed for the tuition. It was due to the loving act of the generous donors who saw the value in me that I have become the person I am. I can truly say, if it was not for Friends of St. Lawrence, I would have had a more difficult experience. This great organization was able to guide me when I needed it and place me in the correct path to succeed."
Here you will find college planning resources that will be included in our events.
Please check back regularly for new items and see what we have coming up.
Download event flyers posted here for more specific information.
During these uncertain times, your safety is our top priority
All group gatherings for our Mentoring Program will either be held virtually or will be postponed until we can all get together safely.
Fliers will be mailed directly to all youth involved in our programs, but all Watts youth are welcome to attend any workshop. Just look for flyers in the church office window for exact dates or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on our mailing list.
Mentor/Student Meet and Greet
This meeting will connect you in person with your mentor. Learn how we can work together to help you navigate your way into college.
For all high school students, their parents and mentors
Test and College Application Process
All you wanted to know about testing...and more! Review SAT and ACT tests for college admissions---how to register, send scores, get fee waivers and access some free test prep courses. We will also review some valuable web sites for the College Planning Process and scholarship search in order to help in the application process that will begin for you in the Fall.
For College Juniors
Reviewing your Financial Aid
and Cost of Attendance Workshop
Congratulations! You’re In!
Understanding your financial award letters can be confusing…
Come talk to some experts who can help you figure it out
so you can be sure you’ve made the best decision for you and your family.
Get sage advice from students who have been in your shoes. Your friends from the neighborhood, who have gone on to be successful in college, come back to share their experience and special insight with you.
For all high school students
Your College Applications:
Writing the Personal Statement
Make your application stand out! Write an essay that is strong and memorable. Get tips and help from some of the best!
Bring your ideas and be ready to put pen to paper!
For rising Seniors
College "Quick Topic" Information Night
Come and chat with mentors who will offer you personal advice on topics such as choosing the best school for you, financial aid, communicating with admissions, getting letters of recommendation...and more.
For all high school students
College Tours 2020
Check back with us... We are scheduling tours when it is safe to be together in a group.
*Students will meet at St. Lawrence 1 hour before time stated. Lunch and rides will be provided. Permission slips are in the church office. Please let Delan Hilliard know if you'd like to attend.
Space is limited!