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Summer 2019 at Kid City

2019 KC InternsKid City Hope Place's tenth summer was an explosion of new and old friends taking big leaps towards a new leadership horizon. Many college students and graduates returned to participate as interns, mentors, tutors, and volunteers. They, along with High School students, were part of 14 classes and 12 events during June and July including Splash of LA and the Summer Showcase.

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Housing Insecurity on Campus

Kid City is proud of Maritza Lopez, a long time member of our community, for her leadership on hunger and homelessness on college campuses. Maritza is already in her fourth year at UCLA, and currently a Getty Marrow Undergraduate Intern, among many other things!
Louis Tse deserves recognition for providing shelter for unhoused students, as do all the UCLA students who support and help the folks at the Student 2 Student shelter.
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From Santa Monica College to UCSB: Striving for success means taking leadership



I would really advise looking at the website, asking your community college counselor (if a good one is available), or calling the school to ask for prior information about what you’ll have to do once you start at your transfer school. Orientation may not provide the most helpful information you want and need. For mine, there was no information on financial aid at UCSB, so I had to go to the office once there, email them, and seek information on programs such as EOP to learn more. At orientation there was no information on extracurriculars, work study, resources students can use such as applying for CalFresh, program benefits such as the EOP emergency scholarship which can be up to $400, but only be used one quarter per year or applying for CalFresh if you qualify for work study and use it or plan to. Something useful would be to look up the major sheets from the institution you wish to attend and look through their course catalog to get an idea of the subjects you could learn about. Additionally, for one day, you might receive an overwhelming amount of information.


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Volunteer Spotlight: Frances Melchor

Frances Melchor is in our volunteer spotlight today!

Can you please tell us about your background (work/education/hobbies, etc. whatever you'd like to share)?
I currently work for a non-profit called Alliance College Ready Public schools as a College Success Coordinator where I support high school counselors in ensuring that their seniors apply and matriculate into colleges and where I lead a mentoring program at the college level. I graduated from UCLA last September with a major in Latin American Studies and minor in Comparative Literature. Recently, I've been reading a lot more books since I have the time and it is one of my favorite things in the world to do. I'm currently finishing up "The Hate U Give" and will be starting on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Americanah".
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Striving for a Better Future

201808131157901187.jpgKid City plays a big role in helping students pursue a higher education, whether through SAT tutoring, personal statement revisions, or simply by helping an individual fill out a college application. But what then? What happens after a student is accepted and settles in?

Jason Granados has been an active member at Kid City for over 7 years and recently graduated from UC Santa Barbara. (Left: 11th grader, Jason, carrying his pre-calculus books) 

During high school, Jason describes himself as the kid with the 200 pound, overstuffed backpack. He loved learning, focused heavily on academics, and even called himself the ‘teachers pet’. Although education was important to him, Jason’s end goal after high school was to immediately start working. As the oldest child in the family, Jason was under pressure to graduate and start bringing in income immediately. Although supportive and hard working, Jason’s parents had limited knowledge of the education system, and would frequently ask “cuando vas a empezar a trabajar?”. 

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A Look Back

DSC_1149.JPGI first visited the Urban Foundation’s Kid City program in Fall 2016. I heard about the program from a close friend and a presentation in class, but I was hesitant to go because I wasn’t sure if I needed the college prep they offered. At the time, I doubted that college was the right choice for me but my friends convinced me otherwise. Going to Kid City during the college application period was one of the best decisions I ever made, because the wonderful staff helped ease my worries and pushed me to explore my interests. Thanks to their help, I am the first in my family to go to college.

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Ultreya Gallery 2018













More pictures to come! 
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Volunteers & Mentors - Kid City is Kid City thanks to you! 


(Above, Jeff Pawling and Karen Chavez)

This fall, a corps of extraordinary people have spent long hours, and sometimes late hours, helping students finish personal statements and submit college applications. The students return with smiles on their face and feel very fortunate to have people who care about them so deeply!

Below are some volunteer facts :)

75 amazing individuals volunteered at Kid City this fall.

With their help, Kid City supported 50 High School Seniors with their college applications and personal statements.

9 of those students came in the week UC/CSU applications were due and were still able to get their applications submitted on time because of amazing drop-in mentors who stayed past closing hours and also because of our one-to-one mentors who were helping their students wrap up their applications or had already finished.

The average student at Kid City this fall was helped by at least 2-3 volunteers including mentors, music instructors, online readers, etc.

On a given week 35-40 volunteers were hard at work at Kid City AND

Kid City volunteers logged in about 80-100 volunteer hours a week this fall.

If each volunteer was to get paid a minimum wage, this is an investment of about $14,000+

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An extraordinary act of thoughtfulness started a semi-annual tradition of hope

As a retired schoolteacher, Carolyn Tokunaga resonated with Kid City's work.  After learning about Kid City's college program, Carolyn conjured up a way for the congregation at Centenary United Methodist Church, filled with talented and caring people, to extend their love and care to Kid City's first generation college students. The first project was Valentine’s Day themed care-packages. Centenary members sprang into action on short notice, bought notebooks, scantrons, pens, paper, cup of noodles, and toiletries, creating 100 care packages and raising the money for postage. Many Centenary members were also the first in their families to attend college. They remember the fears and insecurities they felt, much the same as Kid City students, and included handwritten notes to encourage students on their path through college.

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Youth speak out!

20604394_1450937438324013_6361882894795783821_n.jpgAs a member of the College for All Coalition, the Urban Foundation has joined a grassroots movement to promote equity in higher education. This incredible partnership, spearheaded by Urban Foundation board chair Stewart Kwoh and our good friends at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, has provided Kid City students with training in policy and advocacy, and the opportunity to tell stories that speak to the importance for equity in higher education. Here are some highlights!

 On May 4, Erick Gonzalez testified at the oversight hearing for SB 1050 (College Readiness Block Grant), and was greeted and thanked by Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon.


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Frances Melchor & Alma Ventura Professional Attire Scholarship Shopping Trip

Kid City Hope Place's college access program started with formal college access programming the summer of 2012.  Five years later, through support from our community and donors, Kid City not only continues this tradition but is now additionally able to provide summer programs to keep students engaged and motivated all year long... in air conditioned rooms!  

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Get To Know Them: Summer '17 Interns

20170719_130239.jpg During Kid City’s busy summer, the program is made possible by staff, volunteers and of course, interns. All of the interns are young adults ready to share their passion for education equality with new and returning KC participants alike. With jobs ranging from teaching assistants to graphic designers, they all bring a little piece of who they are to our community, making it fun and open, as always. Take your time to meet some of them here!


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Urban Internship: A Summer Teaching Peace


LA Native, Ricardo Alcantar, found himself sharing a living space with three other interns this summer. One from Los Angeles, one from Massachusetts and one from Mississippi. Although from different backgrounds, they came together to be part of the Urban Foundation’s  Summer Urban Internship.

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Using My Voice For College Equity


In June, I had to opportunity to be part of the College for All Coalition! I boarded a bus with about 50 other people and set off to my destination seven hours away. Students, parents and community members of all ethnicities from Pomona and Los Angeles went to Sacramento and talked to state assembly members and senators about AB 699, Safe Schools For Immigrant Students, and continuing support of SB 1050, College Readiness Block Grant. AB 699 would guarantee undocumented students protection from ICE in schools. The elongation of SB 1050 would continue to give funding to schools with majority low income, English language learners, and foster youth to support college admissions and completion. Unfortunately, the current money allocated from SB 1050 is due to run out in two years and AB 699 is yet to pass; however, this coalition gave us the opportunity to express our opinions to legislators. By sharing our concerns, we became active advocates for our communities.

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Kid City in the LA Times!


Kid City helps undocumented students apply for financial aid 

Check out this LA Times article featuring several Kid City students who are dreamers. We're proud to provide emotional support and academic help to students who want to go to college and change the course of history for their families and community.  Read article on LA Times website here

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Urban Foundation Spotlight


Reminiscing on the Urban Foundation
By Sara Munshin

Soon after I started attending First United Methodist Church, Los Angeles (FUMC-LA) in the mid-1980’s, I was told of the church’s decision, after selling its property at the corner of 8th and Hope for what was then a huge sum, to form a separate foundation. From what I understood, there were two basic components of the work of the Urban Foundation. The first was the ongoing support of an urban ministry program at the Claremont School of Theology. The second was the support of small but significant faith-based ministries in urban Los Angeles. Over time, I had some minor involvement by serving on selection committees for the Seeds of Hope grants.


More recently, I have supported the Kid City program in various ways since its inception and have become a member of the Urban Foundation Board. As a volunteer, I recently began going through the archives of the Urban Foundation, focusing on the annual award dinners that were held for several years, some of which I attended.  In the first decade of this century, these dinners recognized people working in social services related to the United Methodist Church through the Hutchinson-Green Awards; organization and leaders who “Initiate and support signs of hope in the city” thought the Urban Shepherd Awards; and other awards for organizations and individuals making a difference in our city. It was touching and inspiring to read about the individuals and organizations that have worked diligently throughout the years to do God’s work in the city. Some were known only in their local areas and others have national recognition, yet they all found ways to serve the city and its diverse people.

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Con Safos: Reflections of Life in the Barrio at the Museum of Social Justice


Con Safos Magazine was a leading Chicano literary journal that emerged in the late 1960’s to the 1970’s in the East Los Angeles Barrio. Con Safos Magazine offered a Chicano first voice to address and document “El Movimiento.”

The Museum of Social Justice was born out of the La Plaza Initiative, housed at the Urban Foundation in 2010 to preserve the historic La Plaza United Methodist Church on Olvera Street Plaza. Since 2012 the Museum has had a run of exhibits that highlight social justice movements in Los Angeles, from the genesis of the Goodwill Industries to Hollywood’s role in the civil rights movement. The current exhibition chronicles Chicano social and cultural activism through visual and literary art reflecting life in East Los Angeles, including oral testimonies, personal poems and satirical musings, painting, photography, photo collages, comics, documentaries, social activism and other cultural forms of expression. We highly recommend this outstanding exhibit!

Check out Los Angeles United Methodist Museum of Social Justice's website

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"Mi Familia" at Baldwin Park United Methodist Church

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Recalibrating our Power as a Community

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Community College Pride

Connee_Jazmin.jpegJazmin Valenzuela offered us this testimonial to the value of a community college education. Jazmin is currently a senior at UC Santa Barbara. At left, she was our guest speaker at a fundraiser in 2015, pictured here with Connee Freeman, former Urban Foundation board member.

"After high school, I begrudgingly began attending community college. My plans of going to a four year school didn’t pan out and I felt defeated. I was angry because I felt like I had to settle for less, and upset because I thought to myself, “this place is for kids who don’t know where to go or what they want.”

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