The Urban Foundation has impacted many people through several programs to support youth and young adults, including through Seeds of Hope small grants. But for starters, here are some measures of the impact we have had at Kid City (Hope Place).
Our vision is to help every kid who walks through Kid City's doors to become their very best selves. To that end, we provide college access and completion support, job training, leadership development, and arts and culture programming in a warm, supportive, and adaptable environment. Some important Kid City milestones include:
2008: Doors opened with four middle school students and one high school sophomore.
2009/10: Program grew by word of mouth to 35 kids.
2011: Kwesi Essilfie, oldest Kid City member, enrolled in CSUN, and college access program began with four high school seniors: Yanet Gutierrez, Ben Garcia, Kofi Essilfie, and Naty Rico. Summer internships for high school and college students provided training and stipends for older kids, who provided activities and support to younger kids.
2012: Laura Cuellar came on, and built the college access program to include 30 new high school seniors. We realized the important of high level math and physics to college access, and also brought in math tutor whiz, William McKeithen.
2013: With 40 kids in college, staff began a college persistence program. Naty Rico spearheaded a program at UC Irvine with the help of University United Methodist Church, and volunteer Katie Kevorkian provided support in our CSUN College Advance program. Alma Catalan created a community college support program in our central location, and Laura Cuellar supported distance students via social media, visits, and phone.
2014: 100 kids in college! With a growing program, but a limited budget, Kid City launched a college ambassador program, in which we trained upper-division students to reach out and provide support to incoming first year students on their campuses.
2015: 35 more kids have been accepted to college! Ben Garcia, who has volunteered every summer at Kid City since beginning CSUN, is now teaching the job training course. We celebrated three community college transfers: Saul Nolasco, Jazmin Valenzuela and Mario Aviles will be starting UC Santa Barbara in the fall. And, we anticipate our first graduates by the end of the year!
2016: Kid City has helped over 200 students enroll in college, and in June, we celebrated our first three graduates. Kid City's college success program has grown with each incoming college class. Now we have a great opportunity to help all 200 successfully complete their college coursework through to graduation.