Farewell seniors!

August 19, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Congratulations to our graduated seniors who are all starting college this fall! Our new Partnership Scholars Program alumni will be attending the following schools:

Arizona State University
Cabrillo College
CSU East Bay
CSU Humboldt
CSU Long Beach
CSU Los Angeles
CSU Sacramento
CSU San Francisco
De Paul University
George Washington University
Mendocino College
Regis University
Rio Hondo College
Rogue Community College
San Diego State
Santa Monica College
UC Berkeley
UC Davis
UC Irvine
UC Merced
UC Riverside
UC Santa Barbara
University of Dubuque



5th Annual College Retreat

August 18, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Ukiah cohort tours USC's campus

Ukiah cohort tours USC’s campus

PSP’s rising juniors and seniors gathered together at University of Southern California on Friday, August 5 to kick off Partnership Scholars Program’s 5th Annual College Retreat. This year the retreat was expanded from two days to three. Students partook in a host of workshops led by experts to prepare and equip them with the tools they will need for the college application process.

Scholars from the PSP cohorts in Lennox, El Monte, Hawthorne, Fort Bragg, Mendocino and Ukiah traveled to campus and stayed overnight in USC’s dormitories, allowing students experience a taste of campus life. For many participants, the weekend afforded them a chance to engage and network with other high school students experiencing similar circumstances and grappling with common concerns. Along with scholars, 10 of PSP’s mentors and PSP staff supported the retreat, allowing in-depth learning to take place for scholars and volunteers alike.

First-generation college graduate Marlené Lopez of the Plus Me Project delivered Friday night’s keynote address to students, relating her story of personal struggle and encouraging students to set their goals high, no matter what their circumstances. Saturday and Sunday’s programming included workshops covering college admissions, financial aid and literacy, exams, personal statements, communication and networking. Students even found inspiration and rejuvenation with a yoga session Saturday afternoon on USC’s quad. Saturday evening, students heard from a group of PSP alumni who shared their own stories of challenges and successes as they made their way through college. “I learned so much about the college lifestyle, and thanks to the alumni panel I got to hear about the difference between high school and college,” said one rising senior.

Another scholar wrote that she felt heartened by the weekend’s content, citing the workshop on the college admissions process, presented by Mateo Corby of Better Angels, as especially helpful. “He gave me hope about actually getting accepted to a university,” says Kimberly. After his second retreat, a Mendocino scholars was energized and inspired by what he learned over the weekend. “With the tools that I learned from the workshops… after each session I was more and more prepared to take on the challenge,” he said.

Mentors who stayed with the group of students through the weekend felt that taking advantage of new information that will be helpful as they support their scholars in the coming year. “The retreat was a learning experience for [us] since we’re not very conversant with the college application process nor funding these days,” said one Lennox-based mentor. An El Monte mentor agreed, saying “this retreat was important for me as a mentor because it updated my knowledge about the college application process, so I can better understand how to guide my students. It also gave me the opportunity to network with other mentors.”

To find out more information about PSP’s annual college retreat, contact us at maria@partnershipscholars.org. You can download many of the materials from the weekend’s workshops below.

1. College List

2. Brag Sheet

3. College Board-Junior Year Calendar

4. College Board-Senior Year Calender

5. Test Dates

6. Volunteer Opportunities

7. Building Your Network

8. Tips for Writing the College Application Essay

9. Funding Your Education

10. Financial Aid Presentation

11. uAspire Award Letter Analyzer 2016

Spotlight on Fort Bragg mentor Larry Sawyer

July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Congressman Jared Huffman with Partnership Scholars Students and mentor, Larry Sawyer

Congressman Jared Huffman with Partnership Scholars students and mentor, Larry Sawyer

Five years ago, Larry Sawyer heard about Partnership Scholars Program from a few friends who had been involved as mentors and he thought to himself, “Well, maybe I will do this later.” But there was an immediate need for new mentors to take on the growing number of students in the Fort Bragg area, and Larry decided not to put it off and stepped up to the plate. Larry was paired with one student that year, Damien, and two years later took on a second scholar, Ian.

Even though the boys were a year apart, Larry knew it was a good pairing. Larry has now seen Ian graduate, with Damien preparing for graduation in the coming year. What he’s gained from the two boys is immeasurable. “The one-on-one and one-on-two small group sharing, driving to and from places and the check-ins” are what have been most important to Larry. “It’s good to form relationships with people of other ages than ourselves,” says Larry. “I don’t have my own kids, so this gives me an experience I wouldn’t have otherwise.” Larry emphasizes the benefit of sharing experiences with those younger than himself, gaining their life perspective and giving back, imparting his own wisdom. “It’s healthy for them to have other older people in their lives,” says Larry, pointing out that mentors offer supplemental guidance to what they receive from their parents.

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Spotlight on new mentor Michelle Brantley

July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Michelle Brantley and two of her scholars, Verenice and Kinza.

Michelle Brantley and two of her scholars, Verenice and Kinza at an LA Dodgers game.

Being a new mentor can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Suddenly, you are responsible for having a profound impact on the trajectory of another person’s life. While people encounter mentorship opportunities in different ways throughout their lifetime, establishing a one-on-one mentor-scholar relationship creates a new kind of bond unlike any other.

In her first year working as a secretary at Lennox Middle School, Michelle Brantley felt compelled to finally find out what that special bond was all about. After a colleague of hers handed Michelle a pamphlet and gave her the run-down on why PSP was a mentorship program that really made a difference, Michelle was convinced. This was the year she was going to do it. This was her chance to be a mentor.

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PSP Scholars Taking Advantage of Summer Programs with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth

July 22, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

CTY - Erick Pech

Lennox scholar Erikk Pech at his CTY summer program at Seattle University.

In an effort to provide scholars with college preparatory opportunities, Partnership Scholars Program has enjoyed a collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) since 2012. The CTY Academic Exploration program is an academically challenging summer learning opportunity available to students 7th grade and above. In the spring, PSP arranges for 7th and 8th graders to take a challenging standardized test, the SCAT, to qualify for participation in the program. Once qualified, students are given the opportunity to engage in three weeks of academically rigorous courses offered on designated college campuses over the summer.

“One of the most memorable experiences I had through PSP was being able to participate in Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth,” says recent PSP graduate Raul Estrella. “In this program I was able to spend a summer at UC Santa Cruz and take actual college courses, while experiencing the college scene by dorming and participating in many different activities. I made many friends through this once in a lifetime experience, and I will actually be dorming with one of these friends that I made at CTY.”

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Congratulations class of 2016!

June 14, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Ukiah graduation

Congratulations to all of our PSP graduates! You did it!

Our 42 seniors are on their way to college and we couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments over their six years as scholars. Though they are embarking on a new and exciting chapter in their lives with many challenges ahead, we know that all of our PSP graduates will encounter great success in college and beyond.

See what this year’s graduates wrote about their experiences and plans for the future!

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PSP Goes out to the Dodgers Ballgame!

June 5, 2016 in Uncategorized by Maria Hernandez

FullSizeRenderThanks to a partnership with the L.A. Dodgers Foundation, 100 Partnership Scholars, mentors and family spent Friday, June 3 watching the Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves!

We were there for Dre Dayz, an event that L.A. Dodger Andre Ethier supports. Another benefit of this partnership, PSP scholars got to be featured on the big screen over the ballpark!

The Foundation provided a special treat to some of PSP’s highest achieving students. Students who earned a 4.0 or better on their report cards were invited for a special evening in a VIP suite at the stadium. The L.A. Dodgers Foundation gave these students new sneakers and Dodger gear and they got to tour the stadium and go down on the field!

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Toast to PSP fundraiser

May 11, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Partnership Scholars Program hosted our first fundraising event on Friday, May 6, at King Harbor Brewing Company in Redondo Beach. We are grateful to King Harbor for hosting us and to California United Bank for underwriting this event. Nearly 30 supporters including mentors, alumni and donors came together to toast PSP, enjoying locally made pizza and beer. Attendees heard from PSP Past Board Chair Bruce McDaniel and class of 2006 graduate Sara Potter. Sara spoke movingly about her journey to achieving a college education with the guiding hand of PSP and her mentor, whom she has continued to stay close with 10 years later. Thanks to all who joined and supported us, the event raised critical funds to support scholars in Lennox and throughout the PSP community!  IMG_2973



PSP welcomes new staff member: Dikla Tuchman

May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized by Dikla Tuchman

Dikla Bio PhotoDikla joined the PSP staff  as third team member and our first Development Associate & Partnership Coordinator!  She is excited to be working with us to advance our fundraising efforts!

Having recently returned to Los Angeles after 11 years in Seattle, Washington, Dikla has been working in the nonprofit sector for over 5 years. She graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University in 2004 and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Dikla’s passion is fundraising and volunteering for organizations she cares deeply about and making lasting change in communities that are in need. She is excited about working with the Partnership Scholarship Program and being instrumental in the growth of the organization. When not hard at work, Dikla enjoys the great outdoors, hiking and going to the beach, traveling and spending time with her family.

Please join us in welcoming her as you have the opportunity to meet Dikla in the near future at our PSP office and events. We are excited to have her on board!


PSP Scholar and Mentor Serving Skid Row

April 26, 2016 in Uncategorized by Maria Hernandez

Giovanni Alleviate Skid RowFive years ago, Giovanni Pantoja (scholar) and Noel Velasco (mentor) met for the first time. The two connected right away and began exploring the world together, first taking stock of the culture in the Los Angeles area. During one of their monthly cultural enrichment trips, Giovanni and Noel were humbled by the dire conditions on the streets of LA’s Skid Row neighborhood. The trip struck such a chord in both Giovanni and Noel that rather than allowing their concern to fade, the two set out to create “a sustainable plan to help one of the largest homeless populations in the nation and motivate others to seek answers to community problems,” says Noel. “After months of hard work, a wishful thought transformed into Alleviate Skid Row.”

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