While Los Angeles is known for its glamour and wealth, much of the city faces a harsh reality. In Boyle Heights, just east of Downtown LA, only 6% of residents hold a bachelor’s degree.
Boyle Heights is an incredibly vibrant community with a rich history. The area’s predominantly Latinx population takes great pride in sharing the cuisine and customs of their culture with the broader Los Angeles community. But too few of its young people have the opportunity to earn a higher education and lend their diverse voices to the local economy.
In partnership with will.i.am’s i.am.angel Foundation, i.am College Track opened its doors in Boyle Heights in 2012 to recruit hundreds of students from nearby Roosevelt High School. Next year, the center will celebrate our first cohort of students graduation from college and setting a new standard for the Boyle Heights community.
A View Inside…
Right across the bridge from Downtown Los Angeles sits our treasured center, a space as dazzling, creative, and diverse as the city it inhabits. Our students’ dreams are on display each day, both figuratively and literally! Massive wood cutouts of college campuses across the country, from UC San Diego to Middlebury College, span the perimeter of the main room, so when students come in for their workshops or stand together, arm-in-arm, for Unity Circle, they have a constant reminder of why they’re here and what possibilities await them.
What Our Students Have Achieved
students currently enrolled
identify as students of color
matriculate to a two- or four-year college
Scholar Spotlight: Nivia, University of California Merced
Through College Track, I found a valuable community of support not only with my academics, but also financially and emotionally. My Site Director explained DACA and AB540 status to me early on, helping me find an immigration attorney. I know that the only way I will get a seat at the table is to get my college degree. I refuse to let fear get in the way…
I was UC Merced’s College Track Cohort Leader my freshman year, a Fiat Lux and STEP scholar, and continue to be involved in on- and off-campus groups and associations, including Delta Delta Delta, the American Medical Student Association, Lift While You Lead Women’s Mentorship, SoCal Can Mentorship Program, and Hermanas Unidas. I plan to graduate within four years and go on to medical school to specialize in Pediatrics or become a General Practitioner. I volunteer in my Merced community through homeless/women’s care package distributions, clean ups, relay for for life events, and the hospital’s hospice where I can meet and care for patients every week.
As a first-generation, low-income, undocumented Latina student, I will face adversity. Despite the obstacles I may face, I refuse to shy away from obstacles just because of my citizenship status. I am so thankful to College Track for helping fulfill the gap between my dream and my ambition.
Our partners across Los Angeles lend invaluable support to our program and help guide our students toward the emerging careers of tomorrow: science, technology, engineering, math, digital media, and the arts.
Los Angeles Local Advisory Board
Laura Wasserman Board Chair
Tamara Houston Founder & CEO, ICON MANN and Roundtable Entertainment
Tracey Monroe Executive Director, UBS Asset Management
Chris Paul Professional Basketball Player, National Basketball Association
Vanessa Spencer Casting Director
Antonio Villaraigosa Former Mayor of Los Angeles
Prophet Walker CEO and Co-founder, Treehouse Co-living