Rating: 5 stars 15 reviews
Issues: Children & Youth, Education
Location: 3130 20th Street, Suite 275 San Francisco CA 94110 USA
Results: Our long-term, individualized approach successfully meets the needs of first-generation youth. To-date, 100 percent of First Graduate high school seniors has graduated from high school and enrolled in college. 88% of First Graduate high school graduates are eligible for the California State University system compared to 52% in the San Francisco Unified School district (SFUSD number also includes non-first generation students); 68% of our high school graduates are eligible for the University of California system. By comparison 18% of Black and Latino students in California graduate eligible to attend a CSU and 6% graduate eligible to attend UC schools. Our students are attending schools across the nation such as San Francisco State University, Harvard, Chapman University, the University of California, Los Angeles, Tufts University, and more.
Target demographics: First Graduate works exclusively with aspiring first-generation college graduates -- students who come from families with no college tradition. The majority of our students are immigrants or children of immigrants who receive either free or reduced-price lunch.
Direct beneficiaries per year: More than 320, plus their families.
Geographic areas served: San Francisco, CA
Programs: First Graduate's effective college access and success program helps more than 370 San Francisco-based students each year. In the spring of 2014, we enrolled our 13th class of new students recruited from San Francisco public middle schools. We coach our students for 10 years as they journey from middle school to high school, from high school to college, and from college into their first careers. We provide year-round academic instruction, tutoring and support; high school and college counseling; mentoring; family engagement activities; career exploration activities; and college scholarships and support.
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First Graduate is an inspiring nonprofit organization. It has an incredibly passionate and committed staff and an excellent, proven program. I was lucky enough to have some of the students visit my offices on "career day" and it was such a treat to see how engaged and thoughtful even the middle school students were about jobs and college and success. The staff has found a formula that seems to work incredibly well and it's inspiring to be a part of helping such a wonderful organization scale it's impact.
I have been involved with First Graduate for a few years. The Staff is incredibly passionate and committed. The students are provided a thorough and thoughtful progression from 7th grade through college to help them be first in their family to go to college. They students and their families are passionate about leveraging all of the services provided by First Graduate to get into college and avail themselves of a quality education.
In seventh grade, I became a student of First Graduate. My middle school faced challenges typical of inner-city schools serving low-income kids of color: poor-quality education, gang problems, lack of resources, etc. The First Graduate staff and volunteers truly believed in my abilities and potential, and always encouraged me to reach for the best. Thanks to their guidance, I was admitted to one of the best high schools in San Francisco. I struggled a lot initially, but I always had their support to push me forward and help me become a student who not only excelled in school, but who was carefully preparing for college as well. Four years later, First Graduate staff and volunteers worked hard to guide me through the rigorous college application process. Lots of essay-editing and many questions about financial aid later, I was admitted to all ten of the schools to which I had applied, including Harvard, which is where I ultimately attended. But the support didn't end there! First Graduate staff, and my FG mentor, continued to check up on me throughout my years at Harvard. They provided (and still provide!) me with letters of recommendations to fellowships, grants, jobs, etc. and therefore I have been able to enrich my education even further through meaningful work and travel. I am proud to be a first-generation college graduate and a First Graduate alumna, and am forever indebted to the staff and volunteers for their tireless efforts to help me succeed. My personal mission now is to help other low-income kids of color through education, so that I can share all that First Graduate has given me. My life is a testimony to the effectiveness, organization, and dedication of this comprehensive, life-changing non-profit. This is why I give First Graduate 5 stars!
I started with First as a mentor to kids that are about to enter high school with the goal of being the first in family to graduate college. Now, over 13 years later, I serve on the board of this great cause and am consistently impressed with the ability to deliver at such a high level to their students. The program is dedicated to help their students choose the right high school, tutor and mentor them through high school, pick a college suitable to their goals, and stick with them through college to graduation. Students who have been through the program have accomplished so much and come back to the program to help mentor younger students towards their goals. The staff, volunteers and the board work tirelessly to improve the program and achieve their goals of more and more students becoming the first in their family to graduate college.
I've been involved with First Graduate for 2 years. Ever since joining I've been inspired by the caliber of students that the organization recruits and the commitment that the staff shows day in and day out. The combination of the two makes for a highly impactful program that changes that lives of students who otherwise may not have made it to college.
I began volunteering with First Graduate earlier this year as a writing coach for a student who will be submitting his college applications soon. From the moment I was invited to volunteer I could see that First Graduate’s staff were well organized and thoughtful in their engagement with prospective volunteers. I truly appreciated that all of my questions were answered thoroughly and clearly before I began my volunteer work. The writing coach training I attended was well presented, and all follow-up communications with the staff have been prompt and helpful. I look forward to continuing my volunteer involvement with First Graduate in the months ahead.
I initially heard about First Graduate thanks to a friend who had worked with the organization for a few years. He had a wonderful experience, and his stories inspired me to sign up for my first volunteer event. From there I was hooked; I have attended and participated in many First Graduate events, including the Annual Gala, college workshops, Discovery Day, public speaking workshops and more. One of my favorite experiences was hosting a group of First Graduate students at my company for the day - it was so fun to introduce the students to a variety of professions that were possible with a college degree. Today, I feel very honored to be a member of the First Graduate board. The staff and leadership of the organization is first-class, and I am continually impressed with the dedication and passion they bring to their roles. I cannot recommend First Graduate enough!
I have volunteered with First Graduate for over a year in several capacities from helping with the annual gala to grading presentations to being an Academic Coach for 7th graders. The staff is well-organized, extremely focused, consistent and make it easy for volunteers to sign up for opportunities. The students are given a wide range of curriculum that I have seen truly help them to succeed in their everyday schoolwork to getting into college. You can see the pride each First Graduate has when being able to say he or she got into the school of their choice - tipping their cap to all of the support gained from the staff, coaches and volunteers. As a volunteer I have felt so inspired and know that I have helped to make a difference in many kids' lives.
I volunteered as an Academic Coach last year and it was the best experience I've ever had as a volunteer. The staff is very friendly and helpful, which made it easier to adapt to the role. Likewise, the students are so ambitious and talented that made it great to working with them!
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I have had a multi-faceted and evolving relationship with First Graduate over the past few years. I started as a pro bono volunteer helping with their use of salesforce for CRM and donor/donation management. Then I jumped in as a volunteer at a number of student events. And now I am a board member. All through the my many year relationship I have been very impressed with the program, staff, and students. The work they are doing is important (I myself was first in my family to graduate) and I am happy to support their efforts. I found the volunteer efforts all very well organized and always felt like I had a significant impact on the students I was working with.