Adult & Child Matching Programs,
Children & Youth,
Youth Development Programs
Mission: First Graduate's mission is to help students finish high school and become the first in their families to graduate from college, well-prepared to launch meaningful careers.
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.
My first encounter with First Graduate came in 2003 when I was looking for opportunities to tutor high school students in reading and writing. That year of working with the first cohort of students (now all college grads!) as well as the sharp and dedicated staff led me to accept an invitation to join the board. Eight years later, I am as committed to First Graduate as ever! The difference the program makes in the lives of San Francisco youth, their families, and their communities is truly inspring. Because the commitment begins the summer before seventh grade and extends through the obtainment of a BA, staff build trusting and constructive relationships with students and families to help navigate the inevitable ups and downs of the adolescent educational journey -- always keeping the focus on the long view.