News & Views

Press Release

Watts Students Experience College Life for the First Time

Kaiser Permanente Expands College-Bound Hispanic Program in Los Angeles

August 9, 2011

  REGIONS: Southern California 

LOS ANGELES — Kaiser Permanente announced today it is expanding the educational work of the Hispanic Youth Institute in California to include for the first time Los Angeles students in the greater Watts area.

SGoodwill Southern California

The Hispanic Youth Institute uses year-round programming to foster a college-bound culture in local high schools and encourages students to pursue professional careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), as well as in business.

A total of 125 students from Southern California are participating in the Hispanic Youth Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, from Aug. 9-12. And for the first time since the program’s inception, six students from David Starr Jordan High School in Watts have been selected to be a part of this intensive four-day, three-night program. Among these students is 16-year old Alba Echeverria, a sophomore at Jordan High School, who will be the first in her family to attend college.

Echeverria was 11 years old when, walking home from school, she was run over by a drunk driver. She was confined to a wheelchair for four months and had to learn to walk again. In spite of this, Echeverria managed to keep up with her classes. “Now I want to learn more and go on to college. I want to be a nurse so I can help people when they are not feeling their best,” said Echeverria.

Kaiser Permanente’s Watts Counseling and Learning Center was instrumental in recruiting students to take part in this life-changing experience. Students from Belmont High School in Westlake, Santee High in South Central Los Angeles, and Roosevelt High in East Los Angeles will also be attending the program.

“These students represent the next generation of health care providers. We support the Hispanic Youth Institute because we are dedicated to increasing health care access to Southern California’s diverse community,” said Maria Aguirre, community outreach project manager for the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center. “We are especially pleased that our support this year will give high school students from Watts the opportunity to experience this empowering program and introduce them to the many career choices available in health care.” Aguirre is one of the Hispanic Heroes mentoring the students at UCLA to help guide their career choices.

The students will also meet college admissions officers, participate in workshops, interact with peer mentors, listen to inspirational speakers, and apply for scholarships. Throughout their on-campus experience, the students will build confidence as they receive practical tools to help them navigate their pathway to college.

“Kaiser Permanente has been a leader in helping to ensure that the Hispanic Youth Institute is available to California students,” said Kathryn Grady, Hispanic College Fund director of corporate and foundation relations for the western states. “They were one of the leading sponsors who welcomed us to Los Angeles in 2009. We really couldn’t be expanding if it weren’t for Kaiser Permanente. As the Hispanic Youth Institute continues to grow in California and across the country, we are grateful for Kaiser Permanente’s enthusiastic commitment to this program.”

Kaiser Permanente has provided funding for the Hispanic Youth Institute for five consecutive years. For the 2011–2012 school year, Kaiser Permanente’s financial commitment of $50,000 will support the work of the Hispanic Youth Institute in Los Angeles, the Central Valley and the Silicon Valley in California, with an additional $7,000 to expand the program’s services in the greater Watts area. By the end of this summer, the Hispanic Youth Institute will have hosted more than 300 high school students across the state.

The Hispanic Youth Institute is a program of the Hispanic College Fund that will serve more than 2,000 students and parents in California during the upcoming school year and engage approximately 550 adult volunteers. The Hispanic College Fund anticipates that 75 percent of its summer program alumni will attain a bachelor’s degree within six years of graduating high school and that 50 percent will pursue careers in business and STEM.

About the Hispanic College Fund

About the Hispanic College Fund Founded in 1993, the Hispanic College Fund (HCF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., with a mission to develop the next generation of Hispanic professionals. For 18 years, the Hispanic College Fund has provided educational, scholarship, and mentoring programs to students throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, establishing a career pipeline of talented and career-driven Hispanics. The Hispanic College Fund annually awards millions of dollars, impacting thousands of students through high school to college and career. HCF has been recognized by USA Today as one of the nation’s top 25 charities and has twice received Charity Navigator’s top four-star rating for fiscal responsibility. In 2010, the College Board recognized HCF for program innovation.

About Kaiser Permanente

About Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: