LASIF Scholar: Jeffrey Castro

Jeffrey-Castro---WebJeffrey Castro’s parents instilled in him a drive to attend college. But just as he entered high school, tragedy struck. His father passed away, leaving his mother to provide for him and his two older brothers. College seemed further away than ever.

That’s where LASIF partner organization Upward Bound came in. Administered by Pasadena City College, Upward Bound has long supported San Gabriel Valley students in need with academic, financial aid and college application assistance. LASIF support allowed Upward Bound to expand their services beyond high school and focus on college completion. Jeffrey joined the program in the summer before 10th grade and never looked back.

“Before Upward Bound, I was a rebel without a clue. I can see how many high school kids wouldn’t appreciate a trip to see a college dorm. It’s something a lot of people take for granted,” said Jeffrey. “But I will always remember that visit and what it opened my eyes to.”

Today, Jeffrey feels better prepared than ever, both financially and academically. He is studying international business and English at Pasadena City College and hopes to transfer to a four-year university. Between classes, Jeffrey works for Upward Bound, helping other students realize their own dreams.

“This program takes you beyond your house, beyond your neighborhood,” he said. “The most important thing is the potential it unlocks in you.”

To learn more about how Upward Bound and other LASIF partners are helping students like Jeffrey to succeed in college, visit

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