Amanda Abito

Current Student, Los Angeles Harbor Community College

There is no greater weapon than knowledge and no greater tool than education. These words resonate deeply with Amanda Abito, who from a young age, understood the value of obtaining a higher education, but struggled navigating a system that does not always provide students with access to the resources they need to succeed.

“There is no-one-size-fits all solution when it comes to learning. Having access to an alternative high school program allowed me to re-discover my passion for learning and changed the course of my life.”

Amanda not only found a school model that worked for her, but she also benefited from programming offered by Sharefest, a grantee of LASIF, that works with youth from underserved L.A. neighborhoods. Sharefest empowers youth through leadership development, college preparation workshops, campus field trips and mentoring.

Through Sharefest’s creative writing class Amanda was able to connect with a trusted mentor who believed in her potential and encouraged her to seek out opportunities she might have passed on, such as the LASIF Action Research Fellowship. “My mentor’s support was instrumental in helping me build my self-confidence. There were times when I sold myself short because I wasn’t attending a prestigious ivy league school and I struggled with social anxiety. I perceived those things as limitations when they were merely challenges that could be overcome.”

Amanda, who is now 20 years old, is finishing her second year at Los Angeles Harbor Community College where she will earn three AA degrees before transferring to a four-year university. Community college allowed Amanda to take advantage of The LA College Promise initiative which waives tuition for the first two years of college for youth graduating from LA Unified high schools.

“I will always be an advocate for community college because it offers great advantages for students such as lower tuition and fees and a more flexible curriculum and class schedule. I was given the opportunity to receive a college education debt free and although my academic goals move beyond community college, I believe the education I am receiving will serve as a solid foundation for my future.”

That future is full of possibilities for this young scholar whose personal mission is to enrich the lives of others in her community. “I look forward to finding a career path that allows me to merge my love of writing and storytelling with community service to become a champion for higher education.”

Throughout its ten-year trajectory, LASIF has impacted the lives of over 38,000 students by supporting community organizations who provide low-income youth with an array of safety net services to ensure they have the support they need to get into college and graduate.


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