UC Merced Alumni, Class of 2016
College was on Jahmeel’s radar since he was in 5th grade, but it was not something he thought was tangible. “The process of preparing and applying to college can be extremely overwhelming because you don’t know where to start.”
First-generation students face barriers such as financial burdens and inequitable access to guidance and resources, making their college experience more challenging as they navigate a new environment for the first time. These barriers are compounded for Black students who are directly impacted by the side-effects of structural racism.
“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a high school that challenged me academically and offered college prep classes, but that wasn’t enough. I needed some additional guidance and an action plan.”
Jahmeel was able to receive the support and guidance he needed from an organization called the Fulfillment Fund who was working with youth at his high school. The Fulfillment Fund, a grantee of LASIF, offers an array of college access support services such as in-class college access instruction, one-on-one college counseling and financial aid advising.
Through the Fulfillment Fund Jahmeel was able to connect with a college counselor who believed in him and helped him build his confidence to pursue his dream of a higher education. “Having that additional support from a college counselor was instrumental for me because I didn’t know how to navigate the system and didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know if I could become a successful college student.” Jahmeel continued to receive personalized support from Fulfillment Fund staff throughout his four years in college, which increased his odds of graduating.
Jahmeel earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UC Merced in May 2016, becoming the first in his family to earn a four-year degree. He is a young professional whose passions range from giving back to his community to pursuing his creative ventures.
“I owe my success to my mother who always believed in me and to the small community who rallied around me and provided me with the tools and resources I needed to pursue my dreams.”
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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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.