California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Filler ad

Upward Bound Program Guarantees Success

The first day of the Summer Program in June 2011 included students participating in games and icebreakers so that new students and continuing students could get to know each other.

For many children of immigrant families, college and the idea of mobility through higher education is often times obscure, as low-income and simply not having enough information can inhibit many students from continuing their education.

At the Upward Bound program at CSU East Bay, students from traditionally underrepresented groups receive valuable assistance from mentors and directors to guarantee they attend college.

From tutoring, campus exposure trips, academic and personal advising, and college application aid—among others—students become enriched with an opportunity to help them secure their American Dream, and in doing so inspire others to follow their paths to success.

According to director Diana Warren, the program works to “make students feel more comfortable [and] more aware of how successful they can be.”

“They have to be told constantly that they are capable, that they are able, and that’s what we do for them on an ongoing basis,” she said.

The Upward Bound program boasts a 100 percent matriculation to post-secondary education, citing the fact that all 65 of their students are attending college in the fall.

Regardless of having good stats, the program believes the evidence lies in the component of the parent, student and program, as they give students more intimate attention than what their high schools can provide them.

“Were it not for us,” said Warren.  “I’m sure more than half of the kids who have come through this program would not have gone on to college if they had not been exposed to the Upward Bound program.”

“We’re always there for the kids and I really think that makes a difference for them,” she said.

Targeting kids from low-income households, first-generation American-born and from one of the target high schools in South Alameda County—Hayward, Mt. Eden, Tennyson, San Lorenzo, James Logan—the program’s main goal is to get kids into a college that will ultimately change their lives.

Upward Bound, program advisors said, prepares students academically and psychologically for college and the many challenges they might endure, but in the end the assurance that they are fully capable of doing so regardless of where they come from.

For students like 17-year-old Tammy Hoang and 14-year-old Luis Araiza, the program has opened doors to a college opportunity they both said would not have been as possible without Upward Bound.

“They showed me that they really care about my success, and that motivated me to do my very best as well,” said Hoang, a recent Hayward High graduate who will be attending UCLA in the fall as a biology major.

“I’ve always wanted to go to college, but because of Upward Bound I’m able to go to the school of my dreams because they pushed me to work hard and be an all-around good student,” she said. “I’m just so thankful.”

For Araiza, who wants to pursue a psychology degree in college in the hopes of counseling people, the program changed the way he saw himself and consequently the way he views his future.

“Before, I didn’t know what college was, and now I really know what it’s about,” he said. “Before I didn’t exactly know if it was for me, but now I know it’s the right choice, and I’m very happy in the program.”

Araiza saw the impact his growth through the program has made on his friends and said they have become so impressed, they are planning on enrolling in the program as well.

Upward Bound students at UC Riverside this summer during one of their college tours.

Program advisor Melissa Padilla, who said “Upward Bound is where my heart is,” believe the program is important for the community in that it serves as a beacon of inspiration for other students to see someone similar to themselves go to college and in turn hopefully inspire them to follow their paths.

Warren and assistant director Alejandro Peña cite funding and budget cuts as the greatest challenge for the program, with funding remaining the same over the last ten years despite cost increases.

Regardless of its “disheartening” nature, they make it their primary concern to do the best with what they can and find “creative” alternatives, which in the end they say their commitment and devotion is what makes them achieve a 100 percent success rate.

“My joy in seeing them every day is just those moments when the light bulb goes off and you can see they get it, when they get accepted to the college of their choice, those are the moments for me that I look forward to every day,” said Warren.

The Upward Bound program staff said they are excited for the next school year, where they can once again inspire students to reach their full potential and create their presence in the world.

For Araiza, the fulfillment of being in a program that will change his life and that of his parents is thrilling, as he knows the hard work will pay off when he becomes the first person from his family to become a college graduate.

“I feel kind of proud, because I try hard for my family,” he said. “I think [I’m] going to make it. No, I know I’m going to make it.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Pioneer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Activate Search
California State University East Bay
Upward Bound Program Guarantees Success