On May 27, the inaugural event of our first West Coast branch, College EDge @ UCLA, ran successfully at Pueblo de los Angeles High School. The leadership introduced themselves to the 30 students who chose to attend (40% of the school) and explained the role College EDge aims to play in helping students achieve their college ambitions. After enjoyable ice breakers, high school students spent 45 minutes probing their new mentors with questions about college. At the session’s end, students took the information they gained to compose success tips on index cards for their future selves – upon return from summer vacation. The UCLA mentors are looking forward to returning the cards and continuing programming this Fall.
The UCLA branch was founded over the course of this Spring semester by UCLA junior Talia Kamdjou, a Neuroscience major and Linguistics minor. Born in Maryland, she has spent her life rather equally split between the East and the West Coast. From an early age, Talia spent much of her time in academic and volunteer settings, and when she entered college, she sought out ways to continue to give to those around her. During spring break of sophomore year, Talia travelled on a guided service trip to Argentina where she and her classmates visited local medical and assisted-living centers, kindergartens, and an underprivileged village. Inspired to do more for her local community in Los Angeles, Talia became a Social Justice Engagement Fellow at Hillel of UCLA. Little did she know that a friend would soon enough notify her of College EDge in NY and their desire to expand. When she heard about College EDge, she knew that it would be another way to bring the inspiration she found in Argentina to her hometown. Moreover, she knows the importance of receiving a post-secondary education and feels that College EDge’s mission is an honorable one. With a growing number of students dropping out of high school and/or not achieving a college education, a little bit of guidance, motivation, and hope can truly go a long way. Education is “the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else” and knowing that many underprivileged youth may not get to experience that at a higher level re-emphasizes the importance and the value of College EDge.
We are thrilled and grateful that Talia has chosen to join College EDge and look forward to future events at UCLA, Yeshiva University, and many more campuses nationwide.