For this edition of the Goodness Report, we’re spotlighting Think Together’s College and Career Readiness Programs.
Idea Hall is proud to have partnered with Think Together to create new business strategies, develop an integrated marketing program, develop branding and advertising, and provide ongoing public relations services.
Who is Think Together?
Think Together is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization supporting nearly 600 California schools from Orange County to Palm Springs, Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Think Together advocates for goodness by changing the odds for students of all ages, offering expanded learning programs, before and after school programs, school improvement strategies and college and career readiness programs.
Think Together’s college and career readiness programs begin in middle school and continue through the senior year of high school. With a long-term presence in student’s educational careers, Think Together gives students better opportunities to learn and grow in a safe, supportive environment.
Changing the Odds
The college application process is lengthy and often difficult to navigate. Many students enrolled in Think Together will be first generation college students, amplifying the need for mentorship to ensure each student has the resources, information, and completed coursework to reach their goals.
That’s where Think Together’s College and Career Readiness Programs come in. Think Together College and Career Resource Specialists support roughly 4,000 high school students across the state with the majority of high school programs in Los Angeles and Riverside counties.
Think Together College and Career Resource Specialists provide students with an additional adult mentor to help them apply to colleges, write application and scholarship essays, craft resumes and participate in interview preparation workshops.
“Preparing students for college and career is a vital part of Think Together’s mission,” said Randy Barth, Think Together founder and CEO. “Helping students make the connections between education and the real world of work is a critical part of our strategy.”
Think Together high school programs are unique in that students are encouraged by their Think Together site coordinators and older youth leaders to explore activities that appeal to them and guide their peers as leaders of their own clubs. Students can choose to start clubs that cultivate their interests in STEAM, arts, leadership or wellness, among many others.
At Compton High School, Stephany Garcia was recently recognized for her exemplary leadership as a site coordinator who has led her students to start a variety of successful clubs on campus including the school’s Drone Club as well as its Beauty and Brains Club.
Sophomore Esther started the Beauty and Brains Academy this school year. Esther knew her peers cared about their looks and thought there would be interest in a club that shares beauty tips and tricks. Since starting the Beauty and Brains Academy, about 30 students attend regularly.
The club helps build the students’ confidence to make a great first impression while also serving as a fun and creative outlet after school.
“I used to be really shy and quiet. Because of Think Together, I feel more confident. Like anything is possible,” shared Esther.
Compton High School’s Drone Club is led by freshman Noemi and sophomore Ahmahd, who started the club after discovering their shared passion for photography. The students are learning how to code and set flight paths, thanks to a grant from the Boeing Company, which funds coding and robotics programs for schools in Compton, Lynwood, Bellflower and most recently, Orange County.
Think Together also offers college field trips, career panels, workforce readiness internships, and scholarship opportunities through their College and Career Readiness Programs.
Earlier this school year, over 150 students from Think Together’s Los Angeles Metro region toured six colleges including:
- University of California, Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara)
- California Polytechnic State University, San Louis Obispo (Cal Poly)
- California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB)
- University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz)
- University of California, Berkley (UC Berkley)
- University of California, Merced (UC Merced)
These visits were the first time many of the students attended a college tour, and for some, it was the first time they had ever left their home county.
In addition, Think Together awarded three students the “Faces of the Future” scholarships, and will surprise an additional seven students with their “Good to Great” scholarship before the school year wraps up. Each scholarship recipient is awarded a cash honorarium, a new backpack filled with school supplies and a new laptop for college.
“Scholarships are one way Think Together helps change the odds for our students. Scholarships reward students for all their amazing hard work while alleviating the financial burden higher education may bring,” said Emilio Pena, College and Career Resource Specialist, Los Angeles Metro region. “I view scholarships as the fastest way to bring equity to our students, to give them an opportunity they may not have otherwise ever had.”
A 2021 Think Together alum and scholarship recipient, Diego Martinez, spoke at March’s Inland Empire Workforce Readiness Summit about how Think Together’s programs and workshops helped him prepare for college. “I was able to learn interview skills, develop my resume, and start looking beyond a typical career, and define where I want to go now which is the field of automotive within mechanical engineering,” shared Martinez.
He is now on the path to finishing his bachelor’s degree to become a mechanical engineer all while continuing to work with Think Together to further develop Hack Clubs at additional programs across the state.
An Ongoing Journey
Idea Hall recognizes the importance of improving educational opportunities and environments in California to ensure the success of future generations. Interested in joining in on the goodness? You can join the team, sign up to be a volunteer or support Think Together by donating.
Interested in how Idea Hall can help your organization advocate for a great cause? Schedule a call today!