Greetings! As you may know, our three-week residential component of our program ended on August 1st. The students in our Cohort 2 (soon to be High School Sophomores) spent one week at UCLA’s Unicamp before spending three weeks at the UCLA campus. During their three week stay students learned about about life skills & self-advocacy from a group called FosterClub, worked on credit recovery with Opportunities for Learning (OFL) and took a Videography course taught by the UCLA Studio 22 group on campus. We also welcomed our new Program Director, Dr. Josephine Jones!

Dr. Jones joined First Star UCLA full time at the beginning of July and had the great pleasure of getting to know Cohort-2 throughout the summer academy. A native of Sacramento,  with over 10 years experience working with foster youth in various capacities including: adoptions, family finding, and education.  Her passion is for EVERY foster youth to reach their true academic potential! It is our belief that through the village of support that surrounds our BGSA students, 100% will achieve high school graduation, college admission, and ultimately become college graduates!

Our students learned about philanthropy from our Program Co-Founder, Peter Samuelson, and were able to raise funds for the Special Olympic Haiti Soccer team. Our students noticed that they did not have adequate cleats and equipment to perform on the field. Links to the national story can be found here and here, please feel free to take a look if you have a few minutes. The story was also featured on ESPN in this video!

Our busy month also included a Caregiver Visiting Day, a screening of the film: “Spare Parts” with the writer Elissa Matsueda and actor David Del Rio, a special musical performance by Salvador Santana, two student birthdays, a Talent Show and Closing Ceremony. We are looking forward to our monthly Academies and assisting in any way that we can throughout the school year to ensure that the students are on track for High School graduation and college admission.

Thank you for your time, and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the First Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy (BGSA).

Dr. Josephine Jones
DirectorFirst Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy

Evan Sotelo, M.A.
Assistant Director, First Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy