Fifty-eight high school freshman and sophomore students are having a busy summer on the Fresno State campus as well as its surrounding community.
“They’re students who’ll be first-generation college goers,” Upward Bound program director Bernardo Reynoso said. “This summer’s group are from Edison, Roosevelt, McLane and Fresno highs in Fresno and both high schools in Madera.”
The students are staying in campus housing for six weeks and taking part in the Upward Bound summer program. Reynoso said half the group is participating for the first time this summer. There is a mix of activities the students take part in during the summer weeks.
“This group is taking math or English preparatory classes to get ready for math and English classes for college,” Reynoso said. He added that the students who are participating in the summer program for the second time are taking SAT and writing prep courses.
“The writing class prepares them for the written portion of the University of California application,” added Reynoso.
But the students aren’t just spending their time in the classroom.
“In the mornings, they do internships in over 20 offices on campus and in the community,” Reynoso said. A $500 stipend is given to the students in exchange for their work. The students also do community service activities.
“This summer, they’ve partnered with DJ Kay Rich to put together bags of toiletries and bottled water for Fresno’s homeless community,” according to Reynoso.
Rich and the Ian Group organized a weeklong “Hydrate the Homeless” event in partnership with the Fresno Football Club office at Chukchansi Park, the Upward Bound office on campus and the Fly Shack location on Blackstone Avenue in order to collect items. The drive wrapped up on July 13.
Reynoso said the students sorted the items and organized bags. Once they’ were packed, Rich came into the office to pick them up and distribute them. Reynoso added that during past summers, the students have done clean-up and food distribution projects out in the community.
The summer program also provides guest speakers and puts on workshops for participants. University President Dr. Joseph Castro spoke to students about the importance of education during an afternoon workshop in the Henry Madden Library recently.
Upward Bound operates year-round, according to Reynoso. The program provides academic advising and assessment; after-school tutoring services; college conferences and parent workshops among other things.
Reynoso said Upward Bound at Fresno State serves low-income, first-generation college-bound high school students who have the potential to succeed in college, but whose high school grades and test scores don’t reflect that potential.
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and provides opportunities and assistance to students through teaching and counseling. It has been at Fresno State since 1981.