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Commerce Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders

By Tammye McDuff


Councilwoman Denise Robles introduced a new mentor program through the Montebello Unified School District [MUSD] called ‘College Bound Today’. Robles addressed Council saying “I know there has been interest from the City to establish a mentoring program. The MUSD has an excellent course that works together with the school system and the community to guide those students through the many hurdles they may encounter while going through the college application process. “


Mr. Castillo from MUSD introduced the mentor program stating “Eight years ago we adopted a pilot program to help schools and students stay on track with the required courses necessary to enter a higher education facility.” Castillo introduced Mr. Dan Clement the Senior Resource Fellow from Community Partners, a nonprofit organization in down town Los Angeles and the fiscal sponsor for ‘College Bound Today’, which Clement co-founded. The program has expanded to four MUSD high schools within the past seven years, hired 250 mentors, assisted 384 students and out of those, 381 students went on to pursue a college education.


Currently College Bound Today has four groups of juniors and four groups of seniors at Applied Technology Center; Bell Gardens High School; Montebello High School and Schurr High School.

In January 2015, College Bound Today will select 200 sophomores, 50 from each high school to enter into this program. Clement adds that the program is currently in the process of recruiting 60 new mentors to work with the incoming sophomores and is requesting the City Council to assist with recommendations for new guidelines.


“Some of the stellar mentors coming from the City of Commerce include an Olympic athlete, Executive Director of the LA Theater Company; two teachers and a member of the Commerce media department,” states Clements. “These people are fine mentors and are emblematic of the type of personalities we prefer to choose from.” Clement added that mentors are recruited, trained, assigned, and supervised by Creative Education Partners [CEP], with the support of MUSD. Mentors must provide MUSD with a LiveScan background check from the California Department of Justice. Parents provide written permission for children’s involvement in the program and for any local travel connected with program activities.


Each meeting, before the student arrive, mentors meet with the college counselor and program leaders to prepare detailed discussion guides for each session. Sessions focus on different themes at each meeting including on-line practice to improve test scores, learning about colleges and preparing for college visits, learning how to complete financial aid applications, and discussing practice essays designed to improve writing skills. A special SAT preparation program is also provided. Each team must visit four College fairs or campus plus a three all-day campus visit to a major college or university in the Los Angeles area.


The City Council referred CEP to the Education Commission to work together and produce a plan and better coordinate efforts.


The program Creative Education Partners [CEP] was founded by Todd Clark, President of CEP and Emeritus Executive Director of the Constitutional Rights Foundation and Dan Clement, Esq., Senior Resource Fellow, Community Partners, formerly Senior Counsel at the Sempra Law Department.


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