California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    At-Risk Youth Coming to Cal Lu to Get Taste of Higher Ed

    California Lutheran University will be hosting the Bowl For Kids Sake fundraiser on Saturday, March 10. This event is a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County.

    The high school students who are participating in this event will spend the morning at Harley’s Camarillo Bowl, then go to the Cal Lutheran campus for an experience meant to expose them to higher education.

    “Big Brothers Big Sisters usually takes at-risk kids and matches them with somebody who they would be a good mentor with. So whether they are facing financial issues or maybe problems at home, whatever it is, they match you with someone based on your interest,” said Amanda Conrique, a Cal Lutheran senior and employee of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

    The purpose of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to provide youth with one-on-one mentoring and guide them to a brighter future.

    “We coordinate the interview process. So the big expresses their interests, a little expresses an interest, and the parent or guardian expresses an interest, and all have to be in agreement to receive this service. Once matches are accepted, they come together,” said Rene Solem, director of external affairs for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

    Once participants are finished bowling at Harley’s Camarillo Bowl, they will hear from a motivational speaker. The students will then go to Cal Lutheran, where they will be hearing from different departments such as Admissions, Financial Aid, Career Services and multimedia and marketing panels.

    “Bowl For Kids Sake is the only fundraiser for young children in Big Brothers Big Sisters  to participate in, so it’s a big deal for us,” Conrique said.

    After the presentations, students will go on a scavenger hunt where they will be split into groups and be given clues for landmarks around Cal Lutheran.

    “This is the first year that the kids are coming to Cal Lu. The kids will be hearing from a variety of people to get them different exposure because for a lot of them, they will be the first in their family to even graduate high school, so let alone college wasn’t a realistic thing. So we want to give them that possibility and showing them that there are resources out there to help you,” Conrique said.

    According to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County website, 75 percent of the youth who join this organization come from single-parent households. In addition, 55 percent of the littles have been exposed to abuse and 31 percent have had an incarcerated parent.  The website also shows how Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County has impacted the youth in the community in ways such as increasing the number of students graduating from high school, creating better attitudes toward school and making them more likely to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

    “Once they get on campus and have the opportunity to talk to current college students and counselors that opportunity may become a reality,” said Tim Hengst, a multimedia professor at Cal Lutheran.

    Hengst was in charge of getting a panel of students together to speak at this event to inform students about the college experience.

    “We are the nation’s premier mentoring organization and have been serving locally here for 45 years. Our mission is to provide children who are facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one to one mentoring relationships,” Solem said.

    This event aims to provide students a glimpse into the college experience and offer available resources to help them throughout the college process.

    Marissa McCardell