The San Mateo Youth Foundation at Berkeley (SMYFB) was created with the goal of providing a safe, comfortable space for newly-accepted, first generation college students who have “graduated” from the foundation. The San Mateo Youth Foundation at Berkeley understands the challenges and struggles that first-generation college students face. Through this officially-established campus organization, any student–regardless if whether or not they are part of SMYF–are welcome to share their stories and struggles and receive helpful advice and guidance from students in their position.
The SMYFB has become an active extension of the foundation itself. Members of this campus organization plan and execute field-trips to UC Berkeley. In the past, an entire over-stay weekend trip was planned in partnership with the Goldman School of Public Policy. While many students from underprivileged communities believe college is only for those who pursue a career in law or medicine, the SMYFB hoped to extend the scope of our students in terms of careers. Our students met current Public Policy graduate students of color, had one-on-one conversations and enjoyed a lunch together. After the Goldman segment, students took a tour of the UC Berkeley campus by Cal Alumni and current students. In addition, there was an intimate student questionnaire panel between Cal Alumni and students with our current SMYF students. Questions asked ranged from “how do you pay for college?” to “what is a major?”
In our communities, higher education is seen as scary and overbearingly difficult. Part of the goals of SMYFB is to expose the college life to our high school students as early as possible to get students excited about higher education.