The University of California and Boys & Girls Clubs of America today (Sept. 28) launched a partnership to prepare young Californians for college success.

Beginning with three pilot projects in Pasadena, San Francisco and Merced, the University of California’s goal is to reach more than 6,000 Boys & Girls Club members with information and guidance that will help them apply to and enroll at UC. Boys & Girls Clubs of America shares that goal while also seeking to provide services that will increase its teen membership.

The pilot programs will pair clubs with UC Early Academic Outreach Programs (EAOP) at three UC campuses: the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena with UCLA, the San Francisco club with UC San Francisco and the Merced club with UC Merced. UC will provide college and career information as well as support and resources to club members, and clubs will offer current EAOP students access to club facilities and leadership opportunities.

The partnership is part of an Achieve UC initiative expanded by UC President Janet Napolitano two years ago to increase enrollment of Californians and enrich the diversity of undergraduates.

California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León joined UC Board of Regents Chair Monica Lozano and Boys & Girls Clubs of America leaders in announcing the strategic partnership.

"Higher education is a passport to opportunity," de León said. "California will continue to make investments to ensure all children, regardless of their zip code, have access to college — the future of our economy depends on it. I applaud the University of California and the Boys & Girls Clubs for partnering to help in this effort."

Lozano thanked de León for his leadership of successful legislative efforts to secure funding to help students from underresourced schools prepare for college and noted that UC is on track to enroll far more than the target of 5,000 additional California undergraduates set by President Napolitano last year.

“This is our largest entering class of Californians, the most diverse ever, and one of our most accomplished academically,” Lozano said. “We’re encouraged by the outcomes of our efforts this year, but there’s much more work to be done. Our collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America will make it possible for more youngsters to get the information and guidance that will prepare them for a UC education.”

Dr. Damon Williams, senior vice president of program, training and youth development services for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, said: “This partnership reinforces Boys & Girls Clubs’ ongoing commitment to America’s teens, the next generation of leaders, by providing relevant programming that meets their needs and helps them build necessary leadership skills. Through our Higher Education Access and Scholarship Taskforce, we are thankful to work with the UC system to diversify and expand the pipeline of Centennial Generation youth — those young people born in the mid- to late '90s — pursuing higher education.”

Vice Provost Yvette Gullatt, the system’s chief outreach officer, said 10 campuses will provide club members and their families with college and career readiness information, support and resources, and host activities where they can meet students and faculty, visit classrooms and labs, eat at dining halls, and have questions answered about admissions, financial aid, enrollment and campus life.

“We’ll offer Club staff and board members training and professional development on California’s systems of higher education, college admissions and financial aid," Gullatt said. "In turn, Club staff and board members will help us fulfill our key role as a public research university: They’ll help us determine what works in community-university partnerships to support readiness and access for young people. This partnership enables us to advance our efforts toward greater equity, access and opportunity."