Women and Youth Supporting Each Other held Future Options Day on Saturday, an annual event meant to educate local middle school students about planning for high school, college and the future.
Approximately 50 eighth-grade students came for the event, which included a presentation from nonprofit organization Helping Young People Excel as well as a Q&A session with past participants of the program who are current high school sophomores.
HYPE provides talented low-income students in Los Angeles with services to help students gain admission to universities, finance their education and succeed in high school and life in general.
The eighth-grade girls come from Los Angeles Academy Middle School, Clinton Middle School, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy and George Washington Carver Middle School, all situated within a five-mile radius from campus.
The event focused on informing and preparing students to succeed in high school, college and their future lives. HYPE speaker Rachel Torrey handed out a sheet that asked the young women questions about their dream job, the college major they needed for that job and companies in Los Angeles related to the field.
WYSE is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization at 11 universities across the country. USC’s branch, the largest of any other university, won the Tommy Award for Best Service Organization last year and currently is expanding to include more mentors.
Other past WYSE events included trips around Los Angeles in which mentors and mentees had the opportunity to discuss topics ranging from mental health to birth control and pregnancy.
“We give them unbiased information about anything that impacts their life as a woman in South L.A,” said WYSE executive director Lauren Estrada. “It’s more of an empowerment and confidence booster for them and helps them stay on a good path. With more information, they empower themselves.”
Another part of the day featured two games and an activity to illustrate where the girls see themselves in the future.
Future events include a trip to the California Science Center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor and an IMAX movie on March 8.
“We’re getting them out of their neighborhoods to see the rest of L.A.,” said USC WYSE Outreach Director Tiffany Kuan.