Legal-name: Operation Jump Start
Address: 3515 Linden Ave
City: Long Beach
Organizational-status: 501 (c)(3)
Officer: Irene Quevedo, Executive Director
ContactName: Irene Quevedo
Title: Executive Director
GrantPurpose: To assist our students with emotional, financial and educational challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Periodoftime: Ongoing, emergent need
Audienceserved: Low-Income students attending or graduated from schools in the Long Beach Unified School District and thier families.
Demoofaudience: Low income students, age 13-24. 63% Latino, 22% African American, 8 % Asian, 4% mixed race, 3% Caucasian
District: We have students residing in all 9 districts.
1. What disaster recovery service have already been provided? : Across the country there are concerns that the pause in traditional classroom instruction due to the COVID-19 health crisis will deter the most at-risk scholars from continuing on the path of higher education. We at OJS take this new risk seriously and as a result have risen to the challenge. Within days, all OJS programming quickly adapted to the closure of local schools, universities across the country, and other essential student support hubs such as libraries and college advisement centers. We’ve moved all critical programming to online platforms (online student support classes, one-on-one virtual college advisement meetings, remote tutoring, and more). Most essentially, we’ve matched every one of our scholars with a one-on-one social work professional to ensure their mental health and well-being continue to be monitored and supported during these moments of increased stress, anxiety and in many cases, depression. OJS is truly leaning in to remain fully invested in our scholars’ mental health, academic success, and life-long resiliency.
2. What disaster recovery service will be provided by this grant?: $5000, will support and increase the ongoing mental health outreach. Everyone is impacted by the forced isolation that has come with COVID-19, but teens and young adults are especially dependent upon socialization as a key element of their emotional development. It is critical during this time for them to have access to emotional health services that will allow them to share their feelings without fear of judgement or of adding further stress to their parents and siblings. Funded activities will include, salary support for our hourly social work and program staff, subscribing to virtual platforms that will allow our social work staff to provide support groups and classes to enhance our ability to connect with students and allow them to connect with each other during this difficult time, along with additional professionals to lead online groups in activities to improve emotional health such as yoga and meditation.
$5,000 will support and increase online tutoring and educational case management. Educational experts across the country warn that the homeschooling required as a result of COVID-19 will surely widen the gap between low-income students and middle to higher income peer groups. Underserved youth are struggling with accomplishing complex and difficult classwork with little to no resources or support. Their challenges, such as a lack of educational support and assistance in navigating homeschool assignments or having to assist and help care for younger siblings can create an environment that makes it impossible to keep up with a college or college preparatory class load. Most of the experts say that additional educational support in the form of case management and tutoring will be the dividing line between students that succeed or students that cannot overcome the challenges. Funded activities will include salary support for hired tutors and program staff, the virtual platform mentioned above to allow for small group sessions, one on one instruction and organized virtual classes to ensure OJS scholars do not fall behind.
Finally, $5,000 will provide financial assistance for OJS families who are in danger of food insecurity as a result of school closures and unemployment. More than 85% of OJS youth qualify for free or reduced lunch. For many of our high school students, this is the only meal they can count on during the day. Our college students who have not been able to return home no longer have access to school meal plans and have no additional income to provide meals during this time. Funded activities will include gift cards and care packages for families and students at risk of food insecurity during this time.
3. What organization and or individuals will you assist? Since 1994, OJS has provided the comprehensive resources and mentoring needed to enable youth in underserved communities to reach their full potential through a college education. We believe a college education is the surest way out of poverty. Our organization has an established and successful track record of success in providing access to higher education for low-income students of color – a demographic group significantly underrepresented on four-year college campuses locally, throughout California, and across our nation. OJS serves hundreds of youth annually – all Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) students, ranging from 12 to 23 years old. OJS administers two distinct and comprehensive college access programs: The College Access Program and the College Success Program.
The College Access Program is Operation Jump Start’s flagship program, beginning when a student enters 8th grade and continues through the end of their sophomore year of high school. This involved and extensive 3-year program engages volunteer mentors to provide positive role models actively involved in the community. They offer OJS students the opportunity to participate in a variety of community outreach and extracurricular experiences, leading by example while encouraging civic engagement.
College Success is an OJS program that provides enhanced support to high school upperclassmen and college students. This program, beginning in the 11th grade and following students until they graduate college, ensures academic success as students navigate college admission and eventual attendance. Through College Success, our youth receive educational programming and case management sessions that address the transition to college for students and their parents, college application assistance, scholarships and support navigating the federal financial aid system. Once students gain admission to college the program provides emotional support, financial support and academic guidance until degree attainment.
The students enrolled in OJS are among Long Beach’s most vulnerable and are representative of the educational crisis facing the State of California. Approximately 63% of OJS young people are Latino, mirroring the general demographics of Long Beach. The remaining are Southeast Asian and African American students (similarly representative of the City’s population composition). All the students assisted by OJS come from low-income families that reside in our highest poverty and highest crime communities, 100% qualify for free or reduced lunch. More than 80% qualify as “very low income” according to federal income guidelines. Each of these students is among the first generation in their families to pursue a college education and many are the first in their families to complete high school.
4. What other disaster recovery funds have you received? What amount?: None
5. What other disaster recovery funds have you applied for? : We do not qualify for federal disaster relief funds; however, we are working with our funding partners to identify emergency grants and additional funding sources during this crisis.