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Guardian Scholars Program

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We aim to empower all current and former foster youth at LACC

Ms. Deborah Franza, one of our recent graduates, displaying a sign that reads #FutureAnteater, in reference to UC Irvine's mascot

The Guardian Scholars program is proud to empower all the current and former foster youth who attend our campus with a desire to defy the statistics.

While we believe in every individual's ability to make their dreams come true, we also know that nobody achieves success alone.

"Thank you to everyone who has supported me, patiently believed in me, stood by my side, or was brave enough to learn with me."
-Deborah, G.S. alumnus









Why We Serve Our Youth

The recent studies show that foster youth:

  • typically indicate they want to go to college
  • have lower rates of college enrollment and completion
  • foster youth who enroll in college are confident and optimistic about it!
  • are more likely to stay in post-secondary programs with support like tutoring and mentoring
  • are often held back by financial difficulties, underemployment, and housing problems
  • benefit more than the general population from increased levels of education!
A collage of 7 LACC Guardian Scholars graduates

Our Program's Work

We are honored to bridge the gap between our youths' aspirations and their triumph over adversity!

All it takes is providing them with the resources and services that will help them unlock their true potential. And that is our mission!

Please peruse the rest of our site for more details on how we empower students, like the graduates above, to reach their goals!

 Live Chat With This Department

Video chat with Guardian Scholars & NextUp on Cranium Cafe

Mission Statement

The LACC Guardian Scholars Program (GSP) serves students who are current, former, or emancipated foster youth who are pursuing a path within higher education. GSP’s mission is to provide academic and personal guidance to help empower students on their educational journeys to earning a Career Technical Certificate, Associate’s Degree, and/or transfer to a university.


[Lee] Well, music has always been a part of my life, since I was a kid. In church I was singing in choir. My name is Rayvonn Anthony Lee. I usually go by R. Anthony Lee. It was what I sign all of my compositions with. I’m a composer…uhh…senior transfer student at UCLA.

[Narrator]: At 26, Rayvon Anthony lee is older than most of his undergraduate classmates at UCLA. His journey to this top tier school has been a long one.

[Lee]: I come from a really abusive household growing up. It wasn’t until I was about fifteen or sixteen, I ended up in foster youth.

[Narrator]: As few as 6 percent of former foster youth, like Mr. Lee, earn a degree by the time they are 24. A relatively new program called guardian scholars is trying to change that statistic. By guiding former foter youth through the maze of college education in California.

[Lee]: Most people here have, you know their parents, or some love one, someone who can really cater to them and help them out, where I kinda felt sometimes like I was really alone and isolated.

[Narrator]: The programs are tutoring housing assistance, financial aid, and host regular meetings for students.

[Montero]: This was a population that was essentially invisible to us. It became quite clear that we needed to know about them, learn about them and provide them with what they needed.

[Narrator]: Janina Montero vice chancellor of affairs at UCLA helped to start the program.

[Montero]: If a former foster youth, or foster youth is able to get into UCLA, that child, that young man or woman, has already done extraordinary things.

[Narrator]: But the odds foster youth face are daunting.

[Lee]: My mom and my dad were both really into drugs. And I think their drug of choice was crack cocaine.

[Narrator]: Mr. Lee’s parents divorced and he was later removed from his mother’s care.

[Lee]: I was taken in by my aunt. Who took me in as her foster child. I stayed with her until about seventeen and a half, when I started taking care of myself.

[narrator] After dropping out of high school, Mr Lee earned a GED.

[Lee]: I kinda new that I wanted to write music. I kinda knew I wanted to something with music. There was no direct goal yet, and that when I ran into guardian scholars, which was probably my saving grace.

[Narrator]: Now dozen of institutions around the countries have similar outreach. The office at Los Angeles City college serves hundreds of former foster youth, like Shamir Moorer.

[Moorer]: Starting at 2 years old, I believe, I was taken away from my mother.

[Narrator]: Miss Moore estimates that she lived in more than a dozen different home until the age of 21.

[Moorer]: I was definitely a challenge, when it comes down to you not knowing whats going on, kinda thing. I was kinda forced to create a whole different kind of lifestyle in this time.

[Narrator]: Miss Moorer, a single mother, has struggled to get through college, but has found support among her peers.

[Moorer]: We’ve all been in same situations, or similar situations and we all kinda know where we come from. You know, you have what you’ve always wanted. Just a family. I guess it’s kind of a family. Well my idea of what a family is.

[Narrator] It’s a family she hopes to make proud.

[Moorer]: For me, a degree would be an accomplishment, it would be apath that I’ve paving for, not only my son, but for other people. You know, it’s like “okay, whatever challenges that there are. Don’t stop.”

[Narrator] Mr Lee, who is on track to graduate this year, has recently been excepted into an internship with film composer Hans Zimmer.

[Lee]: I can’t wait. I am actually really excited for it. You get to see behind the scenes in Hollywood, and get to see how they do things.

[Narrator] Right now, he’s hard at work on his own compositions.

[Lee] The nature of my piece is to just express me, as much as I can. So hopefully by the time I graduate, and get my degree, I’ll be able to write much more music. Make a career out of it.