Tips & Advice
- 27 February 2013
- by Rudy Sanchez
Oscar Menjivar is the CEO and founder of the leadership program URBAN TxT in Watts and South LA, California. He noticed the pattern of boys in his homecity having lower grades and dropping out at a higher rate, and that this was a continuing trend throughout their school years. Watts is also known for its heavy gang influence on young boys, and Oscar sought a solution for this. With the desire to help his community, and help provide the technology in his community that was not available to him while growing up, Oscar found URBAN TxT. Oscar believes that technology has the power to influences young men into becoming leaders for their community.
His program has already had positive impacts in the lives of the students, as 100% of the seniors in the program have went to schools such as Stanford, UCLA, UC San Diego and 4-year universities all across California. The students in the program also experience immediate results as students who have been failing their math course, have moved up to a B grade.
The program runs both during the school year and the summer. It can be broken down into three components:
- Team Building, Communication Skills, Public Speaking Skills, and Debate Skills
- Students get to meet top entrepreneurs and engineers from companies such as Google, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. From these entrepreneurs, students are assigned mentors.
- Peer-to-Peer mentorship program uses students who have completed the program and uses them as mentors for the current students.
UrbanTXT also takes its students to locations they would have otherwise never thought of going. One such trip was a trip to Google HQ in Mountain View, CA. 15 students had the honor of getting a tour of the headquarters, had the opportunity to talk to developers, and meet executives. Students left the trip inspired to not only pursue a higher education, but determined to make it to Google one day.
The program does more than just cater to those interested in technology. A current group of juniors have an interest in politics, and are utilizing technological skills learned in the program to take their interest further. They are taking advantage of the LA mayoral race by making a website of their own (www.youpolitic.me) and spreading political pieces, as well as interviews from the candidates to their community.