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Little Sister Day
Carla Garcia
Pictures by Carla Garcia

High school is a very difficult time in a young person’s life. Higher academic expectations coupled with hormonal changes and the need to fit in sometimes leads to making choices which negatively affect a person’s future. Drugs, teen pregnancies, or simply feeling overwhelmed causes many high school students to drop out. Luckily, there are many outreach groups which work to keep teenagers in school. One program at Santa Monica College which helps teenage girls look towards the future and continue their education is Little Sister Day.

Little Sister Day was the brain child of myself, Carla Garcia, secretary of the Women’s College Student Association (WCSA) at Santa Monica College. In my opinion, “Little Sister Day is a program that offers high school students a taste of college life without leaving the security of high school. I was inspired by such programs as “Bring your Daughter to Work Day” and “Big Brother/ Big Sister mentoring programs”. The combination of these two programs inspired the creation of Little Sister Day.

Jordan High school was selected because it was my Alma Matter, because I knew people at the school already, and because Jordan has the 2nd highest drop-out and teen pregnancy rate in all of LAUSD. The pregnancy and drop out rate is 48% in all lower income areas where these students live. When these students enter high school the average graduating class is about 300 students and by the time they graduate there are 150 students including those who don’t walk on stage. The rest of the students drop out along the way, some even during 9th and 10th grade.

The students were selected by me, Ms. Britt, Jordan’s college counselor, and by their teachers. The students range from 14 to 18 years old and were from the two main cultures that attend Jordan High School.

On the day of the event, March 11, 2004, students arrived at 9:10 am and they met their sisters, who were selected for their similarities not because of their ethnic backgrounds. Students arrived on a charter bus donated by city Councilwoman Ms. Janice Hahn. Then the girls left for classes until 11:00am. The classes ranged from Art, Women’s History class with Dr. R Manoff, Nutrition 1 with Prof. C Gonzales, along with other classes. After 11:00 am students had lunch and attended a workshop given by the Black Collegians Club (BCC), an associate to the WCSA. In the workshop the focus was on black women and how they are portrayed in the media. The workshop was given by the BCC’s advisor and counselor Ms. Sherri Bradford.

Ms. Janice Hahn City Council Woman
15th district

After lunch the students left with their sisters and attended another class or attended a tour of Santa Monica College, which showcased the areas most useful to them as incoming students, such as the Admissions Office, our beautiful new Library, the Bookstore, and the Counseling Center. After the tour the students returned to The Women’s College (TWC) where the Big Sisters said good bye, traded information with their Little Sisters, and parted ways after they were given packages supplied by the WCSA which included information about the clubs involved that made this program possible. The same package had information about the feminist majority foundation which were nice enough to give us information about their campaign for women’s choice, emergency contraceptive, women’s rights all over the world, ecofeminism, and other programs that they are currently working on.

After that the girls left the TWC and headed towards their bus. I mentioned to one of the girls that we might continue to develop this project and try to bring and offer it once a year during Women’s History Month but try to include boys the next time. I was shocked and satisfied when I heard that a few girls will be attending Santa Monica College next semester. I would like to thank Counsel Women Janice Hahn for her deeply appreciated help. I would also like to thank Ms Sherri Bradshaw and the entire BCC for having us at the workshop, Ms. Maria Martinez and the president of ENLACE for their help recruiting students, Ms. Eileen Rabach and Ms. Ricky Manoff for their help since the beginning of the project, Ms. Christina Preciado for guidance and persistence, and to all the big sisters who helped with the project. I would like to give a special thank you to the principal of Jordan High School, Mr. Counsel, and to the students of Jordan High for their cooperation. And a special thanks to Ms. Britt for helping facilitate this trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 
The Women’s College Magazine at Santa Monica College
Copyright 2003 Santa Monica College