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Mt. San Antonio College Provides Fresh Start To Former Foster Youth (And Other Headlines)

A young woman with long dark hair sits in a garden surrounded by blue ribbons.
Dani Lima is the Student Services Support Specialist in the REACH program at Mt. SAC, and a REACH alumni.
(Jackie Orchard
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In Los Angeles County, more than 17,000 children currently reside in homes not with their biological parents. They are in foster care, group homes or living with relatives. Nationwide, that number is around 435,000. Many of these children and teenagers are cycled within the foster care system, moving from home to home. Trying to get an education, much less graduate and go off to college, can be a challenge.

REACH Program Gives Stability For College Students Formerly In Foster Care

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One L.A. community college has a program that helps young people transition out of the foster care system. The goal is to support former foster youth to achieve success in college and beyond. It’s called REACH — Reaching, Empowering, Achieving & Completing with Heart — and it currently serves about 300 students.

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My colleague Jackie Orchard spoke with students who are a part of this program at Mt. San Antonio College about what this program has done for them. These students get wrap-around support through mentoring, specialized counselors, life skills classes and a whole lot more.

Dani Lima is a graduate of the program and now works for it as student services support specialist.

“I never had anybody to be interested in what was happening with me or even cared where I was at or if I was safe,” Lima said. “I didn't have anybody else asking me that kind of stuff or inviting me to things for the holidays. But REACH always did."

Read Jackie’s story to learn more about former foster care youth like Lima, who have been helped by Mt. Sac’s REACH program. Check it out here.

There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • Health care workers in the L.A. County jail systems rallied in front of Men’s Central Jail citing harsh conditions for people who are incarcerated there. Nurses, psychologists and others are asking that a federal judge to tour the facility.
  • Families of Black and disabled students are suing the Antelope Valley Union High School District because of disproportionate disciplinary actions compared to white children and those without disabilities. My colleague Mariana Dale has more details.
  • We could see a record number of summer travelers starting this weekend. NPR’s David Schaper has all you need to know for the months ahead. My colleagues Gillian Morán Pérez and Jessica P. Ogilvie also have information about Memorial Day weekend travel at LAX. 
  • The Pasadena Playhouse will receive the 2023 Regional Theatre Tony Award along with a $25,000 grant. In 2010, the theater nearly shut down due to financial issues. 
  • A new report finds that California State University, the largest public four-year college system in the U.S., is not making enough money to sustain itself. There's a nearly $1.5 billion funding gap that some fear could lead to tuition hikes.
  • You've probably heard we are headed into an El Niño year in terms of our weather. Well, it's looking like it might be a strong one. Here's what that means.
  • California’s primary care providers and others could be getting a pay boost from Medi-Cal soon. It could impact patients’ access to care and how many patients providers are able to see. 
  • The state of California wants to store floodwaters underground. So does farmer Dino Giacomazzi. But due to red tape, water rights and over-pumping, it may be a challenge. 
  • A new California bill that could address the post traumatic stress firefighters face on the job is on its way to the state assembly. CalMatters’ Julie Cart reported on how this bill could impact workers’ compensation for first responders impacted by PTSD. 
  • Looking for some Memorial Day Weekend FUN? We got you. Check out the Topanga Days Country Fair this weekend for music, food and a parade in the Santa Monica Mountains. If you’re in the beach spirit, attend Fiesta Hermosa on the Pier Plaza. If you’re an RnB fan of the 2000s-era, you have to attend the I LOVE RNB FESTIVAL with Ashanti, Ja Rule and Keyshia Cole at the Queen Mary Festival Park on Saturday. 
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait! One More Thing...

Breaking Bread Inside L.A. Supper Clubs

A group of people sit at a long rectangular table. They're eating while talking animatedly to each other. The table is filled with glasses, plates, and a centerpiece. A woman at the front wears a black tank top; a man next to her wears a red sweater.
Asi Asi Supper Club
(Nikki Nixon
Courtesy Asi Asi Supper Club )
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Back when I was a kid, my family and I would have sit-down family dinners every Sunday. We would all gather around a huge dining room table, eat and chat about our lives in communion with each other. A lot of things have changed over the years with my family dynamic — deaths, graduations and other new beginnings have impacted those Sunday dinners.

I am sure many of you can relate. Many of you reading this newsletter have probably moved away from your families, and your mama's homecooked meals, to the sprawling, big city.

Moving during the pandemic surely didn’t make it easier to be far away from home. But one fascinating concept has emerged in L.A. because of it: supper clubs.

Lina Abascal wrote about four supper clubs where you get to actually sit down, eat a meal with people who may also be new to L.A. She got to explore these lockdown-bred supper clubs to see what they’re all about.

At the Asi Asi Project Supper Club in Boyle Heights, they have themed meals which also include speakers, performances and conversations with experts. They’ve had 21 dinner parties since starting in January. Here’s what the founder Sana Keefer had to say:

“I think post-pandemic, some of us want more connectivity than what many traditional restaurants aim to offer. Our goal is to be a platform for emerging talent, an incubator for new ideas and new collaborations.”

Read about all of these exciting, appetizing supper clubs in Abascal’s story.

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