Compiling the Evidence: Wherefore Art Thou Counselors?

WELA YMCA Youth Institute, is part of the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) initiative funded by The California Endowment.Youth are exploring and investigating how the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) can empower and improve their local school communities.

The community cause our team took on is to improve the counselor to students ratio in schools. This needs to be improved because our counselor is overwhelmed with the total number of students and can't provide the individual attention every student needs to prepare for their future.

Our team selected this cause because we noticed a need for school counselors at our school, Roosevelt High School. Through our investigation we learned that proper counseling is not available to all students who attend big schools and even small schools.

We interviewed Vrisa Dominguez, program director of Upward Bound Boyle Heights, to learn about how her program provides counseling to their students. Vrisa confirmed that big schools don't have enough counselors and unlike Upward Bound, "high school counseling offices have many more students."

Upward Bound is an example of a program that is structured to help students prepare and apply to college, by providing one on one counseling. Vrisa said, "we have a total of 64 students and we have about 3-5 staff that work with all of these students. We are literally able to walk the students step-by-step through the whole college application process. We not only follow them, we check in with their parents too. We review the students' grades and make sure they are taking the correct classes for graduation and college." The Upward Bound program helps students with more personal counseling.

Vrisa said that students must advocate for themselves and demand more counselors to help them navigate through high school and prepare for college. We are doing this with the support of the YMCA in Boyle Heights. The YMCA Youth Institute encourages us to stand for what we believe in.

My team plans to encourage community involvement by bringing more attention to this problem and starting a revolution in school counseling.

Skaters4Justice prepare their field plan for their community cause, highlighting the need for more high school counselors.


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