Project Launch is a semester-long program that provides the skills for ambitious, under-resourced high school students in downtown Los Angeles to succeed in today's rapidly growing technology sector. We do this through coding, design, and marketing workshops, mentorship, and access to events. Events include tours of tech companies, Q&As; with industry experts, career fairs, and pitch competitions.
Project Launch is an effort created by the University of Southern California's student-run hub of entrepreneurship, Spark SC. We work closely with students at Hybrid High School, located in South L.A. Most of the students from Hybrid High come from underprivileged communities and low-income families (85% of Hybrid's 2016 graduating class qualified for free or reduced-price lunch). However, regardless of their economic and social background, every student who has graduated from Hybrid High has been accepted to a four-year college or university, and 81% of them are first-generation college students.
With Project Launch, we will provide these students with the same opportunities and resources (role models, co-curricular and networking opportunities, and persistent access to technology) that many of their peers in college will have had.
Through a 14-week, semester-long program we will provide 12 students with:
- A mentor who is an expert in his/her field (e.g. computer science, business, electrical engineering, design, etc.);
- Access to workshops (once every three weeks) to work on developing a business idea;
- Access to a curated list of events and experiences in Los Angeles, such as pitch competitions, company tours, and career fairs.
At the end of the program these students will showcase their work to their peers, USC students, and industry supporters.
- To inspire these students by exposing them to entrepreneurship and unleashing the creative businesswoman/businessman and engineer in all of them.
- To equip them with the skills and mindsets that will make them more effective leaders in the industries they pursue.
We selected 12 students out of 27 applications; 11 of which are girls. We heard about all kinds of stories and interests from our applications:
“A non-academic problem I face is...I have to deal with battling parent and switching in two homes most of the time...A solution that can be good for me and other kids is an app that brings us kids dealing with this problem together and bring positivity.
“Another concept that fascinates me is the nervous system, especially the autonomic nervous system. How the sympathetic NS is triggers their "fight or flight" response and the parasympathetic calms the body down which is more known as ‘ rest and digest’".”
We will use the gifts we receive for the following:
- Computers - So that our students can have something they can use during the program (and beyond).
- Scholarships - For three students who excel in the program we want to offer a small scholarship to be used for educational expenses/necessities.
- Logistics - Transportation costs for the students to travel to the USC campus, career fairs, company visits, etc.
- Marketing - Provide students with USC t-shirts, stickers, and other SparkSC items, which will help to promote our program and show our student they are part of our team.
While we (Spark SC) are proud of the work we have done with Hybrid High School in the past. Project Launch is our first step towards making a deep impact on our community through sustained engagement and lasting relationships. We feel that we have a responsibility to share the opportunities we have had with our surrounding, under-resourced communities.
Every donation will make an impact on the future of these talented and bright students. Even a gift of $10.00 will go a long way towards paying for a student's lunch at an event or help to pay a student’s transportation between USC and Hybrid High for the semester.
Every gift will make a difference and we appreciate all the support we get! We hope you're as inspired as we are by the students we are trying to help.
Thank you for your support! FIGHT ON!
For individuals and corporations interested in donating $500.00 or more, we encourage you to check out the Spark SC Sponsorship Page on our website and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.