UPHigh (Uniting Potential with Experience for Higher Learning) is a one-of-a-kind mentoring program that offers the chance for a mentor to support and guide a group of youth through four years of college.  We are looking for dedicated individuals who feel inspired to give this gift of unfathomable value to a student who is the first in her/his family to attend college.



  • It is estimated that only half of African American and Latino ninth graders graduate from high school, compared to 79% of Asian Americans and 72% of Whites (Civil Rights Project, 2005).
  • While there has been an increase in first-generation college students, these students are still less likely to persist and graduate from college (Choy; Nunez & Cuccaro-Alamin, 1998).
  • It is estimated that first-generation students have a 71% higher rate of attrition that occurs within the first and second year compared to second-generation students (Ishitani, 2003).
  • According to the U.S. Department of Education report, first generation students have family and background characteristics that are associated with risk of attrition, where more are likely to be from low-income families, have lower achievement, and have lower overall degree aspirations.

While we realize that we may not be able to address every reason that contributes to the high minority college attrition rate, we have decided to focus on two of the most damaging obstacles: financial need, and college guidance.

This is precisely where a MENTOR comes in. The mentor component is critical to help low-income, first generation students find their “footing” within these great institutions of higher learning. We estimate that a new college student in today’s world faces the following challenges or would need help in the following areas:

  • Study habits
  • Survival skills in college
  • Test taking strategies
  • Financial aid and scholarships
  • Money management
  • Career Exploration and career world information
  • Managing the expectations of college
  • Bolstering self-confidence
  • Seeking out and utilizing college resources
  • Stress management
  • Leading a balanced life considering work, school, and other demands
  • Time management
  • Conflict management
  • Maximizing relationships with professors
  • Resisting negative peer culture and peers involved in heavy alcohol consumption and other drugs
  • Searching for a job
  • Writing a resume and cover letter
  • Handling the challenges of being a first generation college student
  • Lack of knowledgeable support system
  • Inexperience navigating new social and cultural experiences and expectations

The UPHigh program will engage 13 first generation youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in a group mentoring program with a focus on college persistence. In the group setting which will convene quarterly, we will focus on topics and share experience within the college persistence and career readiness frameworks most relevant to first generation youth to provide knowledge, experience and support that will ultimately help these youth stay enrolled and complete college.


  • Must have a strong commitment to helping and working with youth
  • Enthusiastic, approachable, open, sincere, friendly character
  • This is a volunteer position
  • Must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Must be willing to attend an UPHigh mentor training followed by an initial group session
  • Attend quarterly group mentoring sessions occurring in the evening on a weekday
  • Available by phone or email for mentee to contact if needed
  • Participate in online discussions between group sessions


  • Chance to make a meaningful impact in a new college student’s life that goes beyond monetary support
  • Opportunity to support a group of youth in matriculating through college
  • Become a part of Marcus Foster Education Fund’s network of people dedicated to the idea that it takes a community to foster educational success
  • Relaxed group mentoring atmosphere
  • Flexibility in mentor-mentee relationship: Mentor and mentee may schedule in-person meetings if desired periodically, or may maintain a phone/email based relationship outside of the group mentoring setting if desired


To apply please fill out the interest form below.  You mail also call us at 510-777-1600 for more information.


Street Address



What year did you earn your bachelor's degree?

From what college did you earn your bachelor's degree?

Who is your current employer?


Please tell us why you are interested in mentoring youth in a group format?

Do you have any experience as a mentor? If so please briefly describe your experience.

Any other experience with college-aged youth you would like us to know?

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