May 12, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs at California State University, Bakersfield, or GEAR UP as it is known, is sponsoring and hosting two events for middle-school children Saturday, May 15.

“Brother to Brother” will take place at Myrtle Avenue School in Lamont for boys, and “Sister to Sister” at Arvin High School for girls, said Troy Diaz, GEAR UP special programs coordinator. The two events will run concurrently from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will feature a morning opening session, after which students will attend three workshops, which will touch on a host of issues relevant to middle school students. At noon, lunch will be served, and the remainder of the afternoon will be spent in elective activity sessions, with a closing session at 2:50 p.m.

The two events are being offered cooperatively with Bear Mountain Parks and Recreation Department, Kern High School District, Arvin Union School District, Vineland School District, Lamont School District, Di Giorgio School District, Arvin Family Resource Center, Clinica Sierra Vista, and the CSUB CAMP program

Diaz said GEAR UP, a federally funded program designed to establish a college-going culture in high-poverty areas, specifically targets middle-schools students. “We want to make students and their parents aware of college options and possibilities,” Diaz said. “We offer all sorts of support services, such as tutoring and mentoring.

“We’ve targeted three schools in the Lamont and Arvin area, and those are feeder schools for Arvin High School. We’re going to be following this year’s cohort of seventh and eighth grade students for five to six years. We also work with parents because parent involvement has been proven to be extremely important to student success.

GEAR UP also offers $600,000 worth of scholarships to students who graduate from high school and are accepted into four-year universities to continue their higher education, Diaz said.

For more information about CSUB’s GEAR UP, please call Diana Tolmachoff at 665-6157.