+ How Operation Jump Start is helping kids get into college
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Hi, I'm Tess Kazenoff from the Long Beach Post. I love Long Beach and I’m betting you do too.

Welcome to Doing Good in the LBC, a weekly newsletter where we’ll share how you can volunteer or give in our city. We’ll also share the latest goings-on of nonprofit organizations in Long Beach.
Operation Jump Start students participate in Justin Rudd’s monthly beach clean-up in September, 2021. Operation Jump Start emphasizes community service for its students. Photo courtesy of Operation Jump Start.
Non-profit news: How Operation Jump Start is helping first generation students get to college

The college admissions process can be daunting for anyone, but for first generation students, it can be even more overwhelming and complex. Between applying to schools (plus the fees that come with that), figuring out financial aid and scholarships, taking the SATs and ACTs, and balancing responsibilities with family, school and possibly work, Operation Jump Start helps steer first generation students through the college path.

For the past 27 years, Operation Jump Start has served low-income, high achieving, first generation youth, to meet their goals of getting into and then staying in college. The organization provides academic assistance such as tutors, mentorship, and counseling along with scholarships and mental health resources to approximately 250 to 350 students annually, with the hope of getting that number even higher in the next few years.

There are two programs students can participate in: Operation Jump Start’s original program, College Access, that starts in eighth grade and guides students through the college process, and its later addition, College Success, that helps college students graduate with a degree.

According to community outreach supervisor Rebecca Ridge, low income students are significantly underrepresented on four-year college campuses both in California and across the nation, with first generation students experiencing even more challenges with the college process.

“I’m a first generation student myself, and my family did not know what to do,” said Ridge, who when it came time to apply for college, was unaware of all the tests involved and the extent of application fees. “So part of why we do what we do is we want to give our students the possibilities to do the framework.”

Ultimately, the nonprofit seeks to empower students to reach the future they are capable of, while giving them the tools and resources to do so.

“We’re here to not only offer that support, but let our students know that they can go to college,” said Ridge. “Some students, depending on their circumstances, or their experience with the college education system can write themselves off before they’ve even given themselves a chance to acknowledge that they are college potential. They don’t just have the potential to go to college, they can make it happen with their hard work.”

Students interested in participating can apply here. Operation Jump Start also accepts mentors on a rolling basis.
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Share a place to volunteer, a way to give or how you're doing good in Long Beach and we may include it in our weekly newsletter. Fill out this Google Form to submit.
Places to volunteer in Long Beach
  • Step Up Tutoring is looking for volunteers for a minimum of 12 weeks to dedicate two hours a week to tutor and mentor a student in third to sixth grade over Zoom. No experience is necessary—the nonprofit will provide all training and resources. Fill out an application here.

  • Get involved with the Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach. There are all kinds of opportunities available varying from tutoring, coaching, and community events. Get more info and apply here.

  • Assist veterans and their families with the Long Beach Public Library by connecting them to resources for a minimum of one two-hour shift per week for at least three to six months minimum. If interested, please contact the Volunteer Services Librarian at 562-570-7500 or Volunteer application forms are also available here.
Ways to give in Long Beach
  • Miller’s Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach is in need of items to support their patients and families. Resources are used throughout the year in the hospital’s numerous playrooms and patient rooms, as well as to reward children for completing a procedure or to celebrate a birthday or holiday. Send an item directly to the hospital from the online wish list. Monetary donations can also be made here. For any questions, contact the Child Life Program at 562-933-8060 or Rita Goshert at 562-933-8029 or

  • Earthlodge Center for Transformation brings Southern Black and African Indigenous practices to Long Beach community members, working to heal mental health through nature. Contribute to the December fundraiser here.

  • Help the Long Beach Fire Department spread some holiday cheer by contributing to the Spark of Joy Toy Drive. Monetary and toy donations are being accepted now through Dec. 24. Unwrapped toy donations may be dropped off outside all LBFD fire stations. Please wear your mask when dropping off toys.

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