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40 Montecito Magazine Fall 2018–Winter 2019 beyond the books, beyond the education.” Leslie is working on applying to transfer to either Cal State Long Beach or Cal State East Bay to continue her studies in sociology. “And once I get my BA, I want to go straight into a master’s program,” she says. Her ultimate goal? “I hope to start my own nonprofit for at-risk youth or formerly incarcerated people.” An equally impressive student from the program is Alicia Amado (left), an SBCC and Dos Pueblos High alumna who is just starting her first semester at Cal State Northridge. Alicia knew she wanted to be an athletic trainer from the start, so she mapped out her SBCC courses with all the prerequisites at the schools she might want to transfer into in mind. “I completed ninety units in two years,” she says. “Taking a cool thirteen and a half units at Northridge, it’s odd,” she jokes. While some students are super-focused and motivated like Leslie and Alicia, they both feel the SBCC Promise can work for anyone. “I tell people to utilize it even if you don’t know what you want to do,” Alicia explains. “Taking courses will help you figure it out.” She tells the tale of a good friend who didn’t have her career goals set. “Going to college helped her figure out what she wanted to do. And without the Promise she wouldn’t have been able to go at all.” Both also see the program as much more than financial relief—they view it as community. “Every semester you had to go see a counselor,” Alicia points out, “and that creates a unity.” Leslie explains, “There’s not a perfect student or a perfect fit to go to college. But college is for everyone.” u The SBCC Promise relies on privately raised funds • Discover how you can help at www.sbccpromise.org didn’t see myself going to college before the SBCC Promise ,” says Leslie Marin (above, right), a Santa Barbara High School graduate who is currently in her last semester. “Without it I wouldn’t have been able to have all these opportunities.” Leslie admits that the deficits of being a first-generation college student aren’t just about the financial strain of higher ed. “They helped me find the advocate within myself,” she points out. “What they have taught me is to get ready for what comes after the college experience. They have helped get me ready for life “I Over 2,000 Students Share the SBCC Promise With the SBCC Promise , the Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Foundation is well on its way to making community college accessible to all local students. Since it began in 2016, more than 2,000 students have participated in the Promise, which provides any area student who completes their secondary education and/or lives within the Santa Barbara Community College District with the opportunity to attend SBCC full-time for two years free of charge. By George Yatchisin