Now a sophomore at UCLA majoring in Psychology, Esther Sosa was immersed in the YBA curriculum as a senior at USC Hybrid High School in South Los Angeles. Presented with a choice of doing research, being a teacher’s assistant or taking the YBA course, Esther knew the YBA class was the right choice as she was excited to learn more about a variety of careers and have direct contact with professionals.

“My favorite part of the YBA class was that every week we had a guest speaker who spoke about their career. As seniors, we felt a lot of pressure as we were about to go to college and had to figure out what to study and pick as a profession. YBA gave all of us an opportunity to learn more about a variety of career paths to help make these choices a little easier.”

The YBA guest speakers taught Esther and her classmates about practical information ranging from how to do your taxes, to an introduction to the stock market. “We used a stock trading app to help us practice trading pretend stocks just for fun. The YBA speaker turned it into a contest to see who could invest more effectively to raise the most money by a pre-set deadline and the winner earned a prize. It was great!”

One important lesson Esther learned during her YBA course was about the importance of networking with new people, even as a student. She learned that you must get out of your comfort zone, go and introduce yourself, and ask for their contact information so you can follow-up. “I learned that first impressions matter and you need to act like you’re confident, even if you’re scared. I’d tell all high schoolers – don’t be shy, reach out and start making connections now!”

YBA now chooses 10 students each year to receive a four-year renewable scholarship of $500 per year. YBA is investing $15,000 in scholarships in 2022 to fuel our program graduates on their journey to career success and a brighter future through a college education.

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