Grecia Frias' 16-year-old mind had no concept of college. But that was two years ago. Today, Grecia is college bound with dreams of becoming a social worker. Unfortunately, Grecia is the exception in the Sacramento Region, not the rule. Four out of five African American, Latino, Southeast Asian, and low-income whites graduate from high school without the necessary coursework to apply to a four-year university. Meanwhile, jobs that require a college degree are on the rise leaving many of our students to low-income jobs.
Closing the Gap is committed to reducing the disparity in achievement by providing resources that focus on helping local students achieve their fullest potential through academic achievement. We see tangible success in students in 8th through 12th grades. Students like Grecia who received one on one counseling from a program funded by Closing the Gap. The counselors not only met with Grecia but came to her home to counsel Grecia's mother on how to make sure her daughter would get into a four-year college. It's the goal of founders of Closing the Gap envisioned in 2008 when they recognized how the achievement gap in their own backyard was eroding the skilled workforce in Sacramento and diminishing the chance of seeing the Sacramento area continue to thrive.
An all-volunteer board was formed to raise money, engage the community and identify programs to provide services to assist students in unlocking their potential. The programs are vetted and must demonstrate commitment and ability to work with other programs so that a network of support is aggregated and delivered. The mission caught the attention of businesses, local law enforcement, the Mayor, and dozens of community leaders who appreciate the critical importance a skilled workforce can make on local economy, and the quality of life of everyone living in the region. More than 90 percent of funds raised by Closing the Gap are distributed to programs. Upwards of 1,200 students are touched each year by programs funded by CTG. These programs offer services such as in-home one-on-one academic counseling, college tours, SAT tutoring, and college and financial aid application assistance. Consistently, students served by CTG programs are going on to earn a four-year degree. Six years after being founded, many students have earned graduate degrees and have come back to support others. In most instances, students say it would not have happened without the support of Closing the Gap and its commitment to make a local impact by funding local programs helping local students.