Cision PR Newswire


LOS ANGELES, May 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ - The third annual Ready to Succeed (RTS) Graduation Celebration took place at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center in Los Angeles today, marking a monumental achievement for the new college graduates and the network of champions who helped make it possible. The celebration was emceed by Emmy Award-winning Fox anchor and reporter, Christina Pascucci. She was joined by keynote speaker, David Ambroz, the best-selling author of the memoir A Place Called Home, a two-time Emmy Nominated producer, and a national poverty and child welfare expert and advocate, recognized by President Obama as an American Champion of Change. He is also a former foster youth who is now a foster parent. To launch the organization's graduates into life after college, the Change Reaction awarded $2,000 to each graduating Ready to Succeed Scholar.

Ready to Succeed is a career and personal development nonprofit that empowers foster youth and first-generation college students to graduate, launch successful careers, and reach their full potential. Los Angeles County is home to the nation's largest foster care system, where only 4% of foster youth will graduate from a four-year university and be positioned for career-track jobs. RTS has developed a program– founded on a Fortune 500 CEO training curriculum– to holistically meet the needs of these underrepresented youth. As a result, 90% of RTS Scholars graduate college in 4.5 years, 89% secure strong entry-level jobs in fields they want to work in within six months of graduation, and 95% say they can envision a brighter future for the first time in their lives.

"Everybody needs a navigator. This isn't about helping students pass the finish line. It's about supporting them in their first mile and addressing all the challenges that are unique to their lived experience," says Romi Lassally, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Ready to Succeed. "The building blocks for a successful career and resilient future start with building confidence, helping them own their story, and creating pathways for relationships with people willing to lend their social capital."

This year's signature Graduation Celebration honored philanthropists and early RTS supporters, Rosa and Bob Sinnott. As CEO of Kayne Anderson, Bob was one of the first to offer a paid internship placement to an RTS Scholar– a critical part of RTS' proven success model. That internship went to RTS alumni Scholar Natalie Catalan, helping to solidify her now blossoming career in financial services. Natalie is the first-ever alumni Board Member for RTS and a VP at Canyon Partners, LLC.

Scholars who complete RTS programming have more confidence, tangible experience, and professional networks that provide a solid foundation for their futures. RTS 2023 Graduating Scholar Edgar Lopez shared with the audience his journey and Ready to Succeed's role in his success.

"Neither of my parents finished high school but my family instilled in me the value that education is the key to a better future. In ninth grade, during a bus ride home, my best friend and I made a pact to pursue our dreams at UC Berkeley. It wasn't easy though, as a first-generation college student, I faced a lot of obstacles and felt pressure," Lopez said. "When that letter finally arrived, my mom and I shed tears of joy. After falling in love with coding in 2020, the fall of 2022 brought an unprecedented wave of tech layoffs, and I found myself facing a daunting reality: no job, no plan, nowhere to go after graduation, and a sense of hopelessness. It was during this low point that I turned to my Ready to Succeed career advisor for support, and I'm glad I did." Lopez went on to share: "My RTS advisor, Lucy, introduced me to contacts at Target, and I'm happy to say that I was just offered and accepted a job as a full-time data analyst upon graduation."


Ready to Succeed (RTS) is a career and personal development nonprofit that empowers foster and first-generation college students to graduate college, launch successful careers and reach  their full potential. Pat McCabe and Romi Lassally founded Ready to Succeed in 2016 after they observed that foster youth faced some of the worst outcomes among their peers with extremely low college graduation rates and high rates of unemployment, housing insecurity, and criminal convictions. Propelled by the belief that young people can thrive with the right resources, relationships, and opportunities, RTS has grown to serve nearly 400 Scholars and alumni. To date, RTS participants have achieved record-breaking outcomes with more than 90% graduating college in 4.5 years and 89% securing strong entry-level jobs within six months of graduation.

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