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LOS ANGELES, May 26, 2023 ~ On Friday, May 26, 2023, the third annual Ready to Succeed (RTS) Graduation Celebration took place at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center in Los Angeles. The event marked a monumental achievement for the new college graduates and the network of champions who helped make it possible. Emmy Award-winning Fox anchor and reporter Christina Pascucci served as emcee, while keynote speaker David Ambroz addressed the crowd. Ambroz is a 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.

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.

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The Change Reaction awarded $2,000 to each graduating Ready to Succeed Scholar at this year's celebration in order to launch them into life after college. The event also honored philanthropists Rosa and Bob Sinnott who were early supporters of RTS; Bob was one of the first to offer an internship placement to an RTS Scholar which went on to help Natalie Catalan secure her now blossoming career in financial services. Catalan is now also the first ever alumni Board Member for RTS as well as VP at Canyon Partners LLC.

Edgar Lopez shared his journey with those present at this year's celebration; he spoke about how his family instilled in him from an early age that education was key for his future success but how he faced many obstacles as a first generation college student. He went on to explain how he found himself facing an uncertain future after tech layoffs during his senior year but was able to turn things around with help from his Ready To Succeed advisor Lucy who introduced him contacts at Target which ultimately led him securing full time employment as data analyst upon graduation.

Romi Lassally Co-Founder and Executive Director of Ready To Succeed summed up her organization's mission saying "Everybody needs a navigator...It's about supporting them in their first mile and addressing all the challenges that are unique to their lived experience."
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