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La Vida, Inc.

  • La Vida, Inc.
  • 29 Green St.
  • Lynn, MA 01902

Program Description

Our Mission

Equipping low income, high-achieving Lynn students with resources and preparation needed to enter great colleges, and awarding parents who save with matched funds and the training necessary to make informed decisions regarding their child's higher education.

We offer parents - Incentives to save through a matched savings plan, monthly meetings to keep them informed.

We offer students - College test preparation, guidance through the scholarship process, multiple campus visits, individualized college advising.

Our Goal - To increase the likelihood of our participants entering selective colleges and universities.

Our History

La Vida Inc. began in 1996; charged with the mission to provide spiritual, moral and educational support the Latino immigrant community of Lynn, MA. Initially, programs were focused on teaching English and providing guidance through the citizenship process for adults. In 2002, a program was introduced to help Latino middle school and high school students with their homework after school.

In 2007, another program was started by La Vida board President Bob Hildreth that offered guidance to Lynn's Latino honor students and their families, and gave them the tools and skills needed to make it to university. This program - La Vida Scholars - is the sole program run by La Vida, Inc. today.

In 2010 the first La Vida Scholars class graduated with great success. 12 of the original 15 students completed the program. 8 students entered top tier colleges including Bowdoin, Notre Dame, Bryn Mawr, Boston College and Boston University. Others enrolled in excellent 4-year institutions. In total, this class received over $333,000 in college grants, and $89,000 in outside scholarships. Visit our "Successes" page for further details about each LVS Class result. For details about individual students, see our "Graduates" page.

Our Values

La Vida Scholars places a huge emphasis on family. This is what separates us from other college-preparatory programs in the area. Parents play a vital role in the college entrance process and they must help their children save for college and participate in monthly meetings in order to be in the program.

The families that we work with are very similar at their core:

  • Yearly family income under $50,000
  • Families have little or no experience with the college process

La Vida Scholars recruits students who are in their freshman year of high school with a GPA of 3.0 or above to apply for the program. We seek out high-achieving students for several reasons. It is a well-documented fact that high-achieving, low-income students are not connecting with colleges which best reflects their level of achievement and abilities. La Vida seeks to become the bridge between selective colleges and academically worthy yet underserved young people. We are looking for students who are already motivated to go to great schools. These are students who are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to groom themselves to be the kind of candidates that selective colleges are looking for. La Vida acts as the matchmaker between student and college.

This is the reason that the application admission process into La Vida Scholars is also so rigorous. At the end of their freshman year of high school, rising sophomores who are interested in being a part of our program submit their applications and hope to obtain one of the 15 coveted slots. If accepted into the program, the students form a contract with La Vida Scholars and agree to the following:

  • College Preparatory Program - Weekly sessions at the La Vida site which provide reinforcement for MCAS exams, SAT and ACT exams, and provide knowledge and resources to help students get on the road to higher education.
  • Monthly Saving Deposit - The student's families open educational savings accounts with a community bank designated by LVS. The current savings goal for each student is $900. This quantity is matched upon completion for a grant total of $1,800 in savings. This account is often the first savings account opened by the students and their families.
  • Savings Circle - Parent meetings offered ten times per year in which the parent must attend at least four times. Topics discussed are all relevant to the college application process and financial literacy. Guest speakers often include partner banks and universities.

    La Vida Scholars has a strong belief in the academic potential that each student holds, but a little assistance never hurt anybody. The goal is to prepare the students as much as possible for the best and most suitable college. The services offered at La Vida consist of MCAS preparation, College 101 Workshops, SAT Preparation, career exploration, campus visits, application completion, scholarships, The Common Application, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS/Financial Aid Profile. We also offer community service and mentoring opportunities and meet with our student's parents on a monthly basis.

    For LVS to succeed, we have the following goals in mind for all Scholars:

    • Maintained a 3.3 GPA minimum GPA throughout high school
    • Scored Advanced on MCAS & qualified for the Adams Scholarship
    • Participated in community service activities all three years
    • Completed the Common App, FAFSA, CSS Profile, & various scholarship apps
    • Attended campus outings - 18 visits during the three-year program
    • Achieved a minimum 1500 on the SAT Reasoning Test
    • Taken SAT Subject Tests or ACT (with Writing option)
    • Completed personal savings of $900 matched to $1,800
    • Accepted into college from a list of 6-8 selected institutions

    Success Stories

    Adrian Rodriguez immigrated to Lynn, MA and entered the 8th grade knowing no English. By the 10th grade he was out of ELL classes and taking mainstream course work. His mom found work as a day care laborer but the family made only $15,000 a year. Adrian worked weekends at Sears but wanted a better life for himself and his family. He joined La Vida Scholars halfway through his 10th grade year. We introduced him to great colleges throughout the area and helped him win scholarships. This year he graduates from Bowdoin College, one of the nationâ??s finest schools with no college debt. He has secured a position with one of the worldâ??s foremost companies â?? Google â?? at their world headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Adrian proves that the Latino youth of Lynn can make something of themselves if given a chance. Adrianâ??s classmate at Lynn English, Alexis Tercero, was the son of Guatemalan parents who worked hard so their son could have a better life. Alexis took his role in the family seriously and did his best in school. With help from La Vida Scholars he received several scholarships and has just recently graduated from Boston College with little college debt. He has been awarded the internationally famous Fulbright Scholarship and will be conducting research in Guatemala next year. He will also be working as an intern at the White House for four months, beginning in September. Here is yet youth bringing prestige and honor to the Latino community and the city of Lynn.

    Services Provided

    • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
    • Career exploration and counseling/internships
    • College admissions guidance and counseling
    • College fairs/campus visits
    • College transition and retention support
    • Community service/service hours
    • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
    • Leadership development
    • Mentoring
    • Parent/family services
    • SAT/ACT and other test preparation

Demographics

Race & Ethnicity

  • Hispanic/Latino: 95%
  • Other: 5%

Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 45
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 0
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically High-performing
  • ESL Students
  • Undocumented Students (7)

First-Generation

  • More than 75%

Representative
Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Bentley University (2)
  • Boston College (2)
  • Boston University (1)
  • Bowdoin College (1)
  • Bryn Mawr College (1)
  • Centre College (1)
  • Denison University (2)
  • Hamilton College (2)
  • Marian Court College (1)
  • MCPHS University (1)
  • Newbury College (1)
  • Northeastern University (1)
  • Quinnipiac University (1)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (1)
  • Salem State University (18)
  • Union College - New York (3)
  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst (3)
  • University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (2)
  • University of Notre Dame (1)
  • Wesleyan University (1)
  • Williams College (1)

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 90%
  • 4-yr College Graduation: 80%