SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — In the middle of San Francisco’s Bayview Hunter’s Point, in the basement of a donated Victorian, local college students tutor 8th through 12th graders after school. Many of these high schoolers will become first generation college students themselves.
The young people and their parents credit Diane Gray, founder of 100 Percent College Prep. Since its inception, the non-profit has reached about 400 students yearly in San Francisco’s low income communities.
Besides free tutoring at its two sites, 100 Percent College Prep has also provided college preparatory, leadership, summer, and parent programs. The non-profit also provides academic advising and history classes at five Bay Area middle schools.
Along with a family member, Gray founded 100 Percent College Prep in 1999 after she discovered the girls being mentored in other local programs did not put much value on education.
“We should never give up on our students, no matter what, explained Gray. “We want them to be aware of college and career.”
The students attend the program daily. The Victorian house that the program operates out of was donated by the Bayview Community center. It has a kitchen, so students eat dinner there every night. Gray says it has put their concentration back on school work. The kids do not have to worry about getting enough to eat at night.
Gray’s organization has also raised money to take teens on tours to historically black colleges across the country. More than 120 of Gray’s students have earned college degrees, with 100 percent having enrolled in college. All have left 100 College Prep with marketable job skills.
Alumnus Javon Phillips has studied philosophy and sociology at Morehouse, the all-male historically black college in Atlanta. Phillips said he could not have done it without Gray’s support.
“She’s helped myself, ” explained Gray.” As well as many other alumni kids not only get to college but get through college.”
Other 100 Percent College Prep Alumni have pursued careers in law, education, healthcare and social work.
As a gesture of her appreciation for her students good work, every year of the program, Gray has given a necklace to those who have earned a 3.0 or higher. It has a charm that says ‘100 Percent’.